When it’s a client's turn in the chair at Nostalgia Tattoo Co., they have a good amount of time under the needle during which to consider their surroundings. It should be some comfort, then, that the walls surrounding that chair are covered in a grid of awards earned by the shop and its staff. Spaces that might have otherwise been left bare flaunt original artwork and designs by the resident artists, some depicting grim, detailed skulls and others drawings of elephant gods. But the team's craft truly comes to life on the human canvas, as each artist's portfolio brims with classic designs, modern color-saturated pieces, and tattoos of the word "tattoo."
"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.
At its locations in Loveland and Denver, Tattoo Must Go's expert technicians erase unwelcome ink with a Q-switched laser, which sends nanosecond pulses of intense light to the treatment area. Patients go through a complimentary consultation before treatment begins, determining the number of sessions necessary depending on ink colors, skin tones, and how many Alfs are in the tattoo. During half-hour treatments, the laser breaks down particles of any color while minimally affecting the skin. A Zimmer Cryo 6 Chiller provides additional comfort during the process, keeping the treated area cool. Patients can return for their next treatment in as few as three weeks.
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.
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.
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.