I know that I promised a Jersey shop this month, but on a recent trip into Brooklyn, I came across a place that I don’t think I’ve seen before, but apparently, they’ve been there since 2010. The shop was called Brooklyn Tattoo, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with this establishment. It was cleaner than any shop that I’ve seen before, was spacious, and most importantly, everyone who worked there was super friendly. I didn’t know it at the time when I walked in to take a look at the shop, but I was greeted by one of the owners, Adam Suerte, who I thought was just an artist at the time because he was in the middle of drawing up artwork for a client. Adam was extremely friendly and accommodating. I didn’t tell him that I wrote for The Aquarian because I wanted to be treated like a prospective client, but I did hit the record button on my iPhone and bombarded him with a ton of questions about the place.
So, apparently, Adam opened Brooklyn Tattoo with his partner, Willie Paradese, back in 2010, but this wasn’t the first Brooklyn shop owned by these native Brooklynites. They also owned Studio Dep, which they opened back in 2002, but moved three times in a span of eight years. They are also members of All Souls Tattooing. Adam told me he graduated from the Music and Art High School in Harlem and the Rhode Island School of Design, and after graduating, founded the artist collective Urban Folk Art Studios in Brooklyn. He did his apprenticeship in the late ‘90s and the rest, as they say, is history. In his spare time, Adam paints murals, makes comics, and teaches art to children. Basically, he is a true artist. He told me that ever since he opened his first shop back in 2002 with Willie, they would host art openings and galleries at their studio for local artists to showcase their skills. If anyone knows Brooklyn like I know Brooklyn, it is filled with some of the best artists this side of the U.S. has to offer.
I did meet Adam’s partner, Willie, who I later found out was a fellow bass player for NYC bands Pagoda and Activator. Aside from being a musician, Willie has been Adam’s partner from the beginning and has been tattooing for 11 years. Willie and Adam surround themselves with five of the best tattoo artists NYC has to offer in Myke Maldonado, who started off as a comic book artist, Robert Bonhomme, who specializes in black and grey and portraits, Patricia Mazza, a Queens girl who opened her own shop in St. John back in 2007, Jeff Ortega, who comes in on occasion, and Guido Baldini, who also tattoos in New Mexico and Italy, as well as Brooklyn Tattoo.
When I asked Adam what would make me want to come to their shop for a tattoo, he told me that if I’m looking for custom artwork, they run a custom shop that is sterile, friendly and focuses on being artistic. As dedicated artists, their work reflects a more personal artistic direction while still adhering to the traditional tattoo ideals. He went on to say that they are only interested and invested in making their client’s tattoo personal and original. They also strive to make a customer’s whole tattoo experience a comfortable and enjoyable one.
When I questioned his prices, he told me that they were comparable to other shops in the area. They don’t charge by the hour because they don’t feel tattoos should be rushed. They don’t mind giving prospective customers general prices over the phone, but they encourage anyone interested in their work to come into the shop for a no-obligation consultation and speak with them in person. If there is a specific tattooer the client wants to speak to, Willie suggested that they should always call first to find out the weekly schedule of each artist, since their schedules vary. They both agreed that appointments are, of course, preferred, but they’ll never turn down a walk-in.
After walking out of Brooklyn Tattoo, I felt like jumping into one of their chairs for a new tat. The place was immaculate and comfortable. It also helped that Adam and Willie were very knowledgeable about the tattoo industry and art itself. I think I would trust them with my next tattoo! If you’re in Brooklyn and would like to at least check out the shop, they are located at 99 Smith Street. You can take a look at their artwork at brooklyntattoo.com. If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of the artists, call them at (718) 643-1610. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. till 9 p.m. You seriously need to check this place out.
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 e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at firstname.lastname@example.org.