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.
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.”
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.
The Nitty Gritty Details