A little bird told me about this little tattoo shop in Boonton, NJ, called Electric Lotus Tattoo. So, I did my research and checked the place out. Electric Lotus Tattoo is located at 912Main St. in Boonton, NJ, and is owned by a husband and wife team, Jae and Bridget Connor. I got to meet with Jae because his wife Bridget also runs the Lotus Boutique, a women’s clothing store a couple of doors down. Jae was just this laid back dude, who was covered in tattoos himself, in what seemed to be a pretty clean working environment, which is always a great impression when walking into a tattoo shop. Jae, who’s been tattooing for 15 years, opened Electric Lotus Tattoo back in December of 2000. In fact, he said that actually got the keys to the shop on Halloween and it took him about a month to get the shop ready for business. Jae is one of two full-time artists on staff. Don Perdue is the other staff artist, with almost 10 years of experience, while Danielle Thoma and Jae’s wife Bridget handle the piercing that needs to be done on premise. Jae also told me that he recently took on his very first apprentice and his name is Brian Marsman, another laid back kid who has the itch to ink.
When I asked Jae about apprenticeships, he told me that he’s had tons of people come up to him through the years and say that they wanted to apprentice with him, but he was very picky. He says most apprenticeships are found within a 15 mile radius from where the person lives, they would pay like $8,000 just to apprentice for about six months and then they would be let loose to tattoo, but what do these apprentices really learn besides the basics? Jae says that he’d rather have someone apprentice for about a year before he lets them loose. He’s had Brian Marsman apprenticing since June, and he’s been taught everything from how a needle works to the inks, the blood, and how to clean the needles before he even touches a machine. Well, Jae has Brian ready to tattoo his first customer this coming April. He still feels that Brian will need some fine-tuning before he lets him loose, but then again, he still has two more months to fine-tune him before his one year anniversary.
When I asked Jae what would draw a customer who’s looking to get ink done into his shop, his answer was, “the quality of the work” would draw customers back first and foremost. Electric Lotus Tattoo specializes in bold, really clean, and really colorful tattooing. I will attest to that! I was really impressed with how the colors in a lot of Jae’s artwork really popped. Anyway, Electric Lotus is mostly a custom shop. Notice how I said “mostly”! Jae told me that only 75 percent of his work is custom. He very rarely does “Flash” tattoos, but customers bring in stuff that they’ve downloaded or had drawn themselves. Jae says that it’s very rare that he turns away any work unless it’s really offensive or something that just won’t look good once your skin ages. For instance, he recently turned away a girl who asked him to write a paragraph on her ribs. He thought that it was a horrible idea and refused the work.
Jae says that most of his clientele is word of mouth customers or returning customers. He’s even had three generations of customers walk through his doors, meaning grandfather, father and son. He’s even had grandmother, mother and daughter a few times. Jae also said that as far as age demographic goes, the shop tattoos as young as 16 years old (with an adult accompanying them or adult consent) to as old as 80 years old. He told me that he once had an 80-year-old woman come in and get her first tattoo on her back shoulder of a blue bird. Now, that’s a rockin’ Granny!
When I asked Jae about prices, he told me that he charges by the size of the piece or the piece itself because he couldn’t charge by the hour like most shops do simply because he works too fast. He does great work at lightning speed. The shop does take walk-ins, which Don handles for the most part. If you wanted to get pierced, Danielle can handle that for roughly $35 per piercing, and that doesn’t count the jewelry.
Jae was excited to tell me about a recent art show that he held at Electric Lotus. It wasn’t just any art show. All art pieces sold by the artists donated 50 percent of their earnings to Eleventh Hour Rescue, a volunteer based organization dedicated to saving dogs from death row, and fostering them, while finding them permanent homes. The art show was called “Art For Animals Sake,” and Jae plans on making this an annual event. He and his crew raised $1,300 for the organization with some artists donating all of their earnings instead of half to the organization. For more info on Eleventh Hour Rescue, log on to ehrdogs.org
So, once again, I got to meet some really cool and laid back tattoo artists with a great tattoo shop! The shop was extremely clean, and not too intimidating to walk into. It was more like a friendly environment. If you know what kind of tattoo you want and you did your research, then Electric Lotus Tattoo is the place for you. Again, it’s located at 912 Main St. in Boonton, NJ. If you want to check the shop out online, then log on to electriclotustattoo.com or go to their myspace page at myspace.com/electriclotustattoo, where you can also leave Jae a message if you want to get tattooed by him. Otherwise, if you wish to make an appointment, you can call 973-402-2777.
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo place!