Marvelous marks for Richmond's tattoo scene - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Marvelous marks for Richmond's tattoo scene

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If you think it's time to get some ink -- Richmond may be the place to do it. The River City is now rated America's third friendliest city for tattoos. So what's behind Richmond's marvelous marks? We went to an expert to find out.

Jesse Smith mixes the controversial with creativity, as an artist and the owner of Loose Screw Tattoo in Carytown. The news that Richmond has the third most tattoo parlors in the country, in Smith's view, is thanks to the City's dynamic art scene.

"You know we have VCU here, we have the great art department," Smith said. "It brings a lot of artists into Richmond and stimulates a lot of artistic interest."

An industry analysis finds only Miami and Las Vegas beat Richmond for number of tattoo shops in each city. But Smith says his clients, or collectors, demand a different, more sophisticated caliber of work.

"It seems like the collectors are really striving for large pieces, and really trying to get the best of the best."

As for what to look for before making a life-changing choice, Smith says the process should be involved, not made on a whim.

"Look at the portfolios of the artists you're trying to get a tattoo from," Smith said. "There's a lot of great studios out there that have artist who do a bunch of different styles. So if you're looking to have a portrait, you don't want to go to a cartoon artist."

For a complete list of the top ten friendliest cities for tattoos, click here.

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