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Itching for ink: local tattoo parlors see increase in demand

Posted at 11:26 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 07:36:06-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — If you’ve felt a sudden urge to get a tattoo recently, you’re not the only one.

“After we reopened, we had months of stuff to reschedule, so we were very busy," said Lisa Priewe-Kann, tattoo artist at Skinny Buddha Tattoo in Green Bay. "We’ve been busy ever since.”

Priewe-Kann saw many people wanting to spend their stimulus checks on small, immediate tattoos.

“People wanted to spend them on something they can give to themselves," she said. "Something that lasts a long time, so we definitely were not able to keep up with the demand at that time.“

Other artists aren’t sure if the rise in popularity is pandemic-related.

“Tattooing is so popular right now that it really hasn’t changed that much as of yet, where we’ve noticed that people are saying they’ve been vaccinated and that’s why they’re here," said Peter Kuehl, tattoo artist at Darkside Tattoo in Green Bay.

There are always seasonal influxes, he said.

“During the winter, we’re getting a lot of the construction workers, road workers, roofers, stuff like that, that are out of work that can’t be getting tattooed in the summer," said Kuel. "In the summer, a lot of people, 'I got to hurry up and get my tattoo for summer,' you know, have it ready for summer.“

When Darkside first opened back up, they were only allowing one appointment a day.

“Everybody is still bugging me on the phone about getting tattooed, it’s like, no, we still got to follow the rules," said Jesse Zeise, owner of Darkside. "That’s how we do things here.“

Both tattoo parlors will continue to have artists wear masks.

“I’ve seen the kind of stuff that comes out of the human mouth that we don’t see," said Priewe-Kann. "And I don’t want to breathe that on peoples open wounds.“

As for pandemic-inspired tattoos, Kuehl has done a few of faces wearing masks. Priewe-Kann is hoping those ones fade away.

“Everybody’s kind of just hoping this is a blip in time and not something permanent," she said. "Tattoos are permanent, and I don’t think a lot of people are eager to remember the hardship of this time.“

Although more and more tattoo parlors are welcoming walk-ins again, it’s always a good idea to call ahead first.