Beaver Tattoo, located in Woodhaven, New York, is an incredibly well rounded and versatile shop, but that’s not what gets customers talking. “A lot of people come in here, and it’s just us behind the counter, and they’re like, ‘so... where’s the guy,’ and I’m like, me! I am the guy,” owner and founder Natalia Borgia says. Eight years ago, Beaver opened up as an entirely female run operation to fill a void in the industry.
Filled to the ceiling with multi-colored murals, welcoming vibes, and even a preserved beaver fetus or two, Beaver Tattoo takes its name from a rather cheeky reference. “People ask us all the time, ‘so, do you guys just really like beavers or something,'” resident piercer Karla Munoz laughs. “I’m always like, nooo... try again…”
Opened in 2009, Borgia wanted to create an all female shop partially due to the environment it tends to harbor. “I’m not saying all the guys are prima donnas in the tattoo industry,” she says, “but at least the ones I worked with were.” Carmen Figueroa, a tattoo artist of three years who initially began her time as the shop apprentice, appreciates what each artist brings to the table. “I think that we all have our own approach to tattooing. So sometimes I’ll see them doing something really cool, and I’m like, ‘Oh man, I have to step up my game,” Figueroa explains. “It’s not so much about — I have to sabotage her, or tell her clients she’s not here. If she’s doing something cool, it makes me want to do something cool as well.”
Consisting of three tattoo artists and one piercer, Beaver Tattoo is both a custom and walk in shop, whose combined experience totals over 37 years. While there is no specific aesthetic to the overall work the shop does, they do tend to create more fine lined imagery.
The work that comes out of Beaver Tattoo is highly varied in style, with Erica Polanco taking the reigns for fine lined, realistic black and grey work. Owner Borgia’s style tends to be a bit more on the surrealist side, often incorporating tiny touches of color into idyllic scenes, and newcomer Figueroa leads the way with slightly more feminine and bright pieces.
More than anything, Borgia just wants her customers to feel welcome, “if a girl wants a more intimate place tattooed [or pierced] they usually prefer that a female artist does it.” But just because Beaver is an all female shop, doesn’t mean they don’t tattoo male clients as well, Borgia believes, however, that having an all female staff puts customers a bit more at ease.
The Nitty Gritty Details
Beaver Tattoo is located at 94-02 Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, Queens about a three minute walk from the Woodhaven J stop. Open Monday-Thursday from 1:00-9:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 1:00-11:00 p.m., Beaver offers both custom and walk in appointments, as well as special half price tattoos for pre-selected images the artists are particularly excited to make a part of their portfolio. To book an appointment, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 441-1328.