I know, I know! Look at me posting again!  I’ll pop some photos of new work and works in progress at the end of this post, but I wanted to let you all know that, in our never-ending quest to make the shop more homey and comfortable, we realized that there was something missing.

Now I don’t know how many of you have been to a lot of different tattoo shops, but studios can vary greatly in their decoration and accoutrements.  I’ve been to shops with a pool table in the waiting area, video games in the lounge (Galaga, anyone?!), plasma TV’s, aquariums, full-on espresso machines, pull-out sleeper sofas…  It’s a panoply as diverse and vast as the artists and clientele.  I also remember at the beginning of NYC’s legalization of tattooing, tattoo shops would be crammed in the back of pipe/head shops, t-shirt shops, leather shops, whatever.  It was crazy.  You could walk into a store, get your t-shirt bedazzled with your baby mama name, and get a tattoo while you waited.  Where’s that entrepreneurial synergy now?

So of all the things that we could have chosen to enhance the shop, what did we choose?  What amazing thing did we select to separate our shop from the ten other shops in town?  Curtains.


I’m not sure why I wanted to get curtains.  Maybe it was all the home decorating shows that I’ve been watching (although if that were the case, I would have called them window treatments)?  Maybe it’s my middle age, rearing its graying and balding head?  Regardless,  I’m weirdly excited about them.

 And what else did I get last week?  A NEW DESK!  When we first opened the shop in 2003, we opened the shop on a shoestring budget, and consequently, we had to cut corners on some things.  One of the things that I skimped on was my desk.  I was willing to do the old collegiate “planks on cinder blocks” thing, but Sue thought it might look a little shabby.  A little less shabby was the 4’ kitchen counter top that I bought at Home Depot.  I wish I had pictures of it, it looked so bad.  With my superior carpentry skills (read: it’s a miracle when I don’t nail my hand to my thigh), I slapped together some 2 x 6’s for the legs and painted them black (because in my mind, if you couldn’t see them, they weren’t as offensive).


Well, we are movin’ on up, Weezy! Les, our good friend and wood worker extraordinaire, built me my own special desk- no it’s not a short desk.  We designed it so that my craftsman would “dock” into the desk like a mothership, but I could pull it out (that’s what she said) and work off the top of the craftsman.  And bless him, he even made an inset of the Rebel Alliance insignia on it.











This week, I’ve been drawing a kraken for a ¾ sleeve, though it won’t have any background, and I’m drawing  a foo lion with some peonies for a ½ sleeve that’s a cover-up of some old tribal.


So we recently had some clients ask us (again) why we don’t have a Facebook fan page, and it makes me think that if the people want it, we should set one up.  But, ugh, one more site to manage?  One more email account that I have to respond to?  Anyone out there have an opinion?  Feel like the site and the blog aren’t enough and that the FB fan page would be the icing on the cake? I don’t know many of you have “office” jobs, but replying to emails takes up at least a few hours a day (if not more), between my personal and business correspondences.  Well, emails and looking for videos on youtube…

 Here’s a picture of a chair tattoo that I did two years ago ( I think) on a client from Burlington, VT.  He actually brought the chair in and I had to draw it!


It’s a two-fer!

March 23, 2010

Yup- this is not a mirage!  Another post within a week!  I figured we’d make up for missing a week by giving you all a few posts with ramblings and pictures.  I just want to thank clients for their patience in waiting for appointments- it’s really humbling and just motivates me to work harder for y’all.  Plus, people keep coming in with great projects, so who wouldn’t appreciate that?  I think that I will be doing a short guest-spot tattooing in Connecticut at Lucky Soul Tattoo in April, so if anyone’s interested in getting some tat-blasting done, let me know.  We’re firming up the dates, so we’ll let you know when the time is solidified.

Over the weekend, I finished a thigh piece, the Tamatorihime piece that I sneak-peeked on the blog earlier.  We had to take photos in a bit of a hurry because Dara was feeling light-headed and had to catch a cab that was waiting for her.  Not the optimal scenario for us to do the shoot, but since she lives in Boston and I don’t know when I’m going to see her again, I figured it’d be better to get some photos rather than no photos.

There’s a little yellow smudge of ink that I missed on the left side of the tattoo, but like I said, we were in a hurry.  No worries- I usually take my time when I wipe.  Ooh, that sounds gross.

Also last week, I chipped away at Carter’s dragon on the inside of his arm:

And tough-guy prize of the month goes to Bill, a tattooer from NH who got this Emma (aka Enma, aka the Lord of Hell, aka Sparks McFiery) on his ribs.  Ouch. 

Hi, friends,

I know- it’s been a while.  And if you count posts with substantial news, it’s been two posts, since Sue’s post was really like a flashback to another episode (the Star Wars Cookies episode).  And if you really push on the meaning of substantial, then you’re probably still waiting on a blog that says anything significant.  We recently saw The Office episode this season where, instead of writing a new episode, all they did was air flashbacks to other episodes, and we both turned to each other to wonder whether the show had jumped the shark. Now I realize that you all out there may have turned to one another after reading our flashback blog entry and wondered if we had jumped the shark so early into our tender blogging broadcast.

So I’ll update you on some work that I’ve been doing- earlier this month, I finished what I had left to do on our friend Albie Rock’s leg; I colored in the rest of the blue lobster and re-tattooed his patella (knee-cap for you lay-folk).  I know, that’s a d-bag move to tattoo someone’s knee twice, but a) It was pretty spotty and needed a touch-up, and b) I’m secretly a d-bag.  Here are some photos to prove to you how mean I am.



We talked about finishing the inside of his thigh with some more stuff (top secret!), so that’s some more quality rock-show that I can look forward to later this year.  There was also some talk of a bigger, more epic project that I’ll not spoil for you.  But it sounds epic.

On to other thoughts:  So last week, I was tattooing a client, and I was about to color in some horns, and while my client was standing around, he asked what color they were going to be.

“So what color are the horns going to be?”


“Oh.”  (Look of distress).

Of course, in my mind, I was doing three shades of brown, cut with some white and yellow, textured with some black and grey underneath just to give it some dimension.  It’s a lot to say when I’m getting out inks and thinking about it, so my verbal response is a simplified, Cliff’s Notes version of what I’m saying.  Brown.  There’s no LCD projector hooked up to my brain, and frankly, thank God for that.  Who wants to see the loop of Star Wars, Rocky, and inappropriate highlights that is running through my head?


I realized that this is a new part of tattooing that is growing- the “upsell” (if you will) of color to the client.  You can blame interior decorators, home improvement shows, and any other number of subcultural currents, but the fact is, colors need additional qualifiers now.   You heard it from me, folks.  It’s not enough to say “red” anymore.  I need to say things like “crimson” red, or “ox-blood” red, or “Ted Bundy” red.  The Times wrote an article about a related trend in restaurants now and the need to list the pedigree of every ingredient as if the pedigree were now a matter more of marketing than of the palate.  Mushrooms?  No way- they’re free range, biodynamic Northern California chanterelles.

And of all the colors in the spectrum, Mr. Brown has it worst.  No one says they have brown hair.  It’s chestnut.  It’s auburn.  It’s sienna.  It’s mocha.  It’s espresso.  I think we are so brownphobic that we’ve resorted to calling it colors of food (chocolate?).  Really?  Food is now a color?  In addition to orange?


It’s a moot point for me to say how I feel about it because it’s the reality.  Sue, thankfully, points out my inability to “upsell” from time to time.  Client X says that s/he is interested in a sleeve with a dragon. I’m psyched, of course, but for those of you who know me, I keep my cards close and am a bit of a stoic, so I usually just say “Yeah, cool.”  Then the client asks, “What will the dragon look like?”  What?  What will the dragon look like?! Sometimes I can pull out some fancy adjectives to “sell” it, but sometimes, I’m a little flabbergasted by the question, and I just say, “It’ll look like a dragon- you know, scales, fire, flying…”  I don’t even know what to say- it’s in my brain, but it would take too long to get it into words.  Dammit.  This when Sue will save my ass by stepping in and telling the client that it will look awesome, blah, blah, blah. Where’s my neural LCD projector when I need it?


Last but not least, the commentary is finally up on the tattoos in my gallery.  Whew!  That is a lot of writing and cracking-wise, but I did it…  Maybe not so well, but I did it.  Let me know what you guys think.


And if there’s a particular thing that you want me to blog about (since I’ve already laid out what I probably won’t blog about), email us or leave us a comment.  This blog is your blog, this blog is my blog…

Sue, here. It’s a beautiful spring day here in Portland, and it’s making me nostalgic for warmer weather. I’m also thinking about cookies. I know what you’re thinking: “no connection,” right? Wrong. Believe it or not, at the intersection of “cookies” and “warm weather” is a memory kicking around in my brain. It all goes back to last summer… [cue: dream sequence]… and the day Phuc’s client brought us several plates of Star Wars cookies…


Naturally a day full of sugar-fueled Star Wars hilarity ensued… complete with  reenactments… 




… special guest appearances by local celebrities… 



DJ Matty T

DJ Matty T

The Fuge

The Fuge

Joel the Postman

Joel the Postman

… and oh! so much yummy goodness…
mmmm… cookies…