Dan notes: “Tattoos are all around us these days. Seeing the people that come in everyday to get tattooed is living proof of that. Whether you see their tattoos or not, we’ve seen all types and all ages. You never know.”
Dan Siviter, Triple 7 Studio, 29 Patten Pkwy. (423) 702-5401, tattoochattanooga.com
Justin Nave has been tattooing for 18 years. The father of two and husband of 11 years owns both Sick Boys Ink tattoo shops, and is also a volunteer firefighter and Tennessee state constable.
Justin came to Chattanooga after high school to get away from the country and into a big city with somewhere to skate and live out a punk life. When he got to town, he says, there only four tattoo studios, “while now we have about 15 with three or more artists.” He studied art at UTC, but didn’t like the graphic arts push. As he told me, “I wanted to use pen and paper and they wanted me to use Photoshop…so I told them to kiss my ass.”
Justin says he has a lot of people come to him for tribal, but his favorite style is traditional and he is currently learning the Japanese Tebori art of hand tattooing.
His service and work ethic are his most valued assets—along with the idea that his shop is a no-fluff-no-hassle-no-rock-star kind of joint. “We are the modern-day shamans. We are the counselors, the late night therapist. It’s our job to be the givers of the rights of passage, to console those who have lost loved ones, to help those who have lost their way. A lot of responsibility for just an artist, I guess, but it’s who I am.”
Justin Nave, Sick Boys Ink I & II, 5159 Hixson Pike, (423) 877-0101, sickboysink.com.
Brandy Burgans has been a licensed tattoo artist for six years. Her apprenticeship started at Standard Ink under the ownership of the late Stowe Williams when they realized her history in painting would be a perfect fit. In the man’s world of Chattanooga ink, Brandy holds up a high bar. For some women, it is easier to have another woman understand your body art’s place in the world and having the option of a female artist is a true luxury. Brandy’s clientele come in for her bold color work, saying she has a unique style that goes beyond cartoon. Her advice to those getting their first tattoo is to remember that patience is a virtue: the design and execution must be respected and done in due time. When we talked about tattoo acceptance, Brandy explained that she felt Volkswagen has set a precedent in considering body modifications to have nothing to do with the hiring process or work performance. She has inked many of their employees and executives since their arrival. “The hunger for learning various styles of tattooing is constant; I strive to perfect every piece I do. This summer, I am honored to be spending another month in Europe and UK working under several artists…I am lucky to have the greatest job for me in the world, and I am grateful for it every single day!”
Brandy Burgans, Standard Ink Tattoo Co., 434 Frazier Ave. (423) 756-8776, standardink.com
Note: On May 30, 6 p.m. the Hunter Museum presents “A Tour of Tattoos: An Exploration of Body Art.” Free with museum admission. 10 Bluff View. huntermuseum.org