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 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.
A third-generation stylist certified in permanent makeup, eyelash extensions, and MAC cosmetics, Michelle Lea helps her clients to reach their glamour goals with a specialized menu of salon treatments. Three levels of eyelash extensions forge thick, lush lash lines through an individual application process that uses a medical-grade adhesive, ensuring blinkers achieve sultry glances throughout showers, workouts, and butterfly kisses with a sandpaper model.
Michelle can enhance features for even longer by tattooing eyeliner, lip color, or brow contours onto the face to shorten morning makeup routines. For special occasions, Michelle loads up her makeup palette with a selection of MAC cosmetics, customizing them to her subject's skin shade and personal style to create a flawless, glowing complexion that brims with youthful vigor like a bounce house at closing time.
In a charming, Victorian–style building, staffers blast away unwanted tattoos, encroaching toe fungus, and skin blemishes such as age spots and stretch marks using state of the art Nd:Yag Q-switched lasers. During free consultations, certified laser technicians assess the proper course of treatment, discuss any medical concerns, and answer the question of whether lasers can remove wine stains from clothing. In addition to wielding lasers, technicians also harness ultrasound technology to fend off cellulite, and they knead the abdomen using chi nei tsang, a specialized massage meant to stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems.
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.