Of Saved Tattoo
Maybe it’s the exposed brick, or the giant oil painting of Jesus, or any of the other hodgepodge of canvases covering the walls, but Saved feels more like an artist’s studio than a point of purchase. Stephanie Tamez is rounding out her first year as co-owner of the tattoo shop, one of the most esteemed in the country. Even if it wasn’t smack in the middle of ink-liberal Williamsburg, or if founder Scott Campbell hadn’t become a household name (as much as a tattoo artist can be, anyway) with a client list that includes Marc Jacobs, Kanye West and Courtney Love, its waitlist would be swelling. “This shop is known for being—I wouldn’t say slower paced—but I would say it’s more art oriented, where everyone’s got their niche and their following,” Tamez says, noting the growing need to turn down appointments as requests rise, in no small part to the tattoo ad reel that is Instagram. “It’s doubled our workload,” she laughs.
Feats of circus-worthy juggling allow her to balance the shop’s daily operations with hiring new resident artists (they’re up to nine) and teaching a tattoo design class at the School of Visual Arts without interfering with what she cares so much about: being inspired by the city, exchanging ideas, and collaborating with clients. (On the day we visit, she’s scheduled only one in order to offer her undivided attention.) “A big reason I left commercial art and was drawn to [tattooing] was that I only wanted to make one person at a time happy with the skills that I’ve learned, not a committee of graphic designers or people at a board meeting,” she says. “While it is still that”— customer-request driven—“it’s also a hugely intimate and creative process of art that is different than anything else.”