If you stroll into El Paso’s Dapper Ink tattoo shop on any given day, you’re bound to see the resident tattoo artists wearing ties and dress shirts. Owner Erick Melendez named his Dapper Ink tattoo shop after the pride he and his artists take in their appearances.
“It’s really about the way we carry ourselves, we like to dress up we come to work. We wanted to bring a different look to the tattooing industry rather than just the typical black shirt and torn jeans. You’re seeing a new wave of tattoo artists coming to town, especially kids out of college. It’s just a different look; it’s really changing with the times. Kids out of college have backgrounds in design and art and tattoos aren’t what they used to be. Nowadays it’s actually hard to find someone who doesn’t have a tattoo.”
Self-described as humble and driven, Erick says failure is not an option for him at his Dapper Ink tattoo shop. “I don’t want to ever grow stagnant or plateau. I have to keep up with the other great artists in town and even on the Internet. My peers inspire me. I’ve also been looking at early nineteenth century illustrations lately and that’s really coming out in my art.”
Although the Dapper Ink tattoo shop has been open for less than a year, Erick has been tattooing and specializing in Traditional tattoos for over nine years. Dapper Ink is a full custom shop and the artists are capable of tattooing everything from Realism, to black and grey portraits and anything else you may desire.
“I tattooed a lady whose husband passed away and she requested I use some of his ashes in her tattoo. I asked around to my colleagues to make sure it was safe and we did lots of research and moved forward. The look on her face was priceless when she saw the portrait tattoo, she just adored it. In her eyes her husband is never going anywhere. He’ll be with her always.”
Dapper Ink houses five talented tattoo artists and Erick explains, “This industry used to be very cut-throat. Anyone who didn’t work in your shop was your enemy or competition. I’ve learned if you just become friends with the other people doing the same as you you learn everybody is doing it for the same reason. It’s about bringing down those walls and your pride and not thinking you know everything. I’m pretty comfortable taking pointers, helping others learn, and going down the street and checking out the work at other local shops.”
Keeping it classy, the crew at Dapper Ink won’t be tattooing any profanities or any other designs they think you’d regret. Call these guys "old school" or just plain traditional, Erick adds “They’re permanent. As you know, they’re never going away.”
To review Dapper Ink, check out artist portfolios or contact the studio, be sure to visit their page.
Images courtesy Dapper Ink Tattoo