Back in 1991, Kevin McKinley was in the middle of his last day as a banker, his future career path uncertain. Just before punching out, he found himself in conversation with a customer sporting an array of piercings. The man told Kevin about each of his piercings, where he got them, and what they meant to him. An admirer of free-spirited creativity, Kevin was immediately intrigued by the piercing philosophy.
"It's all about feel," he explains. "With change, there's pain. With pain, there's clarity."
More than three decades after piercing his first client, Kevin helms a team of 30 tattoo artists, piercers, and laser technicians at Body Piercing Unlimited. He calls the team a collective “jack of all trades,” with the ability to craft or alter virtually any tattoo or remove unwanted ink altogether. His studios combine modern inks, needles, and lasers with a vintage atmosphere that displays antique bicycles and wall panels bearing artistic works. The black-and-white checkered floors reflect Kevin's reverence for tradition, harking back, he says, to the East Coast tattoo parlors of the 1970s and their legendary face-offs between Garry Kasparov and a computer.
?Clich?? and ?mundane? are not words one would use to describe The Look?s cache of chic clothing, lingerie, and adult products. The 7,000-square-foot boutique houses rack upon rack of fashionable streetwear alongside sensual bras, panties, and costumes. It also stocks hard-to-find adult accessories such as massage oils, lotions, and incense designed to enhance romance. Garments? tags reveal upscale brands such as Obey, Lucky-13, Dreamgirl, and Seven 'til Midnight.
The low hum of blow dryers fills the air as the six stylists at ForeverAK Studio cut, color, and coif hair with Paul Mitchell and KMS California products. The modern design of the salon, with glossy hardwood floors, exposed-brick accents warming the clean white walls, and neon-green baseboards, complements the modern cuts and latest color treatments. The salon also offers spa services such as anti-aging facials and hot-stone massages, and has iPads available for clients to use while they wait.
From simple monochromatic Celtic knots to complex and colorful portraits of people and even peacocks, the artists at Serenity Tattoo Company handle all requests with equal aplomb. They tackle each project armed with clean needles and traditional art skills.