Featured Image: An intricate floral outline designed to cover up a past tattoo. Done by artist Lucy Lou at Studio Evolve Tattoo. Donna Moscatelli | Courtesy
A tattoo a day keeps the doctor away. If you are a tattoo fiend or would like to begin your tattoo journey, there are plenty of shops in the area foryou, many of which Virginia Wesleyan students have visited and can attest to.
About 20 minutes away from Virginia Wesleyan is Supreme Styles Tattooing. It is a smaller shop, so it is easy to miss; however, it is filled with very talented artists, one in particular being Antonio Almazan, the owner of the shop.
Almazan has been tattooing for over 10 years. He specializes in black and gray tattoos, and he enjoys doing black and gray portraits.
Almazan is also very experienced with working on darker skin tones, a skill that not many artists share. His work is versatile as he has completed many different styles ranging from graphic to portraits and even cyber sigilism–the intersection of technology and mysticism.
“A lot of tattoo artists are close-minded. I pride myself on being open to whatever is brought to me,” Almazan said. His prices are on the lower end of the tattoo pricing spectrum. His normal pricing is $150 an hour, but he often runs specials as well. He is currently offering a Christmas tattoo special of $250 for 4 hours.
Fine line tattoos are currently growing in popularity, and if you would like to indulge in this delicate style, then junior Jenna Waters knows a shop that would be perfect for you. She recommends Ancient Art Tattoo, which is about a 20-minute drive from Virginia Wesleyan.
“The shop is so eclectic, like you walk in and the walls are just covered with everything from tattoo sheets to funny pictures and taxidermied animals. Even the bathroom is completely clown themed. It’s amazing,” Waters said.
She received her first tattoo at this shop, and has been to other shops since then to bring her tattoo tally to a whopping 28.
“None could really compete with the artistry, price and overall ambiance of Ancient Art. Now it is my go-to shop, the only one I really go to in Virginia Beach, and the first place I think of when people ask me where they should get their upcoming tattoos done,” Waters said.
Her favored tattoo style is a small fine line, with a lot of details. “I’ve had a lot of trouble with going to artists and them saying it will fade in a strange way or blend together at smaller sizes, but this shop has always found a way to accommodate my preferences without sacrificing the integrity of the tattoo,” Waters said.
Ancient Art Tattoo shop is also a more affordable option in comparison to other tattoo shops.
Artwork tattooed by Jason Adkins, the owner of Electric Umbrella Tattoo, a local shop with great ratings. @electricumbrellatattoo | Instagram
“I’d say they’re definitely on the cheaper side, especially if you get more than one at once, which I would recommend at any place you go to,” Waters said.
“I got three small ones, two maybe quarter sized and one like two and a half inches big, and it was $180 and detailed. Another time, I think I got two medium-sized finger length ones for around the same price.”
If you are into new school or illustrative tattoo styles, Connor Greenleaf, a brother of sophomore Anna Greenleaf, recommends Studio Evolve Tattoo off of Independence Blvd.
“My experience was very good, it is a very welcoming environment, and each artist has either a whole room to themselves or one other artist in the room, so it is not like a normal walk in tattoo shop, it is a studio,” Greenleaf said.
From this studio, he has gotten a griffin in black and gray scale as well as Arcanine from Pokémon and Farosh and the Light Dragon from The Legend of Zelda in the aforementioned styles.
One of the artists he chose is no longer at the studio; however, two of his tattoos, a black and gray piece and a color piece, were done by Thora Metzger, who still tattoos at the studio.
Tattoo flash is the concept of kitschy ready-made designs and is done by some artists, so if you’re into small pieces, let them know. Otherwise, the artists at this shop specialize in custom work. Give them an idea and they will design a tattoo for you that you will love.
“The artists that I have gone to at this shop were Thora Metzger and Mark Wroblewski, and both of them were very open to me asking to make changes to the design,” Greenleaf said. “With this shop, you will not get the initial design until the day of your initial appointment. If you redesign the tattoo, they may schedule you for a different date to start the piece.”
If Metzger is not available or does not fit your tattoo style, there are over 18 artists that specialize in most tattoo styles, Greenleaf said.
If these tattoo shops do not intrigue you, there are a ridiculous amount of highly rated studios in the area. The Collective Tattoo & Body Piercing, Electric Umbrella Tattoo, Artisan Body Piercing and Tattoo, Temple Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio, Red 5 Tattoo, Cleveland Street Tattoo and Sandbridge Tattoo have left their mark on VWU students, locals and Virginia Beach tourists.
By Sydnee Washington