True Innovations brings tattoo artistry to west side

This shop is two parts art, one part pain.
Melissa Topey
Nov 2, 2012


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



There was a time when natural birth marks and skin defects were taboo. Now people get in line and pay big bucks to disfigure their skin. One person does it and all of the rest follow to go along with the herd.


There is nothing that says "following the herd" about a tat. Unless you're unoriginal and get the same thing someone else gets picking it out of a stupid book, which many people do. I guarantee you no one has the ink I have. What makes you any less of a sheeple? lol


Wait... didn't Mike get put out of business because he was putting inappropriate things in peoples tattoos?

Good 2 B Me

Mike and his wife divorced. The old shop was taken over by one of their tattoo artists. Mike NEVER went out of business or put anything inappropriate in any tattoos. Rumours are stupid as the people that spread them!

Just Sayin IMHO

I got a tattoo there once for my birthday. I thought the entire process was inappropriate. He took liberties I felt were not his to take. I never went there again. Never had a good thing to say about it from that point on. The tatt is not one of my good ones, either. Part of it is good, but now I will find myself checking to see if there is anything in it I didn't catch before.... given his behavior during the tatt, it would not surprise me to find something. If I do, I am going to become a bigger problem than just bitchin about it here.


Tattoos and body mod have been around for ages


That's what I thought and what does having two "young" feisty girls have to do with a quality tattoo


How does one apply to have their business given the free advertisement? People do realize there are already a couple high quality tattoo shops here in the area? I don't think we need more tattoo shops. What the Sandusky area needs is another pizza place!

Sarah Weber

Our business reporter Melissa Topey features a new business that's recently opened in the area every week. If you know of a recently opened business you'd like to see featured, you can email the idea to


Someone open an Indian restaurant already.


Agree with the Indian restaurant comment. A Donato's Pizza would be awesome too. And how about a good BBQ joint? Tattoo's? Not for me; but more power to ya'.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

Good 2 B Me

Oh Nuts! I am thinking that the cloud that just went over looked like a Barnum and Bailey Circus Train! Oh wait, I guess it can look like whatever you want it to if you look hard enough! You do realize that you are libelling these people, right?


Well it has been said by many people about the inappropriate stuff they put in there tattoos I still have a pic if my friends and many people point out what they see so if you want a good tattoo without that kinda stuff in your tattoo go to addictions