A walk down any of the major streets downtown, especially on a humid, slightly foggy day, will make you feel like you’ve entered a period drama. Spanish moss hangs from almost every tree, and early century brownstones lean in close to wooden signage and historic ironwrought fire escapes. Savannah, Georgia is known for its haunting beauty. It’s also an open container city, so that mystical feeling might just be that Bloody Mary in your hand.
Along one of the biggest thruways, within eyeshot of the waterfront, is Anonymous Tattoo. Their entrance is directly across from a huge “Historic District” sign, which is appropriate, given their entryway is classically hand-painted. You enter, only to be led up a winding, impeccably tidy and gorgeously painted stairway. Huge red arrows curl around the walls — it feels like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. Or up the rabbit hole, rather.
The shop itself is super bright. They have a skylight, and huge windows that overlook the street, and walls that seem endless. Every single detail seems cared for, from the framed flash covering the walls to the open floor design. It’s welcoming, dazzling, and speaks to the hugely talented roster they have.
Tattooing was illegal in the big cities closest to Savannah for a while, so folks would travel from Jacksonville and Charleston to get tattooed. As the industry legalized across the United States, more shops started popping up throughout the south, but every single artist at Anonymous finds this growth great for the community at large. Mutual respect abounds.
“Nowadays, [when other artists respect you] that’s more important to me than anything else. That’s like being part of the brotherhood of tattooing,” says resident artist Clay McCay. “Everybody can have an Instagram account nowadays and be all over the internet, you know, but it’s something when you’re in with the people that have been doing it for a long time. People that you respect respect you, you know?”
Dean Denney feels the same way about his co-artists. “I’m lucky to work here. Especially Zack and Clay, they’ve been huge, huge [influences]. They basically gave me a second apprenticeship when I got here. And constantly, on a daily basis, they’re two of the biggest people that have influenced my tattooing. I’m lucky to be working with them.”
There’s something for everyone at Anonymous. The shop highlights five talented tattooists — Ricky McGee, Clay, Zack Spurlock, and Dean. You could go to Clay for a weirdo interpretation of a ladyhead, to Zack for a fantastic Japanese demon, Dean for a classic eagle, Ricky for some wild geometric, or Chris for a tight dagger.