I happened to be in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn visiting a friend when I came across this great little shop called Three Kings Tattoo. So, I dipped in really quick to check it out and it was a pretty nice looking shop. The dark green walls were adorned with frames of traditional flash art. I’m going to have to be honest, I was really late meeting up with my friend, so I was in this shop really quick. I looked around, asked a few questions about the shop and their policies and got the rest of my information about the shop online, so bear with me on this one. I didn’t expect to find such a cool looking tattoo shop in Greenpoint, but apparently Three Kings Tattoo seems to find its way onto every “Best Tattoo Shop in NYC” list that ever comes out. It seemed to me that I was in “the” shop when it came to tattooing in Brooklyn.
So, Three Kings Tattoo was opened in 2008 by co-founders and artists, Matt Marcus and Alex McWatt, whom I did not get a chance to meet because Matt was busy with a client and Alex was at the Manhattan studio. Yes, Three Kings became such a hot spot for tattooing that they branched out to Manhattan’s East Village. A little about owner Matt Marcus; he’s been tattooing in New York City and Brooklyn his entire career. Matt specializes in American Traditional inspired tattoos, but also loves working on Japanese, black and grey, tribal, and cover-ups. He’s become so popular as a tattoo artist that they even created a character for him in Grand Theft Auto IV. He’s also been on the TV series Oddities, as well as various other film and television appearances. His work has appeared in various books and publications including book covers for Simon and Schuster. Matt is also a huge advocate of tattoo education, and has written several articles, done interviews, and wrote essays for various media sources. He currently rotates his time between Three Kings and Three Kings Manhattan.
Matt’s partner in crime, Alex McWatt, had become one of the most sought after artists for commercial projects like EA’s top-selling video game Rock Band and Calvin Klein’s lifestyle brand CK One. His paintings and illustrations have been exhibited in galleries and shows from New York all the way to Milan. Alex is said to truly be a “jack of all trades.” He can handle any tattoo idea and loves working with any style. Apparently, you can always tell an Alex McWatt tattoo because he always puts his own special touch into it. He, too, rotates his time between both shops.
The funny thing about the name of the shop is that since it’s called Three Kings Tattoo, you would expect there to be three artists in the shop. Sorry, there are 15 permanent artists in this Brooklyn shop and a few part-timers. Sounds like a crowded shop, but it’s not. It’s two floors and with 15 tattoo artists in house, every style is covered. If you can’t find someone who can do your custom tattoo here, chances are that person might not exist. Plus, having that large of a crew allows owner Matt Marcus to take on walk-ins when he’s available.
I was talking to the person at the reception desk at the front of the shop and they told me the shop uses a couple of iPads to break down different styles that can be done in the shop, as well as portfolios for customers to look through. As you can see, Three Kings takes their consultations pretty seriously. Joining Matt at the Greenpoint shop are JK5, Myles Karr, Adam Machin, Jason Monroe, Mat Moreno, Kal Morrison, Nik Lopez De Quintana, Gustavo Rizerio, Amy Shapiro, and Tron. Over at the Manhattan shop with Alex is Dave Ball, Nash Hogan, Sergio Luis Mesa, Richard Smith, Daniel Trocchio, and Caz Williamson. I told you, there’s a big staff in this place.
From my perspective, the shop was pretty clean. When I asked about walk-ins as opposed to appointments, I was told that walk-ins are welcome every day. As for appointments, no appointments will be made over the phone. All appointments are made at the shop with a $100 deposit requirement that is non-refundable. The deposit holds the appointment time and is taken off of the price of the final tattoo session. If a rescheduling is needed, the shop requires a 48-hour notice to move your deposit to a new appointment date. Rescheduling is only allowed to happen one time. After that, the deposit is forfeited and a new appointment will be needed. According to the Three Kings website, “This may seem a little harsh, but getting a tattoo is a time-consuming process (especially for a larger tattoo). We simply want to make sure you are fully committed before we spend time on research and drawing for your tattoo.” I couldn’t agree more!
When I asked about age restrictions, I was told that the state of New York requires you to be 18 years of age and have proper, government-issued ID to get tattooed. The shop is open seven days a week from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m. There are no piercings at this shop; they are all tattoos. Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn is located at 572 Manhattan Avenue (718) 349-7755. Their East Village shop is located at 181 Avenue B (212) 505-8287. For more information, you can call either shop or check out their website at threekingstattoo.com. After stopping in, I can see now why this shop keeps landing in the “Best of NYC” lists. Check this place out if you’re in the BK.
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.