Arts & Entertainment

Local tattoo shop makes its mark on Cincinnati

By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer

Getting a tattoo takes work. It’s more than just walking into a random shop and asking for the first design you see on the wall to be permanently inked on your skin. I mean, you can do that. You just have to make sure that it’s the right tattoo shop. Lucky for you, I found just the place. 

Cincinnati Tattoo & Piercing Co. is a shop on Glenway Avenue, about a 20-minute drive from Xavier’s campus. It’s been running for 55 years, the artists are talented, the prices aren’t too expensive and the vibes are immaculate. 

And in order to ensure that I had a fully-formed and trustworthy opinion, I went ahead and got a tattoo there. 

On Monday, a friend and I drove out to Cincinnati Tattoo & Piercing to get tattoos done by the artist Lulabelle Gertrude, or Gerty (@tattoosbygerty). 

The shop is small and cozy, with former bedrooms serving as artists’ rooms, meaning your tattoo is essentially done in private. 

Every surface in the house where the shop is located boasts art, posters, drawings and stickers with crazy and colorful designs. I especially appreciated the sign in the bathroom which read, “Keep your hands clean and your mind dirty!” 

Alexis, Kassidy, Nick, Gerty, Brandon, Jeremy and Keith are the tattoo artists currently working at Cincinnati Tattoo. There are also two piercers: Kirsten and Anthony. 

The shop accepts walk-ins, and piercings are open for walk-ins on the weekends. I’ve found, however, that it’s always best to call the day off and ask if there are any room on the schedule for walk-ins. 

For tattoos that need planning or multiple sessions and for piercings during the week, you can message the shop on Facebook (@CincinnatiTattooStudio), or directly message one of their artists via  Facebook or Instagram. 

Compared to other shops, the rates are reasonable. For a small, color tattoo on my upper arm I paid $75 for the deposit, $75 when the tattoo was finished and I left a $20 tip. 

Tattoo prices also depend on the hourly rate for the artist you choose. For artists that are more popular or have been tattooing longer, the rate may be a little higher. 

The other part of getting a tattoo is the experience itself. The artists we encountered at Cincinnati Tattoo & Piercing were kind, patient and talented. 

Gerty was an incredible artist with a fantastic bedside manner, and the other artists and piercers exhibited the same traits. Overall, it ended up being a fun experience. 

Something you should know beforehand, however, is that this shop only accepts cash. They were kind enough to let me run to a nearby ATM after my tattoo was finished, which I found incredibly trusting, but it’s better to be prepared before you arrive. 

And if you’re not feeling Cincinnati Tattoo & Piercing Co., there are other shops and artists in the area that may have what you’re looking for.

Red Dragon Tattoo & Piercing (@reddragontattoocincy), James (@gayguyjimmy) at Black Fern Tattoo (@blackferntattoo) or Sophorn Long (@cambodiancupcake) at The Decorated Body (@thedecoratedbody) are all shops and artists that are worth your time. 

Ultimately, getting a tattoo is a personal choice, and whatever you get should be something you want, but in terms of which artist or shop you should visit, I think this list is top-tier.

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