Before a gig one night with my band Hostel Inc. in downtown Manhattan, my girlfriend and I decided to take a walk around Alphabet City, which is near the venue we were playing at. During our walk, we stumbled across a pretty rugged looking tattoo shop on the corner of Avenue A and 13th Street, and since she and I are obsessed with tattoos, we decided to pop in to check the place out. We were greeted by a busy but hospitable staff of artists, whose chairs were all filled. The name of this establishment is Inkstop Tattoo. A popular shop, Inkstop Tattoo is frequented by tattoo enthusiasts from all walks of life. Owner/artist Eric Rignall opened the shop a couple of years after the tattoo ban in New York City was lifted back in 1997.
A little background on the owner, Eric Rignall: He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art with a Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration, did a two year apprenticeship with Joel Furman at Tattoo 46, and then tattooed underground for a couple of years until he was able to open Inkstop Tattoo in 2000. Eric’s work speaks for itself! He says that he likes to do fineline tattoos as real, as clean, and as dimensional as possible. Eric also claims that the most important thing is exceeding the customer’s expectations and having them walk out not only with good body artwork, but also with a positive experience. After speaking to a few of the customers, it seems that Eric and staff are accomplishing his goal.
With Eric’s experience in the business it would only be appropriate for him to surround himself by only the best staff of artists, and as luck would have it, they’re all native New Yorkers! Artist Nalla Smith moved to San Francisco from NYC in 1989 where he would start tattooing at a shop called Erno Tattoo. It wasn’t until 1993 when Nalla was stolen from Erno Tattoo to work for the legendary Ed Hardy at his shop Tattoo City. Nalla would buy a shop in NYC in 1996 called East Side Inc. while he was still working for Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City. Finally, he would move back to NYC in 1998 to run East Side Inc. full time. Nalla joined the staff at Inkstop in 2007.