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Published on Wed, Oct 12, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
CHEVROLET PROVIDES A GUIDED TATT-TOUR OF HOLLYWOOD Words and pictures by Reed Berry Nothing screams Americana like baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet…and tattoos? When you think about it, Chevrolet has been around since 1911, making it a relative youngster compared to the art of tattooing, which has been practiced in parts of the world for thousands of years and in America since the early 1800s. It appears as though being ‘inked’ is more popular than ever, considering how many people are having their bodies decorated. Some just have small, discreet tattoos with the name of a loved one or favorite sports team, while other people look like comic books with legs, covering their entire body with colorful images.
As one of Chevrolet’s Best of Tours, today’s event is the ‘Best of Ink Tour.’ Chevy has teamed up with some of the most popular tattoo parlors in Hollywood and West Hollywood to give tour participants the inside scoop on where to get tattooed in the L.A. area. This is a learning experience for me, as my body is a blank canvas that has not yet been inked. I seem to be in the minority, however, as most of my friends have at least one tattoo and some have several. Whether today’s tour will be enough to convince me to decorate my body remains to be seen.
The starting point of our tour is the stylish Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and, of course, we are taking the tour in shiny new Chevrolet and other assorted GM vehicles. The fleet includes the powerful Cadillac CTS-V as well as two sporty Camaro models. For those who wish to drive a little ‘greener’, there is an electric Chevy Volt plus a few hybrids, including Chevy Silverado and Tahoe, plus a luxurious Cadillac Escalade. Hard to pick because each vehicle has its own unique and appealing features, but I have chosen to start the tour in a bright yellow Chevy Camaro 2SS Convertible. We will tour three local tattoo shops in order to meet the owners and tattoo artists, as well as learning about the various types of body decoration and modification in which each shop specializes.
Body Electric Tattoo (7274 ½ Melrose Avenue), a fixture in Hollywood for nearly 20 years, is advertised as a ‘sanctuary of creative self-expression.’ A stairway sandwiched between two other businesses takes you to their stylish, colorfully decorated second floor studio. A team of professionally trained tattoo artists can create custom designs or can work from customer-provided sketches. Body piercing is also available, and owner Brian has shown us the room in which they do male and female genital piercing. I think I’ll pass on that particular service for now, but nice to know that it is available in case I ever want someone to stick a big needle through my manhood. Another popular local spot for body modification including, believe it or not, branding and tongue splitting is Velvet Grip Tattoo (7213 ½ Santa Monica Boulevard), a full-service piercing and tattoo studio. Owner ‘The Todd’ and his team of talented artists can do just about anything to any part of your body, from a colorful tattoo to fashionable body jewelry. They keep an impressive selection of body jewelry in stock and they can also create custom pieces. Like other area tattoo parlors, Velvet Grip gets its share of celebrity clients, including actor Kiefer Sutherland and Motley Crüe's Tommy Lee. The final stop on our tour is The Honorable Society Tattoo Parlor & Lounge (8424 W. Santa Monica Boulevard) in West Hollywood. The lettering above the door simply says ‘Tattoo’, but the shop’s interior is anything but generic. It is beautifully decorated with a living room type feel, providing a comfortable atmosphere for customers and a creative environment for the shop’s skilled artists. Like the other shops on the tour, piercing is available as well. The shop, conveniently located on Santa Monica Boulevard just east of La Cienega, is open daily until midnight.
While today’s tour hasn’t convinced me to get a tattoo, have my tongue split or submit to branding, it was certainly an interesting look into the world of tattoo art and body modification. It’s easy to see, based on the dedication and professionalism of the artists I’ve met today, why these shops were included in Chevy’s ‘Best Of Ink’ tour. On the web: GM's blog with videos of the event: The Future is Electric Body Electric Tattoo: bodyelectrictattoo.com Velvet Grip Tattoo: velvetgripfamily.com The Honorable Society Tattoo Parlour & Lounge: thehonorablesociety.com