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.
Since the mid-’70s, Tattoo Factory’s crew of tattoo and piercing artists have been a fixture in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Examples of artists’ work and suggested tattoos line the roomy studio’s exposed brick walls as neon signs and glossy wood floors add color and retro flair. Clients lounge in black salon-style chairs as the skilled artists carefully create vibrant, long-lasting pieces of body art, such as the name of a loved one or a list of must-buy grocery items. Customers can also download the business’s recently launched iTunes app to get more information about tattoo and piercing artists, as well as glimpses at their portfolios.
Tattoos start at $60 (prices vary by size and complexity). A number of smaller designs (one to three square inches) fall in the $80 range. And, of course, you can apply your $80 credit toward a more involved endeavor, like a full arm sleeve of your ex-lovers’ skeletons suffering in Hell. Or a big daisy. Piercings start at $55, and the rest of your Groupon $80 value can be used toward jewelry or jelly to fill the piercing.
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.
During more than 20 years as a nail artist, Maureen Donlan has encountered dozens of women. She noticed how busy many of her clients were and how difficult it was for them to fit in a simple manicure during a hectic day. When she discovered permanent makeup, she knew it was the answer to many of these women's troubles—something that could let them get through an entire day without once checking their lipstick in the mirror. Maureen became certified in permanent makeup in 2004 and never looked back.
At Amazing Faces, Maureen offers today's women an alternative to traditional cosmetics. With safe and meticulous techniques, she adds permanent flair to lips, eyes, and eyebrows and performs corrective work and scar camouflaging to conceal evidence of past accidents or surgeries. She also boosts blinks with eyelash tinting and extensions to provide defense from lecherous butterflies. In addition, Maureen calls upon her past to shape and groom nails before coating them in standard or gel polishes.