New York's Daredevil Tattoo has come a long way since setting up shop in 1997, when tattooing was first legalized in New York City. It was a victorious time for shops across the city to finally be able to operate and have tattoo artists practice their chosen trade freely without the fear of prosecution.
Since then, Daredevil Tattoo has been taking walk-ins in the same shop located at Division Street, Chinatown, NYC. Michelle Myles co-owns the shop as the lady boss who helps keep Daredevil running. And did we mention that it's also the home of the Museum of Tattoo History?
Michelle has been tattooing for nineteen years — back when tattooing could land you in jail, opening her shop a few blocks away from where modern tattooing was supposed to be invented. So if you happen to be in the city and not up for another tattoo at the moment, you can always come by for some ink history fill.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for Michelle, despite being the badass woman that she is. In the 90's, it was still a tough time for anybody to find a decent apprenticeship. Not surprisingly, she got her first tattoo at 17. Only she got it in Texas. It was a tiny black cat which she says looks more like a blur nowadays.
Michelle also met her husband through — you guessed it – tattoos. ‘He wanted a Statue of Liberty pinup girl, so I drew her up and gave her blonde hair, and when I showed him the drawing, I said, “You like blondes, right?” He couldn't even look at me, he was blushing like crazy,’ she said.
‘Later he said he didn't want to ask me out until after he got his tattoo so he was very surprised when I hit on him. We went out, got married six years later, and have been together 15 years this year.’ Talk about one cute tattoo love story.
Quite the humble artist with a principle, Michelle admitted that she never keeps her art work on her walls, let alone a tattoo she had done on her skin. What can I say, she's driven by the desire to create something new for others.
Finally, she named her co-owner, Brad Fink, her mother, and her husband as the top three people who influenced her the most, each sharing compassion and knowledge to her that she's never received from anybody else. The kind of things every artist needs to keep them going.