A sudden, sharp pain hits my tricep and vibrates up through my shoulder as I watch him put the buzzing needle against my skin. I look away, squeeze my eyes shut, and try not to let out a scream. He let me get as comfortable as possible, but there is really no comfortable way to do this. I try to focus my mind on the Netflix stand-up comedy going on in the background as I know that I can trust my favorite tattoo artist, Joey. This is my third time at Sacred Art Tattoo, and it has always been a great experience.
Recently, it seems tattoos have been on the rise with a very specific consumer group: Millennials. Gaining incredible popularity, even the United States Navy has changed its body art policies to allow for more and larger tattoos in the hopes of drawing in more millennial recruits. According to Pew Research Center, “Americans in the 18-25 age bracket, are not afraid to express themselves through their appearance and tattoos are the most popular form of self-expression — more than one-in-three (36%) now has one.” Because of Oregon State University, a large population of Corvallis is in this age bracket.
In “How tattoos went from subculture to pop culture”, Nathan Boon says, “When I first started, you had to go and find someone to tattoo you. Now it’s in your face. There are more kids than ever that have tattoos,” said Boon. “It’s not a taboo thing anymore. In quite humor, Captain James Hook is credited for the word tattoo as well as taboo. In his sailing voyage, he traveled around the Tahitian and Polynesian areas and himself introduced the words into the English language.
Established on Monroe and 14th in Corvallis in 1995, they are always ready to help in all ways tattoos. Owned the entire time it’s been open by Joey Taylor, Sacred Art has gotten great reviews. From Yelp.com, “The spinach was top-notch. Really though, I came to Sacred Art after having a horrible experience with a different tattooist up the street on Monroe. I came to Joey at sacred art, and he is great! He has completely redone and enhanced my sleeve, he makes good time and does high quality work. I get constant compliments on my arm. He prices fair, and is fun to chat/hang with. I highly recommend sacred art for all your tattoos! Very happy all around.”
Sacred Art Tattoo is recommended by many people in Corvallis, and is widely known as one of the best tattoo parlors. People all over the valley come to get tattooed by Joey and the crew.
There are two major tattoo parlors in Corvallis: Sacred Art Tattoo and High Priestess Tattoo. They have been in constant competition for business, as most Oregon State students go to one or the other.
“The reason people come to us is because of how long we’ve been tattooing,” says Brad Reesen, a tattoo artist at Sacred Art Tattoo. “I’ve been here since Wilson Pickett, I don’t need to kick it.” Brad explains that tattooing isn’t something you’re good at right out of tattoo school. “It takes time to learn this stuff.” He says that people come to them because they have been there for so long, with the same crew, and that’s because they all are very good at their jobs. Brad also said that because they have been there for so long, people know they aren’t going anywhere. “We’re a safe bet, and we don’t disappoint.” And after staying in the same place for almost 25 years, I can see why he was so confident.
Sacred Art Tattoo is better than others in the area for both their personality and their incredibly punctuality. Always ready to schedule you for the person you want within your schedule, they are able to take calls or walk-ins on the regular. While other tattoo parlors in the area are known for “blurry tattoos” and long wait times for appointments, Sacred Art is always prepared to tattoo you when you are ready, with exactly what your dream tattoo was.
“We’ve noticed an increase of both tribal and Polynesian tattoos the past few years.” says Brad Reesen. He explains that another one of their tattoo artists was an expert in Polynesian tattooing. “He’s been doing it for over 20 years,” says Brad. “A lot of people come here just to see him.” According to refinery29.com, “There was an incredible spike in wrist tattoos; last fall, it was all fingers.” Even Brad was having a hard time coming up with an answer for what tattoos are trending. Tattoos are an art form, and an example of personal expression. No one will like exactly the same tattoos, because everyone is different. “We of course have a lot of college students, because of the school. But we also get a lot of people from the community. Doctors, lawyers, and retired people alike come in here, wanting a tattoo.”
Sacred Art Tattoo has done incredible tattoos as well as three of my own towards my nature sleeve. Never a mess-up, all three different tattoo artists have been able to replicate each other’s tattoos to match the rest. With such a jumbled idea walking into the parlor three years ago, Sacred Art Tattoo has been able to understand and perpetuate my vision onto my arm perfectly.
Evan Lochridge, a Kinesiology major at Oregon State, has only been to get one tattoo at Sacred Art, but after an incredibly unique, but well-done experience, he’s ready to recommend it to anyone. Praised by a friend, Sacred Art led Evan to one of his most intriguing tattoo experiences ever; fondling a man’s beard. Wanting a piece on his forearm, Evan was forced into an awkward situation. While Joey was intensely concentrating, he didn’t realize his beard was going right into Lochridge’s hand. He didn’t care in the end, it was “one of his favorite tattoos.”
Nick Harrod, a Construction Engineering Management major at Oregon State, has never been to get a tattoo at Sacred Art, because he prefers High Priestess. “I chose High Priestess because I was impatient and really wanted tattoos when I was a Freshman. I was ready to have them and someone recommended High Priestess, easy as that.” Nick also says that he has never had a bad tattoo, although he has heard of people that have.
“Especially in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve noticed a lot of tattoos relating to the PNW. A lot of the really good tattoos I have seen seem to be tribal or having to do with ancient human culture, which I think is really cool.” Nick then went on to talk about his personal reasons for getting tattoos. “My tattoos have a connection to my personal beliefs and interests in life. They’re an outward expression of inner thoughts and ideals. I get them so I can see them in the mirror every day and never forget who I am. It also is a good conversation starter.”
Sacred Art has meant a lot to me since I’ve come to college. Always been an ‘ink-nut’, I had to find a good place that would welcome me, but still give me incredible art. When I came to Corvallis, I basically had two to choose from. Everyone I asked said, “Go to Sacred Art, High Priestess will give you blurry tattoos!” So I went to Sacred Art and was greeted as soon as I walked through the door. With a bookful of generic tattoos, they can almost give you anything you ask for when you walk through the door. And anything perfectly specific they can print an outline and schedule you for in a week.