Mr. Natural's hopes to make mark in tattoo biz

March 10, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

Mr. Natural's hopes to make mark in tattoo biz

Jared Jordan opened Mr. Natural's Tattoo Studio at 10 S. Potomac St. in Williamsport on Jan. 1. For the Martinsburg, W.Va., resident the new year marked a new beginning.

Jordan, 29, said he worked for someone else for four or five years in West Virginia before he decided to strike out on his own. He chose Williamsport because the rent was reasonable and the location good.

At his new shop, which he cleaned and remodeled, Jordan offers customers a choice of about 20,000 different tattoos, from simple line drawings to complex, multicolored designs.


Pictures range from innocent ones like Winnie the Pooh, butterflies and angels to darker offerings such as skulls. He does coverups and touchups of work done by other artists.

Jordan uses a computer to show customers the designs available, to change those designs on-screen, and to scan art onto stencil paper. He stencils the pattern on the body and then does the tattoo.

He does not do body piercing and doesn't tattoo anyone under 18.

"Some do it if they have parental permission, but I don't," he said of other shops.

Jordan charges $50 an hour, which he says is low for tattoo artists.

"I'm trying to keep my prices as low as I can," he said.

The time involved depends on the size and detail of the design, he said.

Jordan is easy to smile, but serious about his new business. He said he made sure he got personal and professional liability insurance before opening his doors.

And because he's an admitted clean freak when it comes to tattooing - "I emphasize a clean, sterile environment" - Jordan said he invited the state health department to visit his studio.

"They came in and looked around. They said although they didn't approve of tattoo studios, they were concerned about how clean and safe they were," he said.

So, on the wall next to the door in Jordan's small studio hangs a health department notice to customers about risks involved in tattooing, what they should expect from tattoo artists as far as cleanliness, and what information they should expect from the tattoo artist about aftercare.

In Jordan's studio, the tattooing is done in an area that resembles a barbershop. He and his "right-hand man" and apprentice Bert Myers of Pinesburg put down new white tile floor, put up white paneling and brought in cabinets to hold equipment and inks.

Rubber gloves are used once and then disposed of in a biohazard container, Jordan said.

"We take those types of things to City Hospital in Martinsburg and they incinerate it there," he said.

Needles are used only once, he said.

On the shelves in Jordan's studio are bottles of alcohol, disinfectant, "green" soap, an autoclave used for sterilizing equipment, and a first aid kit.

He said he likes to talk to his customers before doing a tattoo.

"I want to make sure they're comfortable," he said. "And I notice when someone isn't sure they want to get one. If they aren't sure, I tell them to think about it and come back if they decide that's what they want to do."

Jordan said he gives customers instructions on how to take care of their tattoos and what they can expect during healing. He also gives them a packet of ointment.

Jordan did carpentry work before getting into the tattoo business, but his interest in tattoos goes back to his teens. At 16, he made his own tattoo machine out of a tape-player motor and other odds and ends, and tattooed himself.

Myers, a 1997 Abbey Business Institute graduate who has been working as a snowboard instructor at Whitetail Ski Resort, got his first tattoo the day he turned 18. He sees tattooing as a way of expressing artistic creativity.

Myers and Jordan are also members of the hard-core alternative metal band Choke that has had gigs in Martinsburg and Hagerstown.

Both men say they feel tattooing is becoming a more acceptable form of body adornment, and one that crosses gender lines.

Jordan said his customers come from Hagerstown, Williamsport and the Martinsburg area. Business is best on the weekends, when the studio is "packed," he said.

Jordan opens at noon daily, and does tattoos seven days a week. Because hours now are inconsistent due to the band's rehearsal schedule, Jordan suggests people interested in getting a tattoo call first at 301-223-6014.

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