Tattoo Artist works on a chest piece

Dipped In Ink

Mike Mehaffey

Anthem Tattoos

Q: What made you decide to start tattooing?

I moved here when I was 17, and I wanted to get a tattoo, went into a shop here and a cool guy was here. I started hanging out at the shop a lot. I’ve always loved art and tattoos. I started apprenticing under him, and then he moved. So I went to art school and did a lot of odd jobs, but the passion for it never went away. I worked at Body Tech for the first shop I actually became a full-fledged tattooer at, and I’ve been here for the 2 years the shop’s been open.

Q: What things are necessary to ensure a good tattoo?

You want to definitely research your artist. Make sure you know and like his stuff, and then ask a lot of questions. Make sure they sterilize their stuff. For technicalities, it’s up to the artist. If you pick a quality artist, he’ll talk through all that and make sure the tattoo is good. If he cares.

Q: Why is it so important to find a quality tattoo shop?

Because you want to get a tattoo. And you want it to look good forever.

Q: How do you compare body art to what others classify as “normal” or “classic” art?

It’s folk art. If it were in a fine art contest, it would be folk art. There’s a specific craft to putting the actual ink in the skin, the techniques to the art itself.

Q: What is your favorite tattoo that you have?

My harp (shows his left hand). It has to do with my heritage, a constant reminder of my grandfather. He had an amazing work ethic, and the best guy I ever met. He was from Ireland, so I have this constant reminder of him.

Q: Favorite tattoo that you’ve done?

Shit, man. I don’t know. I’ve done so many all over the place, it’s like, how do you pick one?