Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

All Hail…the King?

April 7th, 2010 by

When I think of the ultimate place to hang out and get a tattoo, well…I don’t, really.  I mean I’ve never actually thought about a place that could be a hybrid between nightclub and tattoo studio.  I don’t really need all the bells and whistles just to get a tattoo, I just need a good clean place, with at least one really good tattoo artist.  Seems like a pretty basic concept to me.

However, that all might be starting to change.  Tattoo artist Mario Barth is all set to open his brand spanking new King Ink at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend.  King Ink is in many ways, the ultimate height of all the commodification and trendiness of the tattoo world.  Yet at the same time, it’s a lot of people’s dream come true, mixing tattoos, music, booze, partying and faux alligator skin.

With three different rooms to be tattooed in, live video feeds throughout the club of those three tattoo rooms, crystal chandeliers, frescoes of tattoos that Barth has done within the past 30 years and a patio all done up in the style of a castle infused with Austrian baroque, one might be tempted to refer to King Ink as King Tacky instead.  However, aside from the superficialities of the place, according to Barth there is also some depth, some insight into the world of tattoo:

“We invented a new program that is called the Tattoo Explorer, which is linked in a worldwide database of designs,” Barth says. “So you can basically go in and say, ‘I would like to have say an ankh,’ and it pulls up the ankh and it shows you the different styles of it, but it also explains what it means, what’s the meaning, where has it been done the first item, who was wearing it, when was it historically bad to have an ankh, when was it great. All those elements have been implemented.”

Barth adds the interactive and education elements continue with televisions displaying live footage of tattoos currently being done in the three tattoo rooms at King Ink, a complete history of tattooing timeline is part of the bar and tables becoming shadowboxes displaying tattoo machinery and tools from around the world.

Still, if you ask me, the idea of getting tattooed at a place where people are getting wasted off shots that are so potent that they don’t even have a name doesn’t really sound all that appealing.  Although, Barth insists that all his tattoo artists are skilled in determining who’s ready to be tattooed and who isn’t.  Okay fine.  I guess it all boils down to different strokes for different folks and that’s also what the entire art form of tattoo is about.  So while all this seems full blown and way, way, way over the top for me, others will undoubtedly come along and love it.  And that in itself is cool enough.

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