Tattoos stay with you forever, so think before you ink.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Think before you ink” then you’ve probably at some point in your life contemplated getting a tattoo. When you’re 16 – 17, getting a tattoo probably wasn’t something you’d think too hard about. In fact just the sheer amount of street cred would have been enough to lure you into a 30 year old ex-con’s house to get poked full of holes with a needle that was attached to the motor of what used to be a walkman, not to mention the gross amount of people that needle has been in.
“Think Before You Ink” just so happens to be the name of a tattoo shop out in Queens, New York – set up by tattoo artist Richie “Made Rich” Parker. I heard that Richie was about to make a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia sometime in June and decided to ask my boys at the office to patch me through so I could tell him what each of my tattoos meant (If you don’t know me yet, I’m huge on tattoos and I think the fairy on my hip and butterfly on my lower back prove it). But for real, Richie’s style of tattoo’s were really my thing – all those black and grey iconic religious motifs really got me and I just had to speak to him.
The artist and the path.
I asked Richie what made him want to become a tattoo artist and I think like a lot of people – he too kinda stumbled upon the path. A young man, chasing his college football dreams, Richie went to a military prep school – no girls, no phones, in the middle of friggin nowhere – and all he had was his sketchbook. He says he has probably sketched more in that sketchbook in those 6 months than he has ever in his entire life. So much so that a teammate there asked Richie to design a tattoo for him and then another friend bought a design off him for $40 when he went home. Later finding out that his friend paid $350 to get the tattoo done, Richie decided he was going to learn to tattoo. In his own words – “Because that $350 was supposed to be mine!”
At some tattoo party, Richie’s mentor Vill discovered him through that same sketchbook and gave him the knowledge he needed to become a tattoo artist. Tattooing out of his girlfriend’s crib, to tattooing out of his college dorm room, right up to Think Before You Ink.
By Arthur Loh