Calling itself a “friendly neighborhood tattoo boutique,” Two Birds Tattoo, opened by Ruby Santiago and Suzy Todd in 2010, sits on a busy street in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. The shop’s four women staff artists work in a sedately lit, no-nonsense space, promising custom-designed work for each customer. If anything, the hardwood-draped setting of Two Birds feels more like a spa than a typical tattoo parlor, and the luxurious seating and clean workspace further add to the elegant, professional vibe. They’re gracious about sharing tips on what to expect from a procedure to how to care for a tattoo as it heals, and are always willing to show off their past artistic successes.
Collaboration means more than mere marketing for Artful Dodger Tattoo and Comics. Thanks to its partnerships with Evolve Piercing and Sideshow Salon, Artful Dodger brings a sense of inky art to the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill. The shop offers a diverse mix of comic books, collectibles and visual artwork for sale, all of which is representative of the shop’s interior, which features racks of comics attached to the walls and six tattoo chairs for their five artists to do their work. It may seem a far cry from tribal bands and pin-up girls that line most tattoo spots, but Artful Dodger focuses on the artistic, creative elements of body inking that will last a lifetime.
Liberty Tattoo recently moved from their University District digs to a new, stylish Lower Queen Anne site, complete with colorful accents, leather chairs and dark wood flooring. But the popular Seattle tattoo shop still offers the same quality of stylistic body art from three regular artists that each provide distinctive artistic touches. You can swing through for cartoonish depictions of an evil magician, colorful and majestic butterflies or the usual array of barbed-wire arm bands and old English lettering. The clean and lively storefront is open from noon to 10 p.m. daily, catering to both tattoo junkies and body art first-timers.
After 10 years in the industry, husband-and-wife team Mark and Maren opened Hip-Hop Robot Tattoo as a clean and creative destination for getting inked. Peruse the artfully decorated interior while waiting to have a bicep turned into a canvas or a forehead into a marriage proposal. Each professionally trained artist collaborates with skin wearers to ensure they walk away with the perfect body design, artfully inked in black and gray ($100/hour) or vivid color ($120). The store’s vibrant ambiance helps clients overcome tattoo block with a range of original ink drawings and vinyl art, in addition to a leather couch for relaxing while dreaming up a new design.
Behind a storefront nestled amid Belltown's bleeding-edge galleries and Art Deco artifacts, a quiet revolution is brewing. The shop is Dzul Ink Lounge, and inside, tattoo artists and brothers Jacob and Alex Dzul are out to turn decades of preconceptions on their collective ear. Gone are the cheesy designs and abrasive alt-rock assaults that typify most tattoo parlors. Instead, visitors step into a lounge that has more in common with a contemporary art space, a quality that's also shared by the shop's vivid, customized tattoos. Whether they're getting their first tattoos or adding ink to an already impressive bodily canvas, clients can flip through an iPad filled with thousands of the shop's exclusive designs, or collaborate with one of the resident artists on designs that are as personal as they are precise.
Tattoo artists April Cornell and her husband Jeff brought their distinct style of body art to Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood in 2007, opening Hidden Hand Tattoo. The shop’s five regular artists – not to mention the occasional guest artist – work with clients from all over King County to create body art in a comfortable, inviting atmosphere that feels more like a modern furniture store than a tattoo shop. Particularly nice for first-time clients, the shop keepers are cool about sharing examples of the artists’ past work and are willing to answer frequently asked questions from how to care for your tattoo to the oft-uttered “Does it hurt?” The shop is open daily from noon to 8 p.m., and gladly accepts walk-ins when possible.