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.
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.
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.
In his own words, surgeon Dr. Wafik Hanna believes firmly that "your face is your calling card." That's why he works with, and not against, his patients' own natural looks. Guided by his philosophy of naturalness, he takes patients' existing bone structure into account when helping them achieve desired complexions and contours. And while many patients opt for surgical services, those preferring non-surgical procedures can opt to rejuvenate their skin with a photofacial, injectables, or thermage, a treatment that tightens the skin. In the 25 years since he opened Hanna Facial Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Hanna has showcased his talents not only in his portfolio, but by sharing his wisdom on the pages of The New York Times.
From mending battle wounds to performing breast enhancement, Dr. Taek Kim has had a long and storied career. After graduating from medical school in Seoul, South Korea, the young Dr. Kim became a captain in the South Korean armed forces and flew the skies as a flight surgeon for Korean and American troops. He relocated to the United States, where he performed more than 8,000 surgeries and began specializing in cosmetic procedures. Today, as the founder and medical director of Renaissance Cosmetic Laser, Dr. Kim uses his years of experience to help both men and women enhance their appearance with services ranging from water-assisted liposuction to wrinkle-smoothing injections. Light technology also takes a polishing role in his service repertoire via laser spider-vein therapy, IPL photofacials, and procedures to install theater spotlights on a client's favorite features. When Dr. Kim isn't highlighting natural beauty, he channels his impressive resumé and renowned skills as a surgeon into mentoring young physicians as a faculty member of Hinsdale Hospital's residency program.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian has not only been in the lipo biz since 1981 but also has authored a textbook on the topic and developed several new surgical tools of the trade. Dr. T., who has dubbed himself "Lipodoc" and is backed up by Liposuction & Cosmetic Surgery Institute's team, specializes in all manner of fat removal and relocation, both by traditional means and with modern laser technology. He also wipes out wrinkles, veins, unwanted hair, and passé tattoos, and he is able to bring his treatments to many, since he speaks five languages, including Armenian, Arabic, and pigeon.
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.