I'm so very happy I walked into Tower Classic Tattooing six months ago when Mo Malone was guesting and started a tattoo on my arm. She was called away and I returned to have Sean Baltzell continue the piece. Since then I've been back several times for other work and will never, ever go any place else.
The setting: I've written this before but it's needs repeating. Located in The Grove on Manchester (next to Atomic Cowboy) it's a Preservationists wet dream. The interior is elegant: exposed ceiling joist framing, Hoosier cabinets, dark wainscoting, and antique barber chairs. Very early 1900s complimented with exquisite taxidermy and Sean's stunning watercolor designs mounted and framed on the exposed brick wall.
The sensory aspect of TCT is compelling. The details of the shop resonate with a handcrafted tattoo: hand painted signs, framed tattoo designs by the staff on the walls, tattoo design appliqued pillows by Bruk Longbottom, and vintage taxidermy.
Thirsty? Handsome men bring cups of water. Uncomfortable on the table? A pillow was provided by Steve Welker the on site ass kicker who just may be a distant relative. My hands were cold and Sean graciously fetched my gloves.
Atmosphere: Being tattooed here provides an encounter with some of the most vibrant wits in STL. Very Algonquin Round Table. Seriously. It's like hanging out with Dorothy Parker (that would be Lauren B), Ring Lardner, and Franklin Pierce Adams. Not quite that literary but they are that funny.
Demeanor: As mentioned it's a witty crew. This needs to be stressed. Freaking hilarious. While working on my back Sean coached me on rhythmic breathing and relaxing. When I failed at both he threatened to put me out of my (and his no doubt) misery with a shotgun. I found that comforting. He's that considerate.
The entertainment value at TCT rivals Sean's talent which is off the noose and his curiosity reveals a dazzling intelligence. For example, he asked if my velvet jacket was the same material as my corduroy skirt. Both fabrics are brushed cotton so there is a similarity but what (straight) man notices and accesses? This is the critical vision I require to work with my ideas and design. It's precision tattooing with an extreme talent .
Talent: Perfection. I supply concept and imagery and Sean creates a fluid design. He likes to collaborate. I asked about the TCT business logo, the shop's interior design, the etched mirror. They're all collaborations. He's patient during the consultation and attentive to nuance. The symmetry he brought to the two different designs is balanced and poetic.
Thanks for gracing my legs and arms, Sean.
If you can't book with Sean there's loads of other talent at TCT. Walk in and meet Lauren B, Andy, Carlos Perez, and the very gracious Steve and John.
Friend them on FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tower-Classic-Tattooing/146226775448805 or take a tour here: