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Best Of 2014: Tattoo Parlor

Best Of 2014: Piercing Parlor

Tattoo and piercing parlors are nearly as ubiquitous as decorated skin. But finding the right one is a task that should not be taken lightly: You need a shop dedicated to health and safety, and one that boasts artists with varying styles so you can find the right fit. Take a gander at the gallery on the Pens & Needles website, and you'll see beautiful works of art, from Ninja Turtles to family crests. They also offer services beyond the traditional tattoo and piercing — think scarification or sacred services (where the ashes of your loved one are added to the ink). — LE

Best Of 2014: Tattoo Artist: Jeff Oelklaus

As of late September, Jeff Oelklaus was already booked through January, even though he works 12-hour days, six days a week. The artistic ability displayed in his body art is exceptional, including a delicate shading technique that resembles airbrush work. And then there's the originality. "Usually people come in with a concept, then I do a lot of drawing and work on the concept with them," says Oelklaus. Then he draws the final design freehand, right on the skin, before he starts tattooing. Besides all that, what else sets him apart from other tattoo artists? "I'm nice," he says, smiling. "I don't like the 'street shop' mentality that you might find elsewhere." — Kendall Kulman

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