As a tattoo artist, there are often certain tattoos, particular people or specific moments that stand out more than others.
This is the case for Keith Smith and Neil Malcolm of Madness Ink in Chatham.
Both artists shared some interesting stories with us recently during a sit down interview at their shop!
SC: What’s one of the most memorable tattoos you’ve ever given?
Keith: I tattooed a lot of younger kids in this town, hockey players especially a lot in the junior leagues. The one guy was going on and on about how he worked out with NHL players. So I said to him, get me an NHL player in my chair and I’ll give you a free tattoo.
One day he came in with a guy and it was Zack Kassian from the Vancouver Canucks. We started off, we tattooed a half sleeve on him. It was Roman-inspired as if the warrior had just died and climbed the stairway through the mountains to heaven.
I kept a good repore with Zack and he came back the next year and I did the bottom half of his sleeve. Just continued on with the Roman theme… with Julius Caesar in a battle, flaming arrows flying everywhere. Now we’re starting to work on a back piece with him. He wants to do his other sleeve now.
It was a cool experience. Just off of doing his first tattoo, I must have received at least 100 calls just saying that they have seen his tattoo and that they wanted to get tattooed by me.
SC: What about you Neil?
Neil: I’ve tattooed no NHL stars or nobody famous. The closest I came to that was I tattooed Big Sugar’s guitar tech. That’s my claim to fame is Big Sugar’s guitar tech.
SC: What about your time in Wallaceburg? How was it working in your hometown?
Neil: What I found really nice about opening that shop in Wallaceburg, it was neat to see the people that I know from Wallaceburg that came in for a tattoo that I never really thought would.There was friend in highschool that I had and there were times that we’d go over and visit their grandparents. It was really strange having these people coming in and letting me tattoo them permanently. I always felt honoured and appreciative of that.
Not only that, but certain parts of the body. When they say I want to get my hands done by you or my neck done by you, that is a real honour for me. I always thank them afterwards for giving me that… that is your major real estate you know. To have your hand tattooed or your neck tattooed, you don’t cover that up. You’re trusting me to put my art work on you so that everyone can see. A lot of times it’s something that I’ve drawn up.
But it was cool tattooing in Wallaceburg. There were people coming in that I hadn’t seen in 10 years. Also the more you get tattooed you become part of this community. For example WAMBO, you’re at the beer tent or something like that and you see a guy with a big gnarly tattoo on his arm and you kind of get talking to one another. It’s a cool conversation piece between people.
Opening my shop in Wallaceburg was really good and it really reconnecting me with people from my past. Made a lot of new friends, new clients… a lot of which have followed me here.
Madness Ink is located at 225 St. Clair Street in Chatham. To book an appointment, you can call Keith at 519-358-5377 or Neil at 519-437-2389.
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