Jul 31, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
After five years of business in the village of Jordan, tattooist Mike Hynes says people are still surprised to come across his tattoo and body piercing shop.
Which could be considered a good thing, since when Hynes moved into the space at 6 Clinton Street in the village, some residents worried the “wrong type of people” would be attracted to Jordan as a result.
“A lot of the stigma still remains,” Hynes said of the art of tattooing, and those who perform it. “Our goal is to show people we’re not some hunchbacked guys in a dark room scrawling with dirty needles.”
Hynes designed his Mystical Magical Tattoo Studio with that in mind, and aimed to create a comfortable atmosphere, where people would not be intimidated. One wall of the studio is completely mirrored, so that “there is nothing the tattooist does that you don’t see,” Hynes said. The shop also acts as a safe spot for kids, who are welcome to come inside if they feel they are in danger or even just to say hello.
Hynes said his own interest in tattoos was sparked when he was just eight years old. Growing up in South Boston, his mother would often send him to the store and along the way he would a tattoo shop. Though in those days, Hynes said, tattoo parlors had a closed-door policy – as in, the doors remained closed. Oustide, Harleys were always parked, he said.
One day, he caught a glimpse inside. He watched a man grimace in pain as he received a tattoo, and when the artist looked over his shoulder at the boy and winked, he was hooked.
Hynes said he began as an apprentice at the same shop, under Paul Sheffield, the artist who had sparked his initial interest in the art.
That was 40 years ago. Since then, Hynes has tattooed all over the country, and even built a small studio at his home prior to setting up shop in Jordan.
Where, he and tattooist Doug Phillips agree, they spend about half their time fixing, touching up, or covering other people’s tattoos – the result of a lack of state regulations on tattooing and a lack of thought on the part of the tattooed.
“It doesn’t cost anything to think,” Phillips said. Fixing a misspelled word or covering up an ex-boyfriend’s name, however, is not cheap.
Post-ink regret is one of the reasons both Hynes and Phillips talk many people out of a tattoo – or downright refuse some.
“No names,” Hynes said decidedly. Unless the name belongs to a blood relative – a child, parent, cousin, grandparent, etc. – he will not do the tattoo.
He has covered up too many names in the past, and the anger exhibited by some seeking to permanently imprint the name of their new love on their body does not sway him.
Phillips tries to convince the would-be client to spell the name in another language, or draw it abstractly, so that, should the relationship end, there will still be an aesthetically pleasing tattoo to show for the heartache.
The artists exercise their prerogative when discussing potential tattoos with clients, and will refuse tattoos if they feel the piece will hinder the client’s career opportunities in the future. They also turn down gang and club-related pieces, and stay away from tattooing hands, feet, necks, and other easily visible locations, especially if the client has no or few existing tattoos.
Oh, and they will not tattoo your pet. Even if you are willing to sign a waiver for it.
Hynes said he has been asked to tattoo lizards, pot belly pigs, a parakeet and a German Sheppard. The answer, as you may have guessed, is always “no.”
And, for the record, if you plan to get a tattoo at Hynes’ shop, plan on staying a while.
“The idea is to have a great experience and get a fantastic tattoo,” Hynes said. “If I wanted to make money I would be in the city doing power house tattoos.”
A tattoo that takes 20 minutes to complete, will look like it took 20 minutes to complete, say Hynes and Phillips. And that is not a good thing.
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