Scout Notes: Many tattoo shops out there function like fast food restaurants. You walk in, pick s...Many tattoo shops out there function like fast food restaurants. You walk in, pick something off a menu, and walk out thirty minutes later filled with regret. The only difference: a belly full of Big Macs eventually goes away. That barbed wire bicep? That’s forever, friend. City of Ink is no Value Menu tattoo shop. It’s clean without being clinical, maintaining a traditional vibe without all that grime. Every piece is 100% custom, only inked after a close collaboration between artist and client. Miya Bailey, City of Ink’s manager, insists this is the only way to do it: “This is a fine art shop, a gallery. If it’s on the wall, on your arm, whatever, it’s got to have soul.” Of course, you don’t respect the work and disrespect the talent. Each artist with CoI has a distinctive style and is encouraged to explore that, to build a reputation of their own and flourish accordingly. Just don’t get upset when they talk you out of that Tweety Bird tramp stamp you’ve been wanting.
City of Ink has been a Castleberry mainstay since 2006 when they opened their doors. In those five years, they’ve built a family of artists, each one more Positive Mental Attitude than the last. One artist told me he constantly spots passers-by peeking through the windows, and wishes they’d come in, even just to look. “I mean they wonder what’s going on here; you don’t have to pay money to look at the walls.” City of Ink is working on bringing these people through the door, hosting gallery openings and inkless walk-ins alike. They’re also looking to spread City of Ink’s influence outside of the shop, by starting a clothing brand in 2012. Miya says it’ll be a great way to promote each artist’s individual brand, and show off the diverse art among the City of Ink family. So for all the tattoo-phobic folks out there, fret not. Pretty soon even you could be rockin’ a CoI original.
Monday – Saturday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.