TJ Cantwell, owner of Studio 28 Tattoos in New York, is about to change your perspective on tattooed people in the workplace.
People often think it’s one or the other: business suit or body art.
So what happens when a tattooed man in a Wall Street suit becomes the proud owner of a tattoo shop?
TJ Cantwell has always been heavily tattooed, but now he wears his art in more prominent locations: past his sleeves and on his neck.
“My tattoos used to be hidden because I was wearing a suit. There is more tattoo workplace acceptance, just not to the point of visibility. Because I came from that world, I obviously have a lot of connections. We cater to a lot of those guys that have lots of tattoos, though you would have no idea until they take off the suits.”
So how is the culture of tattooing changing?
“The industry is much more open now as far as new people, new talent, and all walks of life getting a tattoo.”
Life has changed for TJ as well. While he’s still riding the subway, TJ traded in his tie and instead walks to 28th Street to open the doors of Studio 28 Tattoos, where he runs the whole business.
An eclectic shop, Studio 28 Tattoos in New York has no flash designs on the wall. Instead you’ll see custom artwork while listening to a massive mix of music from old school rock, Rockabilly, old school rap music.
“We’re really mellow. I have two full time tattoo artists and two body piercing and modification experts. Most of the artists are pretty quiet when they tattoo. We work mostly by appointment and focus on unique custom design requests, as well as Realism and Black and Grey.”
Voted #1 tattoo shop in NYC by citysearch.com, TJ believes the most rewarding part of owning a tattoo shop comes from the consumer standpoint.
“I’ve always been a laidback, hard worker. I treat this the same as any other job I’ve had. Show up early, stay late and work 6-7 days a week.”
“ I believe I’ve brought customer service to the industry. I love seeing how happy everyone is. I used to get tattooed from a lot of different shops in the city and there was always this vibe that the artists were doing us a favor and they were rude and everything. I think I’ve proved there’s not necessarily just a bunch of assholes in this industry.”
Change… is good.
To check out Studio 28 Tattoos in New York, view artist portfolios, or book an appointment, be sure to visit their Member Profile.
Images courtesy Studio 28 Tattoos