If you’re looking for a classic tattoo shop with flash-filled colorful walls, throw down yer anchor at Cleveland’s West Anchor Tattoo. Specializing in Old School tattoos, owner and artist Carl began his career in 2007 and opened West Anchor Tattoo in 2011.
“I didn’t go to college or anything after high school, but I drew a lot. I was a painter and also worked on roof decks, but soon I became interested in tattooing because I just felt it was ‘cool.’ The most rewarding part of my job is that I have a lot of reign in everything I do now. There is just a lot of ME in it.”
Pretty much everything in the shop is the artists’ own, all the way to the hand-painted flash that they’ll use as idea references to create custom tattoo designs.
“Not to take away from any of the shops that don’t hang flash, it’s just some shops you walk into and they just kind of remind me of a dental office or something like that. They have a couple nice pieces hung and then a binder of their portfolio. This is a tattoo shop. I want to walk in and see flash covered on every inch of the place. Flash on the walls keeps tattoo shops alive.”
When asked about some of the more positive changes in the industry, Carl says, “I’m pretty active with the Health Department in our area. I think that’s a good thing and that’s really important. It can be bad on the flipside because they aren’t really educated in our industry. I also believe the Internet has really helped our industry; especially Instagram, where artists who would normally fly under the radar become visible.”
Tattooing has also provided the opportunity for Carl Graley to help people. “A couple of years ago, my buddy’s father was passing away and he wanted one last tattoo before he died. Due to health reasons he couldn’t make it to the tattoo shop, but his wife did and she got the tattoo he wanted. He passed away a few days later, but they were both pretty stoked one of them was able to wear that tattoo. They each got to see it.”
“I’ve gained confidence in this career.” Carl explains, and it appears that same confidence has certainly trickled down to create the success of West Anchor Tattoo in Cleveland, Ohio. “Everyone here is experienced. We travel, we do conventions, and we’re active in the tattooing community. Lots of shops here just focus on Photorealism. What sets us apart the most is, if you come into our shop you’re going to get a tattoo that looks like a tattoo. Our Traditional tattoo style is timeless.”
To review West Anchor Tattoo, check out artist portfolios or book an appointment, be sure to check out their Member Profile.