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True Innovations brings tattoo artistry to west side

Melissa Topey • Nov 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

And that's how it should be.  

Local tattoo artist Mike Evans is back in business after opening True Innovations, a tattoo and piercing parlor on West Monroe Street.

The new venture came about as a rebirth following a divorce.

"Quality and creativity are back," said Joe Stone, a tattoo artist of 23 years.

Evans and Stone work alongside artists Liz Barmess and Andrew Fergusson, and piercer Tiffany Newcomb.

The two girls who greet True Innovations customers are the young and feisty Chelsea Wolfe and Claire Gainok.

Evans is known for his work in black and gray, while Stone likes the big pieces.  Barmess is known for beautiful, color-saturated tattoos.

"We love custom," Stone said. "And big."

Fergusson is an apprentice to Evans, learning the skills needed to become a great tattoo artist.

Evans said Fergusson already displays an "old-school style."

The artists are known to merge their styles, sometimes working as a team on one customer to create amazing custom pieces.

They call themselves a team of drama-free misfits.

Fergusson has another take.

"This is my family here," Fergusson said.

Skin isn't the only canvas. The shop's white walls showcase stunning and engaging art work, all created by the employees. Barmess features custom-made jewelry in a glass counter at the front entrance, while custom T-shirts cover an entire wall.

The walls warm up the sterility of the shop. Cleanliness and a sterile technique are factors to look for in a tattoo parlor, Evans said.

"We tattoo a lot of doctors and nurses," Evans said. "All our needles come pre-sterilized. We open them in front of you."

The shop has its regular customers who are comfortable walking in for a piercing or tattoo. For those seeking a first tattoo, however, the staff will walk you around the shop and talk to you until you're comfortable.

"When someone chooses to come to you for their first tattoo, it's a good feeling," Stone said.

Teamwork, quality and decent pricing come together at True Innovations.

"The phoenix is our logo, rising out of turmoil," Evans said. "We are going to make ourselves top shop again."

True Innovations

What: Tattoo and piercing

Where: 3005 W. Monroe St., former Bike Rack bicycle shop

Phone: 419-502-TATS (8287)

Hours: 4-10 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Click here for a special offer from True Innovations

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