When Jade Dragon is a household name for many Chicagoans, it's almost too tough for other tattoo shops to compete. West Walker's Twisted Tattoo and Piercing (voted No. 2 in an online poll conducted by Fox News) "drops the gimmicks, taking the customers and their tattoos to another level," says owner Piercing Pete.
When you walk into other shops, you often see walls of flash work. Here you'll find such templates in mostly unused books atop a table in the lounge area; the artists here offer free consultations, helping customers customize their ideas onto paper until they're right. Appropriately colored blood-red walls house artwork instead.
Walk-ins range from a balding man in for a tattooed hairline to a 17-year-old, would-be homecoming queen, in with mom for a tragus piercing. Repeat customers usually return after attending one of the many tattoo parties hosted. For a deposit of $200-$300, you can organize a function with a minimum of ten people and earn your next tattoo at the median price of the tattoos done. The practice also helps calm the nerves of older family members and belonephobics (those who fear needles); and if not, the beta fanning its royal-purple fins in a bowl beside checkout helps make this house of pain a bit more comfy.
Ditch the other shops advertising piercings at one price without disclosing the costs of jewelry and cleaning supplies. Here, you'll pay a flat fee of $50 (including micro-dermal anchor piercings), with additional piercings half-off. Tattoos start at $35 and a good sleeve can cost up to $2000. For tattoo news and trends, catch Piercing Pete's monthly column in Intense! Ink Magazine.
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez