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.
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.
Under the direction of Dr. Sanjiv R. Kumar, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School, Sonterra Laser Med Spa's licensed aestheticians and laser technicians efface signs of aging with attention to detail that garners the spa regular attention on KENS 5's Great Day SA. Advanced skin-analysis machines scan faces before services to give technicians a closer look at bacteria, sun damage, and wrinkles not visible to the naked or clothed eye. The results determine what skincare services best suit each client, including glo minerals chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and dermal-filler injections. The Lumenis LightSheer Duet laser treatment utilizes a larger spot size to reach greater depths of penetration and destroys hair strands at the root.
AK Lounge tends to aesthetic needs with hair-salon styling, permanent cosmetics, and tattoo design, correction, and removal. Main stylist and blowout specialist, Ashley Johnson, has tamed tresses for the runway elite while working on an A-team of backstage beautifiers during fashion week. In her nine years of styling experience, Ashley has trotted across numerous cities, enriching her skills through classes involving cuttery, coloring, and straightening strategies, including Brazilian Blowouts. Continually training tattoo artist, Kenneth Plaster, lends cosmetic support to the shop through his ink and permanent make-up services.