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New tattoo studios open in Duluth

Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio, North Shore Tattoo and Duluth Tattoo Company all opened within the last few months.

details of cosmetic tattoo studio
Owner Ann Prince describes cosmetic services she offers at Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio on Jan. 11 in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The permanent ink business scene in the Twin Ports has seen a lot of recent change. Numerous new tattoo studios have opened in the past few months, while other studios are making moves across town to new locations.

Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio

Among the newer tattoo studios in the Twin Ports is Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio, opened by Ann Prince in September. Prince has been a cosmetic tattoo artist in the Northland for more than 20 years.

details of cosmetic tattoo studio
Ann Prince explains what cosmetic tattoos are.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

She tattooed in Virginia from 2001 to 2009 before she made a career change and became a nurse. While she’s still working as a nurse on weekends, Prince said she was ready to come back to tattooing, where she has the most fun.

“I’ve always been really artistic. I’ve been an artist my whole life. I got my talent from my dad, and I knew I was really good at it,” Prince said. “(Nursing is) so short staffed and it’s so stressful, and this is really fun.”

At her studio, Prince offers services for both men and women. Permanent makeup options include both top- and bottom-lid eyeliner; lip lining, blushing and full lip color; and freckles.

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Tattooed lips
Lips with full color tattooing done by Ann Prince at Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio shown before, immediately after and healed.
Contributed photo / Ann Prince

Hair micropigmentation or restoration is available for eyebrows, the hairline or on the scalp where hair loss has occurred. Prince said for some people, especially men who experience balding, tattooing hair follicles can give the appearance of a shaved head. She also can create thin hair strokes to fill in areas to make hair appear fuller.

Tattooed eyebrows
A client of Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio who received eyebrow tattoo services from Ann Prince.
Contributed photo / Ann Prince

Prince also offers scar camouflage for the face, including near the eyebrows or on the lip from a cleft palate or lip surgery. She tattoos areolas on people who have had mastectomies as well.

Prince first learned to tattoo body art at the World’s Only Tattoo School in Detroit, Michigan. After learning the ropes of using a tattoo machine, she headed to Arlington, Texas, to learn cosmetic tattooing.

“I wanted to go and learn body tattoos first. I wanted to learn how to use the old-time tattoo machine. I wanted to know how to tattoo on a body before I even went to the face,” Prince said. “I am an artist, and I knew that that would help me immensely. And it did.”

details of cosmetic tattoo studio
A tattoo machine used by artist Ann Prince at Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

She also has two sisters who are cosmetic tattoo artists, and said they have tattooed each other several times over the years. Prince also tattooed eyeliner on herself.

During the tattoo process, Prince sets her clients up in a chair facing the Aerial Lift Bridge from her 10th-floor studio in the Medical Arts Building in downtown Duluth. She uses lidocaine numbing cream during the process, which usually takes up to a few hours.

Prince said in Duluth her most popular service is eyebrows, and she’s seen a trend in younger women getting freckles tattooed. Her favorite place to tattoo is the lips.

She said her clients range in age from their 20s through their 70s. Some people get facial features defined by the permanent makeup to create a fuller look, while others like the idea of not having to apply makeup daily.

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“Your eyebrows are already on after you take a shower; you wake up and your lipstick’s on. When I turned 40 I was like, man, I’m sick of putting this stuff on,” Prince said. “You jump in Lake Superior and nothing smears. It’s wonderful. You look beautiful in the sauna and everybody else doesn’t have any makeup on!”

Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, with other appointments available upon request. The studio is located at 324 W. Superior St., Suite 1030.

details of cosmetic tattoo studio
A selection of inks used at Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

North Shore Tattoo Co.

Right off the intersection of Superior Street and Lake Avenue downtown, Jeremy and Dakota Anderson opened North Shore Tattoo Co. in December.

Jeremy is the studio’s sole artist, while Dakota works the reception side of the business. The husband-wife duo operate in the former Tischer Gallery, which moved to Canal Park in 2020.

North Shore Tattoo Co. owners Jeremy Anderson, right, and Dakota Anderson.
Jeremy Anderson, right, and Dakota Anderson stand behind the front counter at their studio.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune

Jeremy Anderson has been tattooing since he finished high school, completing two three-year apprenticeships before working at several Duluth tattoo studios, including about five years at Gitchee Gumee Tattoo. He decided the time had come for him to start his own business and is already booking clients about a month in advance.

“Just to be able to provide for my family and to be able to do the nicest tattoos that I could, I had to open up my own shop,” Anderson said.

Even though the walls of the shop are covered floor to ceiling with hundreds of flash sheets and art prints in the American traditional and Japanese styles, Anderson will design tattoos in any style or color palette.

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His favorite type of work?

“Stuff with energy,” Anderson said. “Stuff that’s impactful. Something that you look at, and no matter what the story is, you want to ask about it. The story, to me, doesn’t matter. What’s important is that your story for you is told the way that you want it in a way that is appealing to the eye.”

North Shore Tattoo Co. owner Jeremy Anderson works on a sketch of a panther.
Jeremy Anderson works on a sketch of a panther that he created for Justin Swenson, of Superior, before going through the tattooing process.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune

Anderson takes pride in the relationships he forms with clients, favoring respect and trust as the core of his work. He’s proud that nearly all of the clients he’s seen since opening North Shore Tattoo Co. are repeat customers.

North Shore Tattoo Co. owner Jeremy Anderson tattoos Justin Swenson.
North Shore Tattoo Co. owner Jeremy Anderson, left, works on a tattoo for Justin Swenson, of Superior.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune

However, there is room for new clients. North Shore Tattoo takes walk-in appointments, usually in the afternoons. Saturday schedules are left wide open for walk-ins, Dakota Anderson said.

Jeremy Anderson has several hundred tattoos and has tattooed some on Dakota, including one of his first designs when the couple were still teenagers. Jeremy acknowledges that, like with most crafts, his skill level has come a long way since then. He has taken years to understand body movement and how his artwork will be best placed on a body to display the piece.

North Shore Tattoo Co. logo in display window.
The logo for North Shore Tattoo Co., located at 5 W. Superior St. in Duluth.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune

In addition to his art, Anderson is a collector of tattoo memorabilia. Much of the art on the walls at North Shore Tattoo Co. is historically significant pieces or artists’ works, and the front windows contain old tattoo machines and other vintage collectors’ items. Anderson wears a belt buckle that was made by Lyle Tuttle, the famous 20th century tattoo artist known for tattooing many celebrities, including Janis Joplin.

North Shore Tattoo Co. is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 5 W. Superior St. in Duluth.

Duluth Tattoo Co.

Artist Mitch Gogins tattoos an eagle on the arm of Kathleen Pasch
Artist Mitch Gogins tattoos an eagle on the arm of Kathleen Pasch, of Cambridge, Minn., at Duluth Tattoo Co. on Monday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Duluth Tattoo Com.opened in West Duluth in November and has five artists and an apprentice. Owned by Josh Kirkpatrick and Mitch Gogins, the shop operates on an appointment-only basis.

Kirkpatrick and Gogins decided to start Duluth Tattoo Co. so they could focus more on their clientele instead of walk-ins. The two worked at the Living Art Studio in Canal Park for more than five years before opening their new shop in the former Sports Clips in West Duluth.

“We just wanted to get out and do our own thing and have a very specific type of studio,” Kirkpatrick said. “Less walk-in and more custom; more focused on our art.”

Tattoo artist Josh Kirkpatrick talks about his new shop, Duluth Tattoo Company
Tattoo artist Josh Kirkpatrick talks about his new shop, Duluth Tattoo Co.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

The artists at Duluth Tattoo Co. — Kirkpatrick, Gogins, Sydney Barnett, Josh Crotty and Jessica Crotty — each have their own style they specialize in, but mostly offer traditional, neotraditional and some Japanese-style tattoos. Gogins suggests people look at the artists’ social media accounts to view their portfolios, and then reach out individually to the artists to make appointments.

Kirkpatrick said appointments have filled up quickly, with clients coming from as far as the Twin Cities metro area and Canada for tattoos. Wait times for appointments vary from six weeks to six months.

“We’ve had a lot of new interest,” Kirkpatrick said. “The problem with new interest in a place where you can’t do walk-ins, is you can’t do walk-ins. So we’re trying to sneak some new people in here and there, but a lot of it is, we all have a broad clientele base here and in the (Twin) Cities. We have people come from the Cities every day.”

Kathleen Pasch came from Cambridge, Minnesota, to get tattooed by Gogins a week ago.

“He’s a close family friend, plus he does an awesome job,” Pasch said. “I totally trust him.”

Tattoo artist Mitch Gogins, left, works on Kathleen Pasch, of Cambridge, Minn., at Duluth Tattoo Company
Mitch Gogins, left, works on Kathleen Pasch, of Cambridge, Minn., at Duluth Tattoo Co.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Tattoo artist Josh Kirkpatrick gets his supplies ready before seeing a client at Duluth Tattoo Company
Tattoo artist Josh Kirkpatrick gets his supplies ready before seeing a client at Duluth Tattoo Co.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“We’ve seen in the last 10 years everything being pushed this way,” Kirkpatrick said of West Duluth. “I mean, look at Lincoln Park, 10 years ago and now — two totally different places. I highly suspect that’s going to continue to happen all the way out past Spirit (Valley), even. I think all of this in the next 10 years is going to be the ‘new Lincoln Park’ kind of thing. But we’ll see.”

Duluth Tattoo Co. is open 11 a.m to 6 p.m. by appointment only at 4504 Grand Ave., Suite 2.

Clients at Duluth Tattoo Company can wait under a large wall of flash
Clients at Duluth Tattoo Co. can wait under a large wall of flash art before heading back to get fresh ink.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Owned by a veteran from Poplar, the business will have room for up to four tattoo artists.

Studio movement

Gitchee Gumee Tattoo has reopened at a new location after the studio was displaced by a fire in October. The new shop opened earlier this month at 2421 London Road in Duluth.

Peach Tattoo is moving to Spirit Valley, with a tentative opening date in February. Elliot McAllister, Teresa Mahnke and Clover Kachinske told the News Tribune the new space is "substantially" larger than their shop on East Ninth Street. They're excited to be in more of a business district, which will be easier to access and close to other small businesses.

The new location at 325 N. Central Ave., the former home of the Dungeon's End store, will have space for six artist stations and potential for more future growth. Peach hopes to hire two new tattoo artists or piercers soon.

The board game and card game store operated in Spirit Valley for 12 years.

In addition to the location change, Peach Tattoo is transitioning to a worker-owned business model. Artists are independent business owners who receive all profits earned from their work directly.

"This new business model is something we’ve been working on since this fall, and we’re incredibly excited to create a positive and equitable business," McAllister, Mahnke and Kachinske said in an email. "We were inspired by Positively Third Street Bakery and wanted to build a work environment not typically seen in our industry. Resident artists will be offered a track to ownership. ... We believe that this business model puts the artists first, building trust and a positive environment. We strongly believe that we should not profit from each other’s work." 

Peach Tattoo is an appointment-only studio studio.

Laura Butterbrodt covers health for the Duluth News Tribune. She has a bachelor of arts in journalism from South Dakota State University and has been working as a reporter in Minnesota and South Dakota since 2014.
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