Woodland Park, NJ
I was recently contacted by former Physical Graffiti tattoo artist Geoff Horn because he just opened his own tattoo shop, Hole in the Sky Tattoo Parlor, in the goody-goody suburbs of Woodland Park, NJ. Not sure where Woodland Park is? Well, neither was I, but I soon found out that its right near West Paterson and Totowa by the Great Notch Reservoir. A quaint little town with a brand new tattoo parlor!
Entering this cozy and rustic looking tattoo shop off of Overmount Avenue in Woodland Park, I was greeted by eccentric owner and artist Geoff Horn, who was joined by the only other full-time artist Markjames Taggart. The reason why I say rustic is because Geoff has deer heads hanging on his wall. It’s something that you don’t see every day in a tattoo shop, and the only thing that seemed to be missing in this waiting room was a fireplace. In any case, I walked into an extremely neat, clean and comfortable shop with flash art paintings and photographs framed and meticulously hung on the crimson wall, as opposed to those gigantic wall portfolios that just waste wall space anyway. Seriously, nobody uses those things anymore since the Internet. I’ll tell you what, though. If the shop fails, which I doubt that it will, Geoff might have a future in interior design!
At the time of my visit, the shop had only been open for a week and a half, opening in early November. In addition to himself and 5-year artist Markjames, there are two part-timers, 15-year-veteran artist Yurgo Tasiopoulos and 10-year artist Charlie Bobonis. The shop has three open workstations where everyone can see each other get tattooed, and one private piercing room.
Though, he owns the shop, Geoff only has 7 years of experience as an artist, but he’s been in the industry for about 12 years, and his story is very interesting! Right out of college, he lost his job as a waiter and his roommate, who was a shop boy at Jinx Proof Tattoo in Montclair, NJ, was leaving his job as the shop boy and offered it to Geoff. He took on the job and stayed there for many years, where he learned how to pierce and tattoo, though, he claims, he was never an artist. He did use his time at the shop wisely, however, honing in on his new skills as an artist.
Two years into tattooing, Geoff was contacted by another artist in Portugal with whom he traded flash art, and the two began traveling and tattooing at big tattoo conventions around the world in the U.S., Portugal, Stockholm and the U.K. Bottom line was that Geoff Horn learned his art from some of the best tattoo artists around the world. This kid is worldly, which makes him a bit more interesting than some of the other artists I’ve interviewed, who only learned from other artists in the U.S. I was really impressed with Geoff’s drive and experience in such a short time as a tattoo artist, and his work certainly speaks volumes!
Back to the shop, I asked Geoff what would draw a brand new customer like me into his shop, and he told me that what he set out to do was create a shop that was totally different than any shop in the area as far as the look and the overall feeling. Geoff has heard plenty of tattoo shop horror stories, and he stated that he’s basically known everyone that he has working in Hole In the Sky Tattoo for years now and he trusts them to be nice, courteous and talented artists.
When I asked Geoff if the location of his shop bothered him at all, he told me that he felt it was a ‘double-edged sword.’ Since they are not on a busy road, they don’t get the constant foot traffic that they would normally get on a main drag, but of the people who are coming in, he says, “You know are people who are looking for you specifically.” And fortunately for Geoff and Mark, they already have a decent sized clientele. In the opening week there were a few walk-ins who came by just out of pure curiosity, but he feels that once he starts advertising there should be more traffic.
Hole in the Sky Tattoo is a mainly custom shop. Geoff says that the flash art in the studio is basically for ideas and that all of his artists prefer to draw everything out. As for sterilization, all of the machines in the shop are autoclaved, and for the most part, all of the artists in the shop use disposable needles and tubes. When I asked him about age, he gave me the standard answer of 18-years-old to tattoo and piercing is 15-years-old with parental consent. The prices at Hole in the Sky Tattoo are comparable to most shops in New Jersey. Geoff told me that at the present moment their hourly rate is $130 per hour, especially for big work, but if it’s something small that can be done in one sitting, he’ll just charge a smaller flat rate.
So, now if you’d like to check out Hole in the Sky Tattoo Parlor for yourself, the shop is located at 271 Overmount Avenue. Walk-ins are always welcome, especially if they’re coming in for something small, but he prefers to have some time to draw something out, in which case an appointment would be needed. You can also call the shop at (973) 558 – 3312 for more information or you can check out their website, holeintheskytattoos.com or you can take a look at the shop’s Facebook page, which has everyone’s artwork on it, at facebook.com/holeintheskytattooparlor. There is so much more to tell you about Geoff and his new shop, but so little space to write it, which means you’ll just have to get your asses over to Hole in the Sky Tattoo Parlor in Woodland Park, NJ, to hear Geoff Horn tell you himself!
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please email me the name of the place and for whom I should ask at firstname.lastname@example.org.