Inked Out: Dark Child Tattoo

DARK CHILD TATTOO—Port Jefferson Station, NY

I was visiting some family in Long Island during Labor Day weekend when we happened to drive through Port Jefferson Station. This was when my eyes focused on a sign that read ‘Tattoo.’ Always willing to oblige my obsessions, my lady friend suggested that we stop to see if they were open and take a look inside. So, I turned the car around and pulled up to Dark Child Tattoo.

To my surprise, this small, but clean tattoo shop was indeed open for business on the holiday weekend. Caryn Padilla, co-owner of Dark Child Tattoo, greeted us. In fact, Dark Child Tattoo is a family owned operation that’s been open for 18 years now. Caryn’s partner in the business is her hubby, Ariel Padilla, who is the owner of the shop as well as an artist.

Dark Child Tattoo has three private rooms, but staffs only two artists. Owner Ariel Padilla has been tattooing professionally for 17 years. He opened Dark Child Tattoo in 1996, but moved the shop to its current location four years ago. When I asked Caryn what made their shop unique she told me that they are the only ones who offer a laser tattoo removal. Say what? Did I hear that correctly? A laser tattoo removal in a tattoo shop? I needed to know more!

When I asked how long it would take to remove a tattoo? Caryn told me that it is impossible to determine the number of sessions initially. For instance, a client could come into the shop for a session once a month for a year. Depending on several different factors like density of the ink or how well it was laid in to the skin, the amount of different colors present in the tattoo, and how recently the tattoo was done. She also said that a complete removal can take anywhere from 10 to 15 sessions. Pricing for the laser removal varies depending on the size and the amount of color in the removal, and typically ranges from $100 to $300 per session. I was blown away with the idea that you can get a tattoo at Dark Child Tattoo, and if you don’t like it, you can get it removed in the same place.

Dark Child Tattoo prides themselves on being one of the few ‘true’ custom tattoo studios in Long Island, NY. The husband and wife team specialize in large custom pieces, portraits, Japanese style and pinups. Ariel and Caryn say that they can duplicate virtually any image, painting or piece of art that any of their customers bring into them, “seamlessly translating [the image] from paper to skin.”

Ariel, who was tattooing a customer at the time, added that all needles are single-use and all components are sanitized and sterilized in accordance with the Suffolk County Board of Health Standards. When I asked Ariel about walk-ins he said that large and custom tattoos are done by appointment only; however, free consultations are provided to answer any questions a customer might have. Ariel continued that ‘walk-ins’ are always welcome, and if the tattoo is simple enough, they can often be fit into the schedule the same-day.

Dark Child Tattoo boasts a large selection of nearly all types of body jewelry for sale. Caryn, who does all of the piercing, says that no appointments are necessary for piercings, jewelry changes, or consultations. Like all places, there is an age limit! If you’re under 18 years of age, there’s a need for parental consent to be pierced and tattooed, but that is standard everywhere you go.

Dark Child Tattoo is open from Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. until 6 pm. If you would like to see some of Ariel and Caryn’s work online, you can log onto or you can just stop in at the shop like I did at 1125 Rt. 112, Port Jefferson Station, NY. You can also try to make an appointment by calling Dark Child Tattoo at (631) 509-1122 or email them at, and someone will get back to you right away.

Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! 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