Overlooking the busy corner of Broadway and Canal, Sacred Tattoo stands out as a stronghold of creativity at the dividing line between SOHO and Chinatown. Half the walls of the high-ceilinged, 4,000 square foot loft are covered in silvery ornamental wallpaper, while the rest feature visual art, ranging from originals by Vincent Castiglia to a mural of Rocky and Bullwinkle, giving Sacred an atmosphere unlike any other shop in NYC. It’s the kind of parlor that you can breath in, with plenty of seating and wide expanses of well-worn hardwood floors to pace while waiting to start your next tattoo. “We like to think of our shop as post-industrial Victorian chic,” says Kevin Wilson, the shop’s current owner. “Over the last 27 years of business, Sacred has developed a diverse group of artists to offer the client exactly he or she is looking for.”
Originally opened by Wes Wood — founder of Unimax Supply Co., a giant in the tattoo supplies industry — Sacred has gone through several incarnations leading up to becoming the incredible shop that it is today. As of now, the location is currently home to a team of seven full-time tattooists who dabble on the finer side of the arts. Glance into any of their private work stations, and you’ll see excellent paintings and other original work. They're all veteran tattooists and visual artists and exercise a wide range of styles due to their diverse backgrounds. Collectively, the team delivers on everything from traditional, neo-traditional, Japanese, photo-realism, bio-organic, to new school. They regularly have guest artists as well, making it perhaps the most stylistically versatile parlor in the entire city.
One of Sacred’s strongest suits is black and grey realism. Several of the resident artists excel at this style — Gunny, Rods Jimenez, and Andy Bautista. Whether you’re after some celebrity portraiture, statuesque religious imagery, or even something a little more horrifying, these artists will render it in shockingly lifelike detail.
Camila Rocha’s and Needles’ tremendous large-scale Irezumi will leave any viewer awe-stricken. Their bodysuits featuring fearsome figures like hannyas, dragons, and deities are some of the most impressive pieces that come out of the shop.
Sheena is Sacred’s resident neo-traditionalist. Her tattoos — with their smooth color palettes and rich detail — look more like paintings than body art. Also, if you desire a tattoo with some serious sex appeal, some of her custom designs are kinky as can be.
Alisha Gory is definitely the artist to see if you are interested in blackwork tattoos. She apprenticed at the shop, and the quality of her work speaks volumes about the training that she received. She creates beautiful, dark imagery that will likely take your breath away.
Aside from the realistic pieces that he does, Jon Clue brings both bio-organic and space tattoos to the table at Sacred. He has made a name for himself over the years by turning people into aliens and creating mind-blowing large-scale scenes of the cosmos.
The Nitty Gritty Details
Sacred is located at 424 Broadway up on the 2nd floor and is open Monday-Sunday from 12-7pm. The artists there are frequently booked, so consider making an appointment in advance, but they do offer walk-ins, so if you want to just swing by in-person, consider showing up pretty early. They like it you bring reference materials on which to have your tattooed design. They only offer custom work, no pre-made flash. The shop is easily reached via public transit; the Canal stop on the N,R, and Q lines is directly across the street. For general questions or to book an appointment, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to check out more of the work that Sacred’s team has put out recently, hit up the shop’s Instagram or website and see if it inspires your next tattoo.