Best of 2012: Place to Get Tattooed
Best of 2012: Piercing Parlor
Even though Pens & Needles owner Kristina Wright says she's "running out of space" on her body for more tattoos, she still has some personal limits when it comes to body art. One of her master artists had a young lady, "four-eleven, probably 80 pounds, [who] sat for nine, nine and a half hours straight, except for an occasional break for eating.
"She impressed me," Wright says. "I mean, I'm not sitting there for nine hours!"
Wright, who's retired military, has limits for her employees, too.
"It's a requirement — they have to know how to draw," she says. "They have to know how to be a custom artist, which means when the customer comes up to you, whip up some designs. Just start sketching some things. I think that builds way more trust than, 'Hey, I'm gonna get Number 31 from the wall.'"
And people seem to be receptive. Her tattoo artists produce more than 200 tats a month; her piercers, about 75 holes a month. And Wright, who opened the original Pens & Needles on Weber Street in 2008, just opened a second store on Drennan Road six months ago. Each shop is designed to offer a bit of privacy; employees have their own defined spaces, allowing customers to be able to sit longer, watch their own TVs, and relax more, "in their own little zone."
Perfect, perhaps, for the introverted among us, or those who want something more unusual. Wright hesitates when asked about the most outrageous tats her artists have done. "I don't know if I can say this over the phone," she says, laughing. "We've had a couple 'good spots.'"
How do the artists feel about those "spots"? "Some of the old-school guys," she says, "they don't care as long as you're paying for it."
But it does depend on the artist.
"We have one female artist," Wright explains. "She's really kinda flexible also, it just depends on exactly where you're gonna put it.
"She doesn't do too many of the wangs." — Kirsten Akens