May 30, 2013

Do you like this?

Around the time of my entrance onto Earth, a little horror movie debuted. Nineteen years later, I viewed this movie in a dark room covered in obscure Zappa posters and crowded with kids who at the time were trying to transition from punk to emo—or maybe back to punk. That night, I overheard a guy called Suicide explain to his fellow cemetery lovers, “You think this is a f@$%in’ costume? This is a way of life!” I was still deciding who I wanted to be, but it seemed this dude in “The Return of The Living Dead,” all in black, pierced, and dealing with zombies, knew who he was and was damn proud of it. That movie quote has stuck with me for life. You may hide who you are and only let it out on the weekends, you may be loud and proud, or quiet and content, but what you love and feel will shine through. 

You can take your experiences of this world and create art…on your body, as a tattoo. 

Some of us lost our tattoo virginity in a kitchen when we were young and dumb while others are still on the edge of making the choice. Tattooing has deep roots in world culture, but deepest is the reminder it gives us in a sometimes-trivial landscape of life. 

Whether you have a silly memory, a memorial to those lost, or an inspiration to do better, we wanted to give our tattoo virgins and veterans a few artists and shops to keep in mind for their next ink. As Chattanooga grows, so does this industry and we have many artists and not enough pages. Here are a few of the artists among us.

Skip Cisto has been tattooing for 14 years. Also a muralist, portrait artist and musician, Skip came to Chattanooga in 1985 from Milwaukee when his father accepted a position at McCallie School as choral director. I randomly met Skip at a Roots Fest drum circle just after having him recommended to me. I really enjoyed hearing how he was approached about tattooing after doing body art at festivals. After dealing with Evermore Galleries in the past, I was aware that Skip and his team have a longstanding tradition of excellence and positivity. Though a versatile artist, Skip loves Realism-style work and is included in  “Black and Grey’s Finest”, a newly published art book that serves as a compilation of the industry’s leading artists of this style. 

“I truly feel that I have helped to change and add quality to people’s lives. From my years as a professional ballet dancer to my love for playing blues guitar, I consider myself a lifelong student of the arts. I look forward to continue offering cutting-edge work to all who receive my art. We are all one.”

Skip Cisto, EverMore Galleries, 6910 Shallowford Rd. (423) 899-0056,

Born in Virginia and a musician at heart, Dan Siviter came off tour to pursue tattooing in North Carolina at Liberty Tattoo. We now have him downtown at Triple 7 Studio. Dan’s clientele come to him for a style dubbed “neo-traditional” or “vintage.” The bold lines and color work are a gem. The studio tries to stay away from flash art, which has become a transition in many shops to convince people to use original designs. “The best advice I can give to anyone is to educate yourself. Know the possibilities, know your artists and his/her abilities, look at portfolios, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. There are possibilities in tattooing now that weren’t available 10 years ago, five years ago, even two years ago.” 


May 30, 2013

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