Woodstock Tattoo Shop Provides Outlet for Aspiring Artist

Local tattoo shop provides a place for aspiring artist to learn about the industry and the art of tattooing under industry professionals.

By AUSTIN MCMILLAN

WOODSTOCK, Ga. — “It’s something I wanted to do when I was little,” said Bryson Kanouse, a tattoo artist at Straight Edge Tattoo.

Kanouse both gave and received his tattoo at 9 years old. After seeing some artists and their work, Kanouse decided to sneak away to his room and give himself his first tattoo: a ‘b’ and a ‘l’ on his ankle.

first tattoo
Bryson Kanouse shows off his first tattoo that he got at the age of 9. Photo by Austin McMillan

Straight Edge Tattoo is a body art and piercing shop located off Highway 92 in Woodstock.. Owner Nic Borgwat opened the shop in 2015 as a family investment. Borgwat had worked as a tattoo artist for five years before he started his own shop. David Mosher, another artist at the shop, said Borgwat stays booked compared to all the other artists in the shop.

Apprenticeships

Along with tattooing and piercing, Borgwat and Straight Edge Tattoo provide services to aspiring tattoo artists as well. They do this through an apprenticeship program. Kanouse and Mosher both went through the program and are now working as artists for the shop.

“Industry standard is to go through an apprenticeship,” said Mosher, who started his apprenticeship last year and finished in July. Mosher said the apprenticeship is a full-time job in which you work under an artist at the shop. The apprentices learn a lot about the industry, the care, and, of course, the art behind tattooing, but they do not get paid.

“You work for free for as long as it takes,” said Kanouse who started his apprenticeship in January of this year and has since started tattooing.

“It was intimidating for sure,” said Kanouse about his first client.

client work
Nathan Hienrich works on a client’s foot tattoo. Photo by Austin McMillan

“Everyone cares about what they’re doing and the art they are putting on them,” said Kanouse, “Here we are one of the shops that care about what we are putting on someone.”

The Art of The Tattoo

Kanouse said a typical day at the shop will have even numbers of both walk-ins and appointments. The artists in the shop will take walk-ins every day if they are available.

Kanouse and Moshersaid all the artists at the shop are very versatile and can produce art in many different styles, but they also have their favorites.

“I prefer doing abstract geometric design,” said Mosher. Borgwat prefers to work on black and grey portraits.

Stumbling Blocks for Shops

“If we had the opportunity to do the ones we wanted to do we would,” said Borgwat. But for financial reasons, they must take on other pieces as well.

nic borgwart
Straight Edge owner Nic Borgwat works on a flower design for a client. Photo by Austin McMillan

Borgwat said he had a lot of stumbling blocks to navigate when trying to open his shop in Woodstock. Along with getting the name out, Borgwat had to deal with zoning issues and finding a location with less competition. He said the zoning that allows for tattoos,  pawn shops, and massage parlors is very narrow, and they found a spot that not only doesn’t have any other tattoo shops, but also has a large amount of traffic.

“Forty to 50 thousand cars drive past every day,” said Borgwat. The shop is in a small shopping center next to both a pawn shop and a massage parlor.

Price and Quality

Straight Edge Tattoo primarily uses the brand Envy for its needles and ink.  Kanouse said the artists sometimes order other types of ink because some colors look better when done by other brands.

For the most part, the shop is very traditional. Kanouse  said what they used to tattoo now is like what they used to 20 years ago.

“What people have grown to be able to do (with the equipment) is remarkable,” said Kanouse. When it comes to the price of the tattoo, they try to be fair.

“Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos typically aren’t good,” said Borgwat.

There is no set rate when it comes to getting a tattoo at Straight Edge. The artist will determine the amount of time, work, and supplies the tattoo is going to take and then set a price point on the specific tattoo, Bergwat said.

“We try not to do by the hour,” said Borgwat.

New Clients

            Straight Edge Tattoo is filled with art.  When the shop first opened, he filled the walls with consignment art because it was affordable. As the shop started to make more money, Borgwat and other artists started putting art they bought up on the walls and started paying artists from consignment for their art.

“We get a lot of first-time tattoo clients,” said Borgwat. They try to make the store easy to approach and as welcoming as possible to ease the clients when getting their first tattoo.

 

 

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