COLUMBIA — Tattoo parlors are no longer dark places that are associated with rebellious youngsters and crimes, but welcoming shops that sell artistic works for one’s body.
Columbia’s tattoo, body piercing and art gallery, Living Canvas, tries to eliminate the stereotypes associated with the traditional tattoo parlors.
"It’s welcoming," said Dean Jones, the owner of the tattoo parlor. "It’s not a blaring death metal when you walk in. It’s a comfortable place to be, whether you are 18 years old or 80 years old."
Tattoo artists at Living Canvas work to offer a professional and personalized service to customers who come for different reasons.
"I have wanted to get this tattoo probably for 10 years now," said Jessica Milligan, a customer in the tattoo shop, while she was getting a tattoo of a cluster of animals on her lap. She wanted to use this tattoo to commemorate her time in the MU Veterinarian School and having the chance to chase her dream of becoming a veterinarian.
The artists not only accompany each customer from the designing process to the end of tattooing and consulting on safety issues, they establish a bond with people who come for tattoos.
"It (getting a tattoo) sometimes can be a life-changing experience for people, whether they are getting some closure after a family member died or going through a divorce, kind of a rite of passage," said Adya Crawford, one of the tattoo artists at the tattoo shop, "And the fact that I can help people with that is amazing."