My trip to Lucky Devil Tattoo, Interview With Ishmael (co-owner, artist, janitor, manager)
During my first year of college, I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo. I decided I’d start my search at the nearest possibility: Pins and Needles on Weber Street, located above Weber Street Liquors. After browsing the artists that worked there, I couldn’t find anyone that I wanted to collaborate with to create my tattoo, and I realized that the search for the right artist was going to be the most important part of the process.
To help shed some light for those interested in getting their first or maybe their next tattoo, I decided to interview the artist who I chose to create my piece, Ishmael, who two years later now co-owns and practices his art at Lucky Devil Tattoo on Bijou street.
K: First off, how did you get into the tattoo business?
I: I just grew up with a kid whose cousins were friends of ours as well, and then I got the opportunity to work at a shop. I had no intentions of tattooing or making tattoos, but they approached me and asked me if it was something I would be interested in. I thought about it, and that’s kind of what happened.
I did an apprenticeship for a couple of years. It wasn’t a strictly formal apprenticeship; I was just trying to learn the basics and learn what I could.
K: Where did you do that?
I: That was here, Colorado Springs.
K: How long have you been making tattoos since then?
I: Uh, the first day that I got to tattoo that wasn’t an apprenticeship-type deal was Jan. 1, 2011. So not extremely long, but I started working at that shop in either I think 2008 or 2009.
K: At West Side?
I: Yeah. So I’d been there for a while, and I’d been getting tattoos, you know, for a long time before that. I was getting a lot of tattoos, and I really liked to get tattooed and still do. It was always something that was interesting. It wasn’t always something that I approached as a trade or a craft that I was going to do. It was something I liked, and I liked to look at it.
K: I was going to ask you more about West Side, but since you’re here now, what in your opinion sets this shop apart from others around you?
I: We’re definitely you know, not super high output. There’s two of us here, and I think that’s really important because when you come in, you’re talking to the two owners, the janitors, the managers, you know. It makes it nicer for when people come in.
They get to talk to me; they don’t have to talk to three other people who have nothing to do with, you know, their tattoo. That’s really important to me. I’ve travelled and gotten tattooed. It’s like, whoa, I get to just talk to him. You know, I don’t have to deal with all these other people.
K: Do you have any suggestions for people who’ve never been tattooed before?
I: Go to shops where you can look at their work. Most of the time these days you can do it online. I get most of my business through Instagram and Facebook, which I had qualms with up until this past year. However, it makes research really convenient for customers.
We don’t advertise, we don’t do anything like that, we don’t harass people to get them or to come in. You either come in or you don’t. It’s nicer in this type of environment because we don’t have to charge the same amount of money, there are only two of us here, and there’s not a whole lot of stuff to worry about.
I can keep my prices competitive with the worst shops in town and still make a living doing it and, over time, I can eliminate having some of those bad shops in town.
If you find yourself going for a walk downtown, stop by Lucky Devil Tattoo and see the incredible work that they’ve got on view.