Uncle Bud and Aunt Brinda Yates founded Pikes Peak Tattoo in 1978. After years of honing her craft, Brinda took home the first-place trophy in the Best Use of Tribal category at the 2009 Colorado Tattoo Competition. Now, when she isn't inking, she actively participates in the National Tattoo Association—of which Uncle Bud once served as president—and sings doggy lullabies to her herd of six chihuahuas.
To help with the shop, Brinda hired current manager, Barrett Leary, a skilled artist who got her start as the apprentice for Dan McClure of Bullwinkle's Tattoo and Body Piercing. Her artistry is wide reaching, as she also earned a bachelor of fine arts in ceramic sculpture from Kansas City Art Institute and was featured in the documentary Craft In America for developing a distinctive ceramic technique. Barrett skillfully draws custom designs and comfortably transitions between different styles, though she retains a fondness for large-scale pieces with bright colors. She and her fellow certified artists also offer permanent makeup, tattoo removal, and piercing. They perform all their services with hospital-grade sterilization techniques and keep their single-use-only equipment in special sterilization pouches, discarding each tool immediately after use.
Alwin Amos, a tattoo artist at ShaZam Ink, creates body art with a hand-poked tattooing method also known as stick 'n’ poke. He uses the same needle and bar combinations as a machine in order to ink flesh with geometric shapes, silhouettes, and floral designs. The process takes longer than machine tattooing, but it requires less pokes and thus heals more quickly while retaining vibrant color. Many customers also report that the process is less painful than machine tattooing.
When decorating skin with studs, rings, and body art, the artists and piercers at Bad Penny Tattoos are looking out for their clients' safety. Each member of the team has completed a blood-borne pathogens course and they understand the risks of cross-contamination. They've also completed a first-aid course to assist squeamish clients who black out at the sight of blood or a pierced fingernail.
Michael spent his childhood scribbling drawings over every available surface of his mother's house. Sammy designed tattoos for his fellow Marines during the four years he was stationed in Hawaii and Japan. James listened transfixed as his grandfather, 90% covered in tattoos, regaled him with stories about each one.
These divergent paths led all three men to Living Art Tattoo, where they and their fellow artists ink clients with custom designs. In a nod to the military backgrounds of some of the staff, the Living Art team grants discounts to veterans and current military personnel. Along with tattoos, the studio specializes in piercings for various body parts, including earlobes, eyebrows, and tongues.
Every artist at Pens & Needles has a specialty. Master artist Rich can help cover up embarrassing or just plain boring prior tattoos, as well as burns and scars. Fellow supreme inker Austin is a tamer of even the wildest tribal designs. And Anthony "Wacks" is the house-designated portrait proficianado. Every artist will take the time to consult with you regarding what can be accomplished within the time and budget you've allotted. Hourly tattooing rates vary, depending on which of Pens' seven accomplished artists you choose. Master artists charge between $100 and $150 an hour, depending on the complexity of your skin canvas, while custom and apprentice artists charge from $75 to $100 per 1/24 of a day.
"I have always been an artist," says Heebee Jeebees' owner, Karen Knight. A native of Liverpool, England, her artistic travels have led her through careers in portrait painting, clothing design, makeup artistry, and other creative endeavors, before she thoroughly immersed herself in her love for body art. Alongside two other skilled tattoo artists, Knight creates custom artwork based on client specifications, and promises a lifetime of touch-ups to ensure the colors stay rich and the invisible ink stays invisible. Brightly hued walls lined with original artwork and photographs provide visual inspiration for patrons and passersby.