At Southside Tattoo, located in Austin’s South Congress neighborhood, the focus is always on the art. Owner Bart Willis and his team of artists and apprentices have become well-known locally for their craft, which extends well beyond the late night bad-idea tattoo crowd. Inside the vibrant blue space, lit partially by a neon sign, art and possibilities adorn the walls in organized frames. With designs that have graced the covers of rock albums and tattoo magazines, Willis and the rest of the crew at Southside Tattoo showcase a love for the talent of tattooing, and often work with individuals to put together unique pieces that fit the customer’s personality. From full sleeves to delicate reminders hidden under clothing, Southside doesn’t shy away from the work, or the artistry.
Amid leafy foliage and tribal art adorning earth-toned walls, Austin Laser Clinic's experienced physician and laser technicians wield beams during aesthetic treatments. Led by medical director Dr. Joanne Davis—who got her start in laser application by volunteering for a nonprofit that removed gang-related tattoos—the experienced team tends to patients in private treatment rooms. There, lasers work to evict unwanted hair or spider veins. The clinic specializes in tattoo removal, erasing, reducing, or correcting unwanted designs or out-of-date treasure maps.
On Austin Dermagraphix’s bold burgundy walls, bright graffiti murals in primary yellows, blues, and greens leap out at the eye. These vivid works of art overlook Jose Gonzalez as he hunches over arms, legs, and backs, embedding them with any style of tattoo, such as 2-D cartoons or life-like portraits of Nikola Tesla. To do so, Gonzalez draws upon his background as a graffiti artist in Puerto Rico as well as his bachelor’s degree in painting. He joins another resident artist, a piercer, and a laser tattoo-removal technician at the shop, where the top of the wall around the reception desk wears a crown of gold trophies amassed by the staff.
At Amillion Tattoos, visitors can obtain striking permanent body art and body piercings from a talented and experienced staff of artists in the medium of flesh-frescoes. Instead of super-gluing laminated finger paintings to their backs, customers can acquire meaningful tats within a clean and sanitary environment free of compost heaps. Though the price of each tattoo varies according to design, detail, and syllable count, visitors can opt for a 2”, three-color butterfly ($70–$80), a black and gray palm-sized tattoo ($150–$200), or go for the gusto with an elaborate 9”x4” full-color elbow-to-shoulder tat ($400–$800). Additionally, there’s no need to fool around with a staple gun at home, since the Amillion crew can precisely puncture you with high-quality piercings, including a gem nostril piercing ($55), a 10-gauge lip piercing ($66), or a 14- to 16-gauge eyebrow ring ($50). A surgical steel post is included with each piercing, and can be bumped up to bling for an additional fee.
When you enter DCTatts, Inc., don't expect to see giant posters with templates for tattoos lining the walls. Owners Don and Cynthia Couch let their patrons saddle up to one of several computers outfitted with a gallery of designs and images. Three tattoo artists, boasting more than 30 years of combined experience, ink patrons with their desired image, and to thank the visitors who go in for major work—a purchase of $100 or more—the team offers a free small tattoo to a significant other, mother, or guardian angel. In addition to expert ink services, DCTatts also performs piercings, sells handmade jewelry, and sets up budding tattoo artists with appropriate equipment.