A buddy of mine recently showed me his new tattoo at a recent gig that I played with my band BlackOcean in Atlantic City. It was of some sort of evil looking gargoyle, but the detail was amazing, so I had to ask where he got his work done. He told me that his tattoo artist was named Randi and he tattooed out of Dynasty Tattoo in Newfield, NJ. On my next day off, I drove to Newfield because I had to see what Dynasty Tattoo was all about. As I pulled up on West Boulevard, I almost passed the joint because the sign above the door was so small, but I guess the words “tattoo” and “piercing” down the sides of the window should have been a dead giveaway.

I eventually made my way inside to Dynasty Tattoo, where I was greeted by owner Randi Polillo, an 11-year tattoo veteran who studied at the Hussian School Of Art in Philadelphia. Randi told me that he always knew that he wanted to be an artist, but never knew what medium he wanted to practice until he was introduced to body modification through dermagraphic illustration, better known as tattooing, and his life was changed forever. He would eventually open his own shop, Dynasty Tattoo, in lovely Newfield, which is where we stood today. The shop was pretty spacious, though it really didn’t look like it from the outside, and this spot was clean! As you all know, that’s a big thing for me, and should be a big thing for you too!

Randi greeted me in the light green-colored waiting room. As we made our way towards the back of the shop, the first room to the left was a drafting room, where Randi and his artists do most of their drawings. On the right side of the hallway were private tattooing rooms where all the magic happens. I asked Randi what would lure me to his shop for my next tattoo, and he told me that at Dynasty, they try to keep a positive atmosphere. He and his artists strive to create a positive, stress-free, and artistic environment. To do so, they ask all of their clientele to leave their negativity at the door. They base their business on the passion for their art, and refuse to allow outside negative influences to interfere like racism, lying, stealing, arguing, talking trash, complaining, property damage, attitudes or anything that is simply negative. Positivity is always a good thing to bring in new clientele.

Polillo surrounds himself with three other artists in Scott Terry, “Jersey” Josh Stasium, and Nicole Thompson, and a body piercer named Dave Hurban. Randi says that Dynasty is a custom tattoo shop and that his artists are capable of hand drawing any creation thrown at them, and that they’re always waiting for a challenge. Randi feels that prospective tattoo clients should never bargain hunt when it comes to shopping for a tattoo shop. He says at Dynasty, they offer the highest quality when it comes to tattooing since it’s artwork that is on your body for life. He urges customers not to get a tattoo because it’s a good deal, or you’ll most likely end up paying more to fix a mistake. He also urges people to steer clear of tattoo parties for the same reason. His tattoo artists are all required to complete a three-year apprenticeship, they’re fully insured, are inspected by the health department, and have in-house sterilizers and one-use needles. Randi also says that it’s very easy for some “scratch” artist get a tattoo machine and tattoo people at home, which has become a huge problem in the industry.

When I asked Randi about his age policy, he told me that Dynasty is one of the only tattoo studios on the East Coast that allows body piercing on minors ages 13 and up, and on certain conditions 10 years and above depending on the piercing situation. He says that they have clients that travel from hours away just to take advantage of this policy. He says they’re able to do this because they are fully insured to perform body piercings on children of any age. It’s not a state law. Randi actually told me, and I’m sure how true this is, but apparently, Jersey has no age requirement laws for tattoo and body piercing. He said that New Jersey’s written law states that there is no minimum age requirement for tattooing or piercing minors. He did, however, stated that there are some restrictions, like if the client is under the age of 18, parental consent is still required in person. No genital piercings are allowed if you are under the age of 18. Most tattoo studios set their own age limits and requirements as long as they don’t violate New Jersey’s current laws. He also told me that a major reason why studios put age restrictions is because of insurance purposes. I thought that was pretty interesting.

One last thing that I had to ask Randi before I left was about his pricing. He told me that their prices were fair. He says that they went the extra mile when they put together their studio and that they paid a little bit more for certain things because they take pride in what they do. Randi says, “We don’t just want to be known for the great tattooing and body piercing. We want to be known as honest, hard-working people that truly care about your experience at our shop, this way they tell other people to come and see us.” I’ve never heard of this before, but Randi told me that his shop offers a bartering system. He told me that his artists are always interested in a good trade. If a customer feels that that they have something worth bartering for tattoo or piercing work, to please call or email the shop. That is awesome!

Appointments aren’t required but are certainly preferred, and walk-ins are always welcome as long as they have an artist available. You can check out the work of the artists from Dynasty Tattoo online at dynastytattoo.com or visit the shop at 4 West Boulevard in Newfield, NJ. If you need to make an appointment or have any questions, just call the shop at (856) 697-3962. Dynasty is open Mondays through Thursdays from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., and closed on Sundays.

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 tim@theaquarian.com.

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