Inked Out: Skin Design Tattoo – Las Vegas, NV

Last month, my wife and I hit Vegas for a week, and usually what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but this time, I couldn’t keep this gorgeous tattoo shop a secret. My wife had this itch to get a new tattoo while in Las Vegas, so she did some research and found this shop on Spring Mountain Road, way off the Strip, but in the Chinatown section of Sin City. Go figure! The shop was called Skin Design Tattoo, which is run by renowned artist Robert Pho. After my wife showed me his artwork, I made sure that we made the time to visit his shop.

When we walked in, I fell in love immediately! This shop was gorgeous! Beautiful dark hardwood floors with a reception desk that resembled a bar right in front of you when you walk in. The décor was infused with some heavy-duty Asian flavor. To the left, a wall of t-shirts and trophies won by the shop for their amazing work. To the right, a full wall mural of tattoo artwork done by owner Robert Pho and bathrooms. Behind the reception desk wall is where all the magic happens. There were stations set up for the tattooing. This shop was a Vegas shop through and through.

We were greeted by one of the receptionists and one of the artists that I recognized as Eugene Ta’Ase. Unfortunately, Robert Pho was out to lunch when we stopped in, but I did notice on the front desk that Robert and crew won a couple of awards at this year’s Empire State Tattoo Convention in NYC. This is how I was able to tie them to an East Coast tattoo column. When we told the receptionist and Eugene that we were from the NYC area and that I wrote a tattoo column, they immediately opened up to us. As my wife got her info from the receptionist, I got mine from Eugene.

Long before Robert Pho stepped foot in Las Vegas, the original Skin Design Tattoo planted its roots in North Carolina back in 1999 with a shop that was a mere 200 square feet. For Robert, the shop was a dream come true, but little did he know what he was about to encounter. There was much resistance from the local community leaders and residents, leaving Robert to fight the city to open up shop. In the end, Robert’s lengthy campaign ended with an approval from the city and since then he’s remained an active voice for the tattoo community.

After six years at his North Carolina location, tragedy struck and life had to change, and Robert built the strength to move his family back to the West Coast to be closer to his family. That’s when he decided to take a trip out to Las Vegas. The trip served as not only a getaway, but also doubled as an opportunity to search for a new location for a tattoo shop, and after a grueling two-week search, it wasn’t up until his last day that he found an abandoned smoke shop. Within hours, lease agreements were signed and along with a few handshakes, Robert headed back home to pack up shop, to return to the City of Sin for good within a few weeks.

Robert Pho brought to Las Vegas his 25-plus years of experience, and today, Skin Design Tattoo and he are respected internationally as one of the finest black and gray tattoo shops in the world. The current wait list to get any artwork done by Robert Pho is four to six months. Joining Robert at this new Las Vegas location are three other artists like internationally acclaimed black and grey artist Fernie Andrade, Robert’s brother Andy Pho, who was personally trained by Robert, and then there was the artist I was speaking to, Eugene Ta’Ase, who specializes in Polynesian art.

Another unique thing about Skin Design Tattoo is that they actually do laser tattoo removal on premise as well. This is something that would need to be consulted in the shop just like any tattoo ideas you might want to put on your body. This shop really does it all, and I was really impressed with it. When I asked about pricing, I was told the usual, “It depends on the size of the artwork.” But I can tell you that if you get Robert to work on you, it won’t depend on the size of the artwork because you’ll be paying for quality and his name at that point.

Skin Design Tattoo might have been one of my favorite tattoo shops that I’ve seen in a while. If you’re in Las Vegas, I highly recommend you stop in and check it out. At the very least, take a look and buy a t-shirt. It’s only a few minutes away from the Strip. It’s located on 3963 Spring Mountain Road in the Chinatown section of Vegas. They’re open Monday through Saturday from noon till 9 pm. If you have any questions at all, call the shop at (702) 739-9946 or email them at You can also check the shop out online at

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