It took six months of hang-ups, unreturned calls, and flat out refusals before Cristin and Jim McCoy, owners of Tainted Arts, found a landlord who would rent to them.
And even then they had to persuade the landlord to meet with them first before making a decision.
“I knew once they met with us they’d realize we weren’t like your stereotypical street shop owners,” Cristin McCoy said.
Case in point, Jim McCoy, chief park ranger at Don Pedro Reservoir with the Turlock Irrigation District, is articulate, mellow and enjoys photography, yet his skin is an artistic canvas that he’s spent years perfecting; Cristin McCoy is ultimately an artist and a businesswoman, but she’s a wife and a mother as well.
More like a gallery and boutique with tasteful photography gracing the walls and a white leather chaise in the lobby, Tainted Arts is nothing like a person might assume when picturing a tattoo shop — and that’s exactly how the McCoys want it.
“We’d rather have someone come in and say that the shop has a professional feel to it and not a street shop. We want grandmothers to feel comfortable enough to come here,” Cristin shared.
In fact, their clientele is geared toward women and professionals with an emphasis on custom art.
Cristin, who mentored for two years beneath a tattoo master artist in Tuolumne City at West Side Ink, spent quality time studying before she felt ready to take on the responsibility of permanently inking someone’s skin. Although this is the McCoy’s first business, their love of tattoo art is apparent when you see the elaborate and detailed work on their own skin.
The husband and wife duo got their first tattoos at 18 and have always loved the artistic expression found in tattooing.
“They’re time markers for your life,” Jim McCoy said. “Tattoos have meaning.”
As well they should, particularly if they’re going to remain on your skin forever, which is why the McCoys are all about making sure the client knows they shouldn’t go into the experience without a lot of thought and research into the artist charged with doing the tattoo.
“There are a lot of people getting tattoos but not a lot of people getting good tattoos,” Cristin McCoy said, admitting, “I’ve had to fix a lot of tattoos, ones we call garage tattoos because they were literally done in someone’s garage and they look about as good as you would expect.”
Clients of Tainted Arts can expect to sit down with Cristin, chat and get to know one another, then Cristin will provide sketches and one will be approved before anything gets put on the skin. An added bonus is Cristin’s honesty about the work.
“I don’t want to just slap something on someone if I think they might regret it later,” Cristin said. “I want them to enjoy their tattoo forever, not just during a phase in their life.”
She admits she cringes when people want to put their husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend on their skin, believing it’s just asking for fate to throw a spike strip across the road to relationship bliss, sharing personal experience, “We don’t have each other’s names on our body and we’ve been together for 20 years.”
The exception to the name bias?
“Unless it’s your kids’ names, because they’ll always be your kids,” she said.
Cristin enjoys creating black and grey work the most and she’s a big fan of the “girly” stuff.
“It’s all about personal empowerment,” she said. “Tattoos have meaning. You’re not just walking into a shop and picking something off the wall. It’s very personal.”
The McCoys run a very clean and safe shop, observing safety practices that aren’t even required in Stanislaus County but that’s just part of their commitment to quality that they believe in.
They use all disposable equipment instead of autoclaving for sterilization as some places do, which includes plastic, disposable tubes, gloves, and of course, fresh needles.
Prices vary and are based on the piece of work but for the week of Feb. 17, the radio station 96.7 is running a half price hook-up where you can purchase $50 worth of work for $25. Check the radio station for details.
Tainted Arts is located at 1214 W. F St., Ste. No. B207 (upstairs) in the Oakdale Station plaza.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 559-6368.