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The Lightest Ink: A Tattoo Studio That Blends the Metaphysical With The Creative

Nov 21, 2021 01:30PM ● By DAVID ACEVEDO

There’s a very special place, on West First Street in downtown Fort Myers, where healing energy converges with creativity and spirituality. Crystals, potted succulents, dreamcatchers, artwork, and tattoo artistry books greet customers upon arrival at Light Hand Tattoo & Healing Arts. This is where the talented Ananda War has created amazing tattoos since opening her doors in August 2019.  

The tattoo studio and crystal shop was born of a desire to foster a place where the metaphysical and art communities could blend. For War, the ability to create and control her own schedule was not only important, but also pivotal.  

“When I decided to create my own tattoo studio, I realized that I wanted it to be a place that is as gentle as possible on the subtle senses with an impact as neutral to beneficial as possible,” says War, whose goal is to host classes and workshops with a team of professionals offering artistic, metaphysical, and holistic services such as reiki, interior design, graphic design, massage, divinations, and acupuncture. “These ideas come from my day-to-day experiences of the world—with all its aspects, conscious in their varying degrees of intensity, from the chair to the birds, to the crystals, clouds, and buildings,” adds the artist.   

War is quick to acknowledge others for the inspiration they give her, especially the mentoring and collaboration she has received from other tattoo artists in the area. “There are so many amazing tattooers in the world, and locally we are blessed with many whose work continues to inspire me to push myself and hone my craft. Among these, Erin La Vallee, Lopi, Andy Howl, Felicia Marshall, Colin Orion, Jay Gardner, Shannon Misitano, Matt Lawrence, and Savannah Leslie. Others I admire from afar are too many to list, but Dillon Forte, T.Radz, Cui, and Squire Strahan are around the top,” adds this ink master, who is deeply inspired by expressing spiritual concepts and experiences through symbolism. “Salvador Dali inspires me to let the weird out, and Carl Jung guides me to explore how my consciousness overlaps with the collective and compare the significance of symbols cross-culturally, whereas Jai Dev and Ram Dass inspire me to witness, acknowledge my mission, and be here now,” says War.  

The young entrepreneur struggled during the pandemic months, closing her shop for four months. “It was a very strange time for everyone, but especially for the tattoo industry,” says War, who feels that the industry was overlooked in Florida and left in the dark regarding reopening or even closure procedures. “As a first-time business owner, now I feel like I can survive anything after those months,” says War, who is grateful to her clients for patiently awaiting her reopening.  

Danielle Renee is one of these customers. “I have traveled here from Port Charlotte for over a year now, and it is worth every minute,” says Renee, who enjoys shopping for stones, books, and other specialty inventory at the shop, in addition to getting a sleeve-length flower- and mandala-inspired tattoo. “Everything from the positive energy to the vibe of the space is addictive,” she concludes.    

War’s plans include going on the road, traveling to conventions and doing guest spots at other tattoo studios. Although satisfied with what she is [creatively] capable of doing, she still sees much room for improvement and growth. As a visual artist, she describes her style as illustrative surrealism. She likes to convey concepts with symbols and loves the contrast and longevity of clean linework. Making mandalas and sacred geometric pattern work is a meditative process for her.  

War started tattooing in 2012 under the mentorship of Andy Howl, one of the best-known tattoo artists in Southwest Florida and owner of HOWL Tattoo & Piercing in Fort Myers. “He trained me as a street artist and to do my best with whatever style the client asks of me, so I am quite adaptable and enjoy making full color and black and gray tattoos,” explains War, who sees tattooing as a co-creative spiritual process.  

The tattoo artist balances life with deep breaths and self-affirmations. Being a busy mother of a 6 year-old with a business is not easy, but she counts on her husband’s help, as well as the understanding of the rest of the family. “Remembering the perfection in imperfection and the balance within imbalance is the foundation of my strength and ability to continue,” she admits.  


2150 W. First Street, Suite A1, Fort Myers

Light Hand’s crystal shop is open on Saturdays, 2-5 pm. For tattooing information and appointments, visit or email [email protected] or [email protected].  

David Acevedo is an award-winning visual artist and arts writer living in Southwest Florida. He is the founder and owner of DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts and the Union Artist Studios. He has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.