I was born in North Minneapolis in 1962, and have been a native of the area ever since I was a child. I went to school in North Branch where the only subject that interested me at all was art class. In the 1980's, while spending a couple years in South Dakota, I met a tattoo artist named "Bones" I used to trade some of my drawings for tattoos. It wasn't long before I was homesick and moved back home to Minnesota, with an itch to become a tattooer myself.
Like a lot of us in the 1980's, I bought a "tattoo kit" from Spaulding & Rogers and started scratching ink into myself, as well as my family and friends. I began to realize I needed help if I was going to make it in this industry. I was lucky enough to live close to one of the best known tattoers in the world: Don Nolan. So that's where I went, and to my surprise he hired me! Things really took off from there. In the late 80's and early 90's I worked at Acme Tattoo 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. I learned so much from watching Don work his magic on skin. So many people wanted to get tattooed by Don, but he could not get them all in, and so I kept busy tattooin the leftovers. I did a wide variety of flash, as well as custom ink. In the 90's I bounced around a little bit, but was lucky enough to work for Dave Yurkew in Minneapolis for a few years. Here I learned a lot about the history of tattooing, not only in Minneapolis, but the whole country. "Tattoos by Yurkew" at the time was the oldest tattoo shop in the state. Dave was involved with the National Tattoo Association so he knew people in the tattoo industry from all over. As a matter of fact, Dave Yurkew and Lyle Tuttle put on the very first tattoo convention, down in Texas in 1976, which brought more tattooers together in one place than ever before. It changed the tattoo world forever. I want to thank Bones of Skin and Bones Tattoos in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for getting me started, and all of the people in the South Minneapolis' "Uptown" underground tattoo scene in the 1980's for letting me scratch you all up, but most of all, Don Nolan of Acme Tattoo in St. Paul and Dave Yurkew, for showing me the ropes. I have nothing but love and respect.
In the 90's, I worked at a few different shops in the Twin Cities area, with a brief run of my own shop on University Ave. in St. Paul (I'll mark that up as a learning experience). Tired of the city life, I felt a need to work closer to home, and in 1998 my whole life changed for the better. I became a Christian and got involved with Abundant Life Church in North Branch. I then opened "Happily Ever After Tattoos" in my hometown of Harris, MN. Over the last 15 years we have gone through a lot of changes. We have grown from a one man tattoo "shop" in a one room building that was open 40 hours a week - to a 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, full service studio with several artists to choose from; each with their own style. I am really looking forward to turning more of the business ends of things over to my shop manager, so I can work more at the art/tattooing part of the studio. I can't wait to see what the next 15 years brings.
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