Iron Tiger Tattoo shops in Columbia, MO. specialize in Traditional and classic tattoos.
Open for business since 2009, Iron Tiger offers an eclectic mix of artists, custom work and bold designs in the Columbia, MO area. I spoke with long-time artist Gabe Garcia, who shared his view on the changing tattoo industry.
Tell me about your Iron Tiger Tattoo shops in Missouri and the artists:
We’re a very traditional tattoo shop, but at the same time we are “updated.” Our artists work in every genre and specialize in all styles and we do a little of everything, from full sleeves to half sleeves. We do it all; traditional portraits, Chicano, and of course black and grey.
Does your Columbia, MO. tattoo shop offer mostly custom tattoo designs?
It’s a pretty solid mix. We’re very much still a custom shop. And although we do have flash designs, they are all hand drawn by our artists in the shop, so in that way they are custom and can only be found at Iron Tiger.
How do you feel about the current changes in the industry and the mainstream popularity of tattoos?
I love it that’s getting popular.
I got into this eleven years ago before the explosion. From the positives to the negatives, everything is kind of cool.
I used to buy magazines to see a cool tattoo, and I’d see like one out of 100 that were real impressive.
With technology, Instagram, etc., I can see an awesome tattoo in seconds. Sure there are more tattooists, and people that are less talented.
But there’s also more amazing artists than there ever were before.
What personal sacrifices have you made to become a professional tattoo artist?
Pretty much gave up 100 percent of my social life and I’m married to my job. It occupies every waking moment in some way.
Describe a time you where you believe your talent truly helped someone? T
One moment that stands out is the story of a little boy who struggled with cancer his whole life; he was only 8 years old.
In school he was asked to write an essay and in it he compared himself with Superman because he dealt with pain every day.
His niece had parts of this handwritten excerpt inked in a memorial tattoo, and she of course was crying. This was the most difficult for me to do. That little boy Blake was a hero to us all.
When you aren’t tattooing, you can be found…
I go home and draw and plan my appointments for the next day. I also like to paint things.
Tattoos take up 100% of my time.
Describe what a tattoo means to you:
It’s hard to define.
I got tattoos to be different and wild and crazy, I just wanted to look tough. Of course I wish I made smarter choices back then.
They’re basically a collage. You get tattooed to separate yourself from everyone else. Tattoos are basically the last way to express yourself as an individual without being a carbon copy.
To review either of the Iron Tiger Tattoo shops in Missouri, or to check out their artist portfolios, visit Iron Tiger’s Member Profile.
Images courtesy Iron Tiger Tattoo