Michael T. Gardner has been a prolific artist now for more than 15 years. His work can't be found in a gallery, though. Rather, it can be seen on arms, hips, backs, legs, and necks all over the city. That's because he renders his art in the form of tattoos, covering skin in countless designs. To save everybody the hassle of scouring bars, rock concerts, or biker knitting circles, Gardner conveniently keeps a record of his work on a Facebook page. Here, customers can spur on their imagination by perusing his latest pieces, such as an orange phoenix hip tattoo or a geometric tribal design that wraps around biceps. Of course, he or Scott Hale, an apprentice, happily work off of brought-in designs, as well as consult closely with clients to create something new. Once they have finished working, they share several tips for post tattooing care, such as avoiding swimming pools filled with permanent ink.
Skin and Soul Tattoo's gallery displays an explosion of artistic talent. First there are Brittney Nettles' gorgeous hibiscus flowers, with leaves that wind like vines up the rib cage. Chris Gilvarry also has his own distinct style that’s dominated by grinning skulls sharp-toothed fish. Finally, there's AJ Lynn's perfectly aligned calligraphy and sketches of orchids in spring bloom.
Whether the medium is permanent ink or semipermanent henna, each piece of art offers a balance of technical skill and creativity to ensure its long-lasting beauty. Metal art also rounds out the parlor's service menu, with piercings to adorn an eyebrow, nose, navel, or wooden peg leg––just to name a few.
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.
Today's Groupon makes your regular skin a many-chromed and showy skin of unparalleled pomp after you get $80 worth of tattoo services for $40 at Cicada Tattoo. Cicada Tattoo is a hygienic and comfortable inkwell with experienced artists who can tat incredibly precise drawings, vibrant plants and animals, inventive cartoon figures, abstract patterns, and deadly skeletal gnomes with unparalleled skill and dexterity. Click here to view the work of Cicada's five artists see their availability. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Rooster Down Tattoo Gallery's artists see possibilities wherever they look. Blank skin becomes a canvas for intricate tattoos—vibrant portraits that wrap around arms, backs, and antlers. So when it came time for Rooster's team of artists to purchase a business, they took a similar approach and looked for another blank canvas. After much searching, the artists found their perfect location—a vintage home more than 100 years old.
With two stories, the classic house makes visitors feel more like guests than customers. Upon entering, the staff invites patrons to lounge atop a waiting room's leather couches and watch a flat-screen TV, which hangs directly above a fireplace. The team then leads patrons into one of several private tattoo rooms. Here, Rooster's resident and visiting artists—artists like Graydon Payne and Melissa Senesac—get to work away from any distractions, such as a right-bicep dragon tattoo coming to life and playing the left-bicep trombone tattoo. The artists' steady hands can emblazon bodies with vibrant custom artwork or, alternatively, use EliminInk tattoo-removal technology to restore skin to a blank slate.
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.