Inked Out: Clockwork Custom

Just when you thought that I didn’t read your emails on, I’m about to prove you wrong. Every month I ask readers to suggest tattoo shops to me, and last month, I got an email letting me know about a shop in Long Island called Clockwork Custom Tattoo. To be exact, the shop was located in Centereach, NY, meaning I had to make some extra plans out in Long Island in order to make a quick pit stop at Clockwork Custom Tattoo. My brief visit was a pretty cool one. I walked into an immaculate, large room surrounded by tattoo chairs and reeking of ink, soap and blood. Man, I love that smell!

Anyway, I was greeted by a guy named Paul, or Tatu Paul, as I was told, the owner of Clockwork Custom Tattoo, as well as an artist. In fact, as I looked around, it seemed that Tatu Paul was the only artist in the shop. Then I started to think that something was weird. Was Paul running this place on his own as an artist, a piercer and manager? He was still busy because he was working on a client when I was there and there was also a client waiting to be tattooed. I made sure that my visit was brief, so I wouldn’t get in his way, plus he thought that I was just a prospective client since I never really made an appointment to sit down and interview him. Anyway, he still answered all of my questions as he tattooed.

Paul opened Clockwork Custom Tattoo back in 1998. His background in art consists of a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the School of Visual Art in NYC. He started tattooing in 1993, where he traveled and tattooed through much of the U.S. and Europe. Paul said that he didn’t start piercing until about 10 years ago.

When I asked Paul what sets his shop apart from other shops in Long Island, he told me that Clockwork set a standard that most of the shops in Long Island try to follow, but have a hard time duplicating. Besides, his shop is a true custom tattoo shop where he sits with his clientele, and actually to them to find out exactly what they want, which is a process that Paul considers crucial for placement, color, theme and style for the client. Paul said that sometimes he will even draw freehand on a client to see how a drawing looks on them. He says that this is the type of treatment his customers can expect. Nothing, but top-notched!

Paul was also telling me that Clockwork specializes in cover-ups, which means if you have a tattoo that you absolutely hate, you’re in luck if you don’t want to laser it off because Tatu Paul happens to be a master of the cover-up tattoo. Paul says that customers shouldn’t be quick to just let any tattoo artist attempt to cover-up an old tattoo. He says that a bad cover-up job can be more disappointing than the original tattoo, and can even end up costing you thousands in laser surgery. He says that he sees it happen all the time.

Walk-ins are always welcome, especially if a client has been thinking about a tattoo for while and they just wanted to talk to him about it. He’d be happy to talk to them about it and start the tattoo right then and there if he has the time, or they can just set up an appointment to start the work.

Paul told me that he runs a clean and sterile shop. All needles are single-use needles, and all of his machines are autoclave sterilized. He abides by all age laws when it comes to tattooing and piercing, where all clients have to sign a consent form proving their age.

Speaking of piercing, there’s a private room to handle all of your piercing needs, as well as a plethora of body jewelry to choose from. As far as prices go for tattoo work, it’s pretty comparable to many other shops that I’ve visited, and so are their piercing prices. In this economy, if you can afford it, you’ll get it anyway! So, do prices really matter?

Paul said that he is currently looking to hire another tattoo artist and piercer for the shop since he’s been getting busier as of late. He is looking for someone with at least two years of experience and a very strong portfolio. No drugs or alcohol problems, and he’s not looking for an apprentice. He’s looking for a full-time artist. If you think that’s you, call Paul at the shop. The number is (631) 580 7330, where you can also call to make an appointment if you’re ready for your tattoo. Clockwork Custom Tattoo is located at 2534 Middle Country Road in Centereach, NY. Stop in and take a look for yourself!

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