Living breathing art

By Posted on Jan 17 2019 | By

Remington tattoo studio focused on artistry

Over three decades ago tattoos were viewed as less than mainstream. One wasn’t surprised when a soldier or sailor returned home with a small flag or state motto proudly inked on a youthful bicep. Beyond that, the industry had a somewhat seedy aura to it.

Towns often denied permits to such establishments because they weren’t sure what went on inside and local chambers likely had concerns on their impact within the business community.

But that was then. Today tattoos are a $1.6 billion industry; 45 million Americans have at least one and half of all millennials sport some ink. Moreover, 36 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds are displaying and 33 percent of urbanites and 25 percent of rural folks are decked out in living color. Three in 10 adults now proudly wear an image.

By any measure ink on skin has taken hold in the 21st century. Why?

Reasons abound with some theorizing today’s society seeks increased individuality and self-expression in the age of digital communication. A tattoo immediately shares one’s creative side and breaks through the silent world of texts and emails.

The art form has also evolved new terms for the ancient practice: body art, body bling, fashion ink and more.

To highlight the level of popularity, the 9th Annual DC Tattoo Expo was held in Arlington January 11 to 13. More than 400 tattoo artists were in attendance during the three-day conference talking shop with large crowds and tattooing those in need of a rose pedal or eagle.

Black Sheep Studios
An important reason for the surging popularity in tattoos today is the technical skill and artistry being brought to bear on epidermis canvases.

Joe and Jen Poteet are emblematic of a growing number of tattooists that are changing the industry’s reputation by force of their skill and creativity. Playing off the fading image of the art form, the shop is called Black Sheep Studios Gallery & Tattoos and is located at 204 Main Street in Remington.

When you walk through the doors of their establishment set your preconceived idea of an old-time tattoo parlor on the sidewalk. The shop is not a shop. It’s called a studio and for good reason.

The Poteets are artists first and tattoo mavens second. If you are going to make a lifetime commitment, you want to put yourself in the hands of creative experts. Black Sheep Studios are those hands.

“I was going to school to obtain a fine arts degree but didn’t know what I really wanted to do. Tattooing gave me a goal and a job. I got my apprenticeship at a shop in Maryland,” said Jen Poteet.

“I met my husband Joe there who also was a tattoo artist. We fell in love, got married and started a family.” Today the couple has five children ranging in ages from 9 to 23-years-old and live in nearby Summerduck.

They moved to Virginia after years of working in Maryland and opened their studio in November of 2017. “We really love the area and wanted to open our own place. Remington was the perfect location with its older buildings and lots of history.

“The business started off slowly and grew by word of mouth. The town and local people have been awesome in supporting the business. Today we’re seeing more people come in from throughout the county and beyond.”

Poteet recalls how the industry has changed over the last three decades. Back in the 90s people often selected their tattoo designs off the wall of a shop. In today’s internet era an unlimited amount of art is available online and customers show up knowing what they want.

“We started when you often began with just a sketch. We are still old-school and do a lot of hands-on designs. Because of our experience, we can pretty much do anything anybody wants. We are classically trained artists.”

Poteet observes that tattoos are not for everyone and reinforces their own practice is conservative. They do not do face tattoos. Recently a woman came in to have a hand tattoo done on her young daughter. “We told her we do not do hand tattoos on people under 18. We try to get them to understand that tattoos are forever.”

The couple’s studio has a clean, modern look with art for sale gracing the walls; both theirs and others. “We have some new artists display work because they might not have an opportunity to show it elsewhere. We like to help the underdogs.”

Art prices range from $10 for a small print up to $200 for larger pieces. Given the nature of the business, landscape art is not sold. The emphasis is on colorful portraiture, geometric designs and other intriguing subjects done in a modern format.

To further reinforce the inviting nature of the shop, the husband and wife team will on occasion set up their own easels in the studio and paint while customers visit.

Price tag
So what does a first-class Black Sheep tattoo go for? “The smallest design would be $50. An average one ranges from $150 to $200,” said Poteet. “Sleeves can cost a couple thousand dollars and may take several months to complete.” A sleeve tattoo extends from the shoulder down to the hand.

“A sleeve is a big project. Some people do it in pieces beginning with an outline and have it colored in over time. They generally go in knowing it’s going to take a long time.”

The studio will also enhance old tattoos and ones an owner may no longer care for. Relationships gone sour can dictate a visit to the studio. Walking around with an “I love Susie” tag when Susie has long vanished is not the way to enhance a memory.

Black Sheep Studios Gallery & Tattoos is opened Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. If the idea of sporting some ink intrigues you, settle into their online tattoo chair for more information at: https://www.blacksheepstudios.net/


Published in the January 16 , 2018 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES