Long before he opened Westcoast Piercing and Ink, professional piercer Kelly began to reconsider his own body’s potential as a template for artistic self-expression. As a pre-teen during punk rock’s heyday in the early 80s, he became fascinated with big chains, spiked bracelets, and large rings—pretty much anything that would showcase his style and increase his radio signal. The scene’s do-it-yourself ethic often led his friends to experiment with unsanitary piercing methods, but Kelly thankfully knew better and decided to take the true D.I.Y. route: he became a certified piercer himself and opened Westcoast Piercing Guy.
Today, years after his initial stroke of inspiration, Kelly operates out of a health-board approved studio that has been given the seal of approval from the local medical community and clients alike. He continues to outfit ears and other body parts with piercings; only now he works alongside a band of piercers and tattoo artists who decorate skin with everything from colorful custom sleeves to blank crossword puzzles that help clients pass the time during morning commutes.
Michael T. Gardner has been a prolific artist now for more than 15 years. His work can't be found in a gallery, though. Rather, it can be seen on arms, hips, backs, legs, and necks all over the city. That's because he renders his art in the form of tattoos, covering skin in countless designs. To save everybody the hassle of scouring bars, rock concerts, or biker knitting circles, Gardner conveniently keeps a record of his work on a Facebook page. Here, customers can spur on their imagination by perusing his latest pieces, such as an orange phoenix hip tattoo or a geometric tribal design that wraps around biceps. Of course, he or Scott Hale, an apprentice, happily work off of brought-in designs, as well as consult closely with clients to create something new. Once they have finished working, they share several tips for post tattooing care, such as avoiding swimming pools filled with permanent ink.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
After 10 years in the industry, husband-and-wife team Mark and Maren opened Hip-Hop Robot Tattoo as a clean and creative destination for getting inked. Peruse the artfully decorated interior while waiting to have a bicep turned into a canvas or a forehead into a marriage proposal. Each professionally trained artist collaborates with skin wearers to ensure they walk away with the perfect body design, artfully inked in black and gray ($100/hour) or vivid color ($120). The store’s vibrant ambiance helps clients overcome tattoo block with a range of original ink drawings and vinyl art, in addition to a leather couch for relaxing while dreaming up a new design.
Today's Groupon makes your regular skin a many-chromed and showy skin of unparalleled pomp after you get $80 worth of tattoo services for $40 at Cicada Tattoo. Cicada Tattoo is a hygienic and comfortable inkwell with experienced artists who can tat incredibly precise drawings, vibrant plants and animals, inventive cartoon figures, abstract patterns, and deadly skeletal gnomes with unparalleled skill and dexterity. Click here to view the work of Cicada's five artists see their availability. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Rooster Down Tattoo Gallery's artists see possibilities wherever they look. Blank skin becomes a canvas for intricate tattoos—vibrant portraits that wrap around arms, backs, and antlers. So when it came time for Rooster's team of artists to purchase a business, they took a similar approach and looked for another blank canvas. After much searching, the artists found their perfect location—a vintage home more than 100 years old.
With two stories, the classic house makes visitors feel more like guests than customers. Upon entering, the staff invites patrons to lounge atop a waiting room's leather couches and watch a flat-screen TV, which hangs directly above a fireplace. The team then leads patrons into one of several private tattoo rooms. Here, Rooster's resident and visiting artists—artists like Graydon Payne and Melissa Senesac—get to work away from any distractions, such as a right-bicep dragon tattoo coming to life and playing the left-bicep trombone tattoo. The artists' steady hands can emblazon bodies with vibrant custom artwork or, alternatively, use EliminInk tattoo-removal technology to restore skin to a blank slate.