James August Warsing Jr., also known as TJ from “TJ’s Dermagraphics” here in downtown Harrisonburg, is excited to announce a change in his field of work. After over 50 years of working in the tattoo industry, he is teaming up alongside his wife Bernadette Moreno-Krause and friend Carson William Rinker to start their own specialized business in the memorial industry.
Desire to Flaunt His Artistic Gift
Now this line of work is nothing new to James August Warsing Jr. as he has been etching hand-made designs into granite, glass, marble and wood for many years now. His clientele has ranged from the past mayor of Harrisonburg- Rodney Eagle, to the World Trade Center, to the Pope! Matter of fact, he was even given the opportunity to visit Rome and hand deliver his portrait to the Pope himself. James August Warsing Jr. came out of retirement during the tragic covid-19 pandemic to offer support to families who had lost loved ones; he offered his skills of engraving to create meaningful and unique tombstones for those who had passed and he wants to continue to be able to use his artistic gift to help others. During our interview he noted that “The gift is what God has given me and I want to flaunt my talent”. James August Warsing Jr. prides himself on his ability to do any kind of design that the client desires–his partner Carson William Rinker describes him as being “one in a million” for his extensive artistic abilities.
“[Memorials are] permanent just like a tattoo!”
Pictured above is custom, handmade etchings by James August Warsing Jr.
Pictured is a replica of the artwork James August Warsing Jr. gifted to the Pope
What Makes James August Warsing Jr. Special?
According to Carson William Rinker, who for a time was one of the largest memorial dealers in the world, it is a long and drawn-out process to make an order for a custom headstone. James August Warsing Jr. will be one of the few specialized engravement services available on the East Coast that will work on site. James August Warsing Jr. even goes as far as to invite the families of the departed to watch and collaborate alongside him as he creates the memorial. “We want to open the door now to let people know that we can make whatever their dreams are”. In the meantime, James August Warsing Jr. is still a licensed teacher and will continue to teach the craft of tattooing to further generations.
Meet The Team!
James August Warsing Jr’s. (left) extensive work with freehand tattoos is merely one of many ways that he has served our downtown community. James August Warsing Jr. ‘s shop, “TJ Dermagraphics” is in fact a nonprofit organization that works to help service dogs, veterans and the homeless. Being that he himself is diabetic and relies on his service dog, James August Warsing Jr. is passionate about helping other service dogs in need.
In addition to their work with animals, Bernadette Moreno-Krause (middle) works in conjunction with “Love Thy Neighbor” to serve the homeless community in our area. Bernadette Moreno-Krause is enthusiastic about her work and improving the lives of others; she explained that when an individual is added to her list they “become family”. Bernadette Moreno-Krause brings food to the homeless, helps them with their finances, and keeps in touch even as those on her list move out of the state. Alongside husband James August Warsing Jr., their non-profit organization provides a profound amount of support for those in our community.
Carson William Rinker (right) was born and raised in Harrisonburg and worked for the fire department for 18 years. He had been promoted to captain of the rescue squad which unbeknownst to him at the time, is where he’d met his future wife. It was through that relationship that he would be introduced to the monument business; the two eventually became business partners and became one of the top Rock of Ages dealers in the world! You may recognize the business they started, “Heritage Memorials Inc.” which is located here in Harrisonburg. One of Carson William Rinker’s most notable pieces is currently on the floor of the US Department of Secret Service in Washington, DC.
Above is a video montage of James August Warsing Jr.’s etching work.