Ageless Arts Tattoo’s licensed tattoo artists are enamored with the concept of permanence. They know that their detailed, custom artwork will function as meaningful signifiers in their clients’ lives for years to come, and they don’t take their job lightly. For evidence that their work is top-notch, look no further than the studio’s gallery of carefully drawn designs. From breathtaking portraits in black ink to cartoonish renditions of video-game characters, these designs showcase a high level of artistry and, in some cases, a sense of humor. Not to be outdone, the studio’s piercers use only surgical-implant-grade materials for their body piercings. Their jewelry ranges from traditional hoops and studs to more radical selections, such as spikes and dangling vials of zombie blood.
Although tattoo artist Gonzalo Cervantes only founded Dream City Tattoos in 2011, his experience with ink goes back much further. As a young artist with burgeoning needle skills, he mentored under Richard “Tapeworm” Herrera, who instilled in his apprentice the techniques necessary to transform human canvases into works of art. In the 10 years since, Gonzalo has amassed a wealth of experience and now specializes in versatility, covering skin in black-and-white and full-color portraits, tribal designs, decorative lettering, and biomechanical creations. Patrons need only show him—or his equally adept brother Gabriel—their desired ink with a picture or describe it with semaphores.
In 1980, tattoos were still the sole province of the slightly edgy, and standards for tattoo parlors varied widely. Even so, when "Fat Joe" Scapini opened Jade Dragon Tattoo, he sought to set a new benchmark for cleanliness as well as quality, inventing a "toss-a-tube" system that begins each tattoo with fresh ink and a brand-new barrel and tube. Though Joe passed away in 2007, his wife and children continue to work with the shop's 12 artists and six body piercers to maintain the high standard of sterility, still using the same system the founder invented. Tattoo seekers work with the artists to develop custom designs, or they can choose to reference one of more than one million pieces of flash, or premade designs. The shop also performs traditional and dermal piercings on ears, noses, lips, or other creative places, such as the ear but a little off-center. While their bodies are being turned into works of art, clients can gaze at the riot of designs and other artifacts—animal masks, neon signs, golden dragons, and a jackalope among them—that cover the shop's electric-blue walls.
At Twisted Tattoo & Body Piercing, no two tattoos are the same. The vibrant artwork on the waiting-room walls doesn't just give visitors a glimpse at the owners' aesthetic preferences: it also showcases the studio's identity as a fully custom shop. All of the staff artists and piercing technicians deftly handle custom work ranging from tattoo body art to piercings and other modifications, such as permanent cosmetics.
The artists work with their clients' existing ideas and help flesh out unfinished ones to create full-color tattoos of pop-culture icons, intimate quotations, and old-fashioned stylistic imagery. Their detail-oriented style allows them to perform cover-up services, masking unwanted tattoos or erasing old lines so customers can play connect-the-freckles all over again.
Fingerprints might be nature’s proof that we’re all unique, but custom tattoos are a more artistic and personal way to remind us of that. Mario Ink generates original designs for its clients, turning skin into a canvas on which to scrawl imaginative images, exquisitely detailed lettering, or more freckles. Mario also decorates clients with less-permanent pigments, offering professional body painting for everything from advertising events to Halloween costumes.