Well, I was supposed to interview SallyAnn Salsano, executive producer for the show Tattoo Nightmares, for this month’s issue, but since we couldn’t connect, I’ll work on having her interview for next month’s issue of Inked Out. She has a ton of great things and new shows happening in regards to the tattoo community that she’d like you all to know about. So, I’ll work on getting that to you next month.
This issue, however, I wanted to share with you a cool tattoo shop in Dover, Delaware. Once again, we happened to be driving through Dover and I saw the words “Tattoo” and “Mafia” on a sign, and as luck would have it, those are my favorite words in the English language. I’m not even joking. I love tattoos and for some reason, I’ve always found myself intrigued by the Mafia. Maybe I was knocked off in my previous life. Who knows?
Anyway, the name of the shop was Tattoo Mafia. So, we quickly pulled in to check the place out. We walked into a shop with puke green and really light red walls and a black and white checkerboard ceiling. I loved it already! We were in the waiting room with couches on both sides of us and hardwood floors below us. In front of us was a reception desk with all Tattoo Mafia merch in a glass casing. Behind the desk were open tattoo rooms where all the magic happened. I soon learned that Tattoo Mafia was a family-owned shop run by a husband and wife team of artists Chris and Lisa DeLauder. In fact, they were the only artists in the shop (on this day, at least). Fortunately for us, the shop wasn’t too busy, so we had their full attention.
Tattoo Mafia opened its doors back in 2004. The establishment that we walked into was their new place. They just moved into this bigger location. Chris and Lisa said that their goal was to just provide their clients with “the cleanest and friendliest studio around.” From the looks of it, if I were a client, I would have to say that they’ve succeeded. Lisa told us that she, Chris and any other tattoo artists that walk in are certified in bloodborne pathogens and the prevention of disease transmission. It’s always good to hear that when you walk into a tattoo shop for the first time. Chris explained that since they’re the owners and artists, they’re actually in the unique position of being personally involved and responsible in every aspect of their work. Their shop is mainly a custom one and can handle large custom tattoo pieces, color, black and gray, realism, traditional and new school.
Chris comes from a family of artists, but he didn’t start tattooing until 1995. He claims to love working on serious tattoo collectors who are looking for an artist who has the experience in covering large areas of the body. Most of his clients sit in six- to eight-hour sessions with him at a time. That’s when he’s able to take their ideas and turn their body into a work of art. That’s definitely what you want in a tattoo artist. Trust me!
Chris’ wife, Lisa, has been in the industry since 2001. She too comes from a family of artists and loves working on clients for six to eight hours at a clip. Lisa likes realism in tattoos and likes doing portraits. She also finds enhancements and cover-ups of unwanted tattoos and scars a challenging and very rewarding part of being a tattoo artist.
They encourage future clients to bring their own designs because these are two artists who love to draw and love to rework designs to the customer’s liking. When I asked about pricing, they told me that for smaller tattoo work, their minimum was $100. For larger pieces, they would charge an hourly rate of around $125 to $150 per hour. It all depends on the complexity of the tattoo that will determine how much they will charge per hour. For example, if they had to do a tattoo cover-up, an estimate can be given after the artwork is complete and the estimate is usually given based on the assumption that the client has the ability to sit still and complete their appointment without taking any breaks. Location of where the client wants their tattoo place may also change the cost. They do urge future clientele to physically come into the shop for an accurate estimate, though.
Scheduling an appointment at Tattoo Mafia is simple, too. Chris and Lisa would need artwork or at least a rough sketch ahead of time. They will also need to know the placement, the size and color of the tattoo. Their estimates are mainly based on the time it takes to finish the tattoo. Once the appointment is scheduled, each client is required to pay a deposit of half of their total estimate or they may schedule time with a minimum of $60 down, which will be deducted from their total the day of their appointment. Like most shops, cancellations require a 48-hour notice before the day of any scheduled appointment taking four hours or less. You have to give one week’s advance notice before the day scheduled for any appointment taking four hours or longer. Failing to give any notice will result in the loss of your deposit. That’s pretty standard with most shops.
When I asked about ages, they both quickly said, “No kids allowed in here!” They said that they do have rules in the shop and they are simple to follow. No children, no animals—no exceptions! They will not tattoo anyone under the age of 18 and everyone must show a valid ID. They will also not tattoo anyone whom they think might be under the influence. Best of all, they said, no cell phones allowed in their shop. It’s too much of a distraction!
Personally, I fell in love with this place the minute I walked in, and Chris and Lisa were awesome people. If you’re in Dover, Delaware, you need to check this place out! Unfortunately, they don’t have store hours because all of their work is done by appointments only. Chris and Lisa can’t take on new clients at the moment, but urge new clients to place themselves on their waiting list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They do ask that you come in for a consultation anytime, however. You can visit them at 470 N. Dupont Highway in Dover. You can also call them at (302) 730-3022 or visit them at tattoomafia.net.
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 email@example.com.