Brooklyn, New York is one of the most revered creative hotbeds in the world. Though the neighborhood has gone through a ton of changes recently, one constant in the community are the tattoo artists of Brooklyn Tattoo.
Nestled in this creative stronghold, shop owners, Adam Suerte and Willie Paredes are a throwback to a different era of Brooklyn and a different era of tattooing. They specialize in custom tattooing, and they want you to realize that they are serious about that label — custom tattooing. "A lot of places will give you 'custom work' but it kind of looks like what they do," Paredes says, "We really are about trying to give people what they want. As long as we are upholding the physical laws of the tattoo, its aging process, its legibility, and its sharpness and crispness over the years, we really want to give you want you want."
The shop, located on Smith St. on the edge of Cobble Hill, definitely doesn't have a typical tattoo shop vibe to it. You won't find flash art lining the walls, or overly tacky tattoo paraphernalia, but rather you feel like you're walking into a home. Plants and art line the walls, and the friendly staff is there to greet you when you walk in. It genuinely feels very homey, like it's a place you've known for years.
Once you head into the back, you get to see the nitty gritty of the shop. Brooklyn Tattoo prides itself on its clean environment and it shows. The tattooing areas are all spotless and ready for clients. In the meantime, you can find every artist working on sketches and drafts for their next designs.
Brooklyn Tattoo is home to many artists with a variety of different styles. Suerte considers his style illustrative with a graffiti influence, Robert Bonhomme does black and grey portraits and Japanese themed pieces, Jeff Ortega takes inspiration from cartoons and comic books, and they have many more artists in house. If you have a tattoo in mind, you're likely to find an artist who can do it at this shop. "No style left behind" is their motto, just come in with a general idea of what you'd like and you will most likely be able to get it done at Brooklyn Tattoo.
Plus, you'll be getting it done by artists with a passion for the art form. "Personally, I'm probably more into tattooing than I have been in my whole life," Paredes told me, "I just enjoy the process so much."
Their passion for the business is not only evident in their tattoos, but in all forms of art. The tattooers here have done work for galleries, graffiti, and co-owner of the shop Suerte even put out his own comic book series, Apprendiz, detailing his experience as a tattoo apprentice.
These artists have decades worth of experience behind them, and are dead-set on giving their clients exactly what they desire in a tattoo. Paredes sums it up best. "Becoming tattooers, from the school of the mid-'90s, it's very hard to not give somebody a truly custom piece when the opportunity comes along."
The Nitty Gritty Details
Brooklyn Tattoo is located at 279 Smith St. in Brooklyn, NY, just a few blocks away from the Bergen St. subway stop. If you're looking to get a truly custom piece, head on in. Walk-ins are more than welcomed and you can make an appointment by phone at 718-643-1610.