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Local Artist Remembered After Sudden Death

He was a fixture of Clifton and Covington, seen for years taking his artistic talent to the arms and legs of folks in desire of some permanent ink. Jason May was a popular, well-known tattoo artist at Hot Rod Charlie's locations near the University of Cincinnati and on Madison Avenue in Covington. He was found dead in his bed this week inside the Florence home he shared with his brother Joe. "It was completely unexpected. We would never have thought," Joe May said of his brother. "I found him just because I was going to wake him up because my dad needed his help with something."

A memorial tribute to Jason was lit up on the marquee at Covington's Madison Theater.

"He was pretty much a permanent fixture of the bar scene there," Joe said. "He spent his formidable years in Northern Kentucky, mostly Erlanger and Florence. He was one of the original mall rats, one of the first punk rock kids that gave most of them their first mohawk, took them to their first rock shows."

The graduate of Lloyd Memorial High School was always a talented artist, his brother said, and Jason found a way to engage his abilities professionally through tattoos. "It was a natural progression, I would say, from the punk rock scene," Joe said. Jason was also well known for his connection to the local music scene. "He could go to any concert in the area and get right in. He didn't even need a ticket."

Jason May died of heart failure, peacefully in his sleep at the age of 32. The scene he leaves behind has celebrated his life and has helped raise funds to alleviate some of the financial burden his death has brought the family. Jason was the father of a four-year old boy named Riley and one of eleven kids between his father and mother. Three Kings, a bar on Pike Street in Covington, has hosted two fundraisers, Baba Budan's in Clifton and the band Zebras in Public will host one Saturday at 6:00PM, and then another will be held Sunday evening at 7:00PM at Bogart's near the tattoo shop where Jason worked for so many years. 

Jason May was laid to rest Friday morning following a service at Christ Chapel in Florence. The family has opened an account at 5/3 Bank which can be located on the bank's memorial page online. Search for the Jason May Memorial Fund.

PHOTO: Madison Theater Marquee/provided