Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Lori Salyers, who is getting a black and white image of a cat sitting beside a tombstone just below her shoulder, said the tattoo was inspired by her favorite holiday, which is Halloween, Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Lori Salyers, who is getting a black and white image of a cat sitting beside a tombstone just below her shoulder, said the tattoo was inspired by her favorite holiday, which is Halloween, Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska.

Local tattoo studios grow in popularity

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:05pm
  • News

One growing industry is leaving its mark on the community.

Over the past few years, tattoo studios have become more common across the central Kenai Peninsula. The nearly half dozen shops in the area point to a growing acceptance of an art form that once held a social stigma.

Todd Gipson, tattoo artist at Family Tattoo on Kalifornsky Beach Road, said that the increase in tattoo popularity is due to them being more accepted in society. He said people from all walks of life get tattoos these days.

“You’ve got doctors, lawyers, nurses, firefighters, officers,” Gipson said. “Now, (tattoos) are so commonplace.”

In the past, people associated tattoos with gangs, but perceptions have changed, said Jordan Curren, tattoo artist at Skin City Tattoos on K-Beach.

“(People) realize that it is a piece of art,” he said.

Some studios in the area even try to attract certain demographics. While people of both sexes are welcome at Forget Me Not Tattoo Boutique in Soldotna, the studio promotes itself as female friendly.

“It’s not a typical tattoo shop,” said Larissa Price, one of the studio’s artists. “That’s why we call it a boutique.”

She said that another reason tattoos are becoming more popular is that they’re safer than they used to be and the ink stays sharper.

While the abundance of tattoo studios in the area may lead people to believe there is a lot of competition, the artists appear to share a common respect for each other.

“I’m happy for everybody,” Gipson said “They do what they do. I do what I do.”

Joe Hayes, owner of Ink Works Tattoo in Kenai, shared a similar sentiment.

“Tattooing isn’t really a competition thing anymore,” he said. “Everyone is trying to learn from each other.”

As tattoo studios continue to multiply, so do the amount of tattoo styles. Hayes said he’s amazed at how the art form is progressing.

“It’s limitless what you can do with a tattoo machine now,” he said.

Hayes said the artistry seen these days is a stark contrast to that of years past. He said that anymore, the skill is so high that it’s like one needs an art degree to get into the industry.

Curren said that tattoos used to look like simple flash art, but now the images can look more realistic.

“Photo realism is picking up most,” he said.

While more and more people are getting realistic looking tattoos, many of the popular tattoos on the peninsula remain the standard flowers, dream catchers and anchors, Curren said.

He said every person has a unique reason for wanting a tattoo. Some people simply like the way an image looks, while others may want a tattoo to honor a deceased friend or family member.

“It’s such a privilege and honor to be able to give somebody something that will go to their grave. It’s a great feeling,” Curren said. “Nothing beats it.”

While tattoos are increasing in popularity, many of the artists including Price believe that the art form is not a fad; rather it’s here to stay.

“Well,” she said, “(tattoos) are permanent.”

 

Reach Ian Foley at Ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Sam Hayes works has been working for Ink Works since just after it opened three years ago. She said her favorite client was 79 before she received her first tattoo, and had five drawn on her before she passed away Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Sam Hayes works has been working for Ink Works since just after it opened three years ago. She said her favorite client was 79 before she received her first tattoo, and had five drawn on her before she passed away Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Lori Salyers has more than 20 tattoos, she said, Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska. It is hard to chose her favorite, but the ones commemorating her daughters triumphant battler with cancer are likely her top picks.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Lori Salyers has more than 20 tattoos, she said, Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska. It is hard to chose her favorite, but the ones commemorating her daughters triumphant battler with cancer are likely her top picks.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Sam Hayes works on a black and white image of a cat sitting beside a tombstone just below Lori Salyers shoulder, Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Sam Hayes works on a black and white image of a cat sitting beside a tombstone just below Lori Salyers shoulder, Saturday, March 14, 2015, at Ink Works in Kenai, Alaska.

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read