Tattooing the number 13 on Friday 13th has been a tradition among tattoo addicts long before Jason Voorhees climbed out of Crystal Lake and donned a hockey mask to silence a few horny campers by using every-day garden tools like a hatchet, a shovel and a machete.
It's a day and a tattoo that have spawned legends among tattoo aficionados. From legendary inkslinger Spider Webb's tattooing the Roman numeral 13 on 13 goth girls all dressed in black in under 10 minutes to Dallas legendary inkslinger Oliver Peck's tattathon involving the sacred number, which landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most tattoos slung in a 24-hour period, Friday 13th is fast becoming a tattoo holiday for people of all ages to celebrate.
In honor of Oliver Peck's first Elm Street Music and Tattoo Festival on Friday 13th, we've scoured the DFW area in search of the 13 best tattoo parlors that have some of Texas' best artists seven days a week.
Stainless Studios One of the newer parlors on our list, Stainless Studios has been providing custom tattoos and body piercings for the Lower Greenville area since 2009. "Every customer is treated how we like to be treated." And with artists specializing in styles such as neo-traditional, color realism and black and gray portraits, this studio will be around for years to come.
Infinity 13 Studios
In the old days of tattooing, parlors appeared for a few weeks and then disappeared when the artists made enough cash to move on to the next town or his or her pirate ship set sail to pillage another village. Infinity 13 Studios pays homage to the old ways by appearing on Skillman Avenue in one listing and East Northwest Highway in another one. But where ever this shop ends up next (current location is East Northwest Highway), the tattooists are bound to memorize with their intricate designs. (In fact, they're offering tattoos of the number 13 for $13 plus $7 mandatory tip.)
Saints & Sinners
Just off North Josey Lane in Carrollton, in the same parking lot as Pizza Hut, CNT Hair Salon and Dollar General, the artists of Saints and Sinners are tapping into people's bodies like it's their last ink fix. "We pride ourselves on friendly service and client education." Thankfully, tattoo addicts and ink virgins only have four rules to follow: 1) "You don't talk about Saints & Sinners"; 2) "There is a $5 charge for whining"; 3) "You must partake in the sacred ritual of the 'Hot Towel'"; and 4) "You don't talk about Saints & Sinners."
Claiming to be Texas' first fully custom tattoo parlor, Cat Tattoo has been drilling into people's arms for more than 17 years, providing the highest quality in art, ink, piercings and laser removal. Located off Belt Line Road in Addison, this parlor is known for its creative spin on script, traditional and new school art, tribal, pop art and much, much more. Its artists "have mastered multiple mediums that push the limits to accomplish what other studios will not even attempt." (Damn, sounds like my kind of shop.)
Taboo Tattoo's artists -- Cody "Biggs," Timmy, Cyle, Bryan and Diego -- have been tatting at two locations, one in Deep Ellum and the other in Oak Cliff, since the early '90s. "Our shop is a sanctuary of creative self-expression and we give each client the respect and care he or she deserves." From searing portraits of bleeding eyes to half sleeves with intricate designs and beautiful coloring, these inkslingers deserve a spot on our coveted list.
Bonehead Tattoo, Inc
Offering two locations in Fort Worth, Bonehead Tattoo offers body modifications, tattoos and body piercings, although their piercers seem to hit the dust faster than their customers. Tatting an array of images from demonic stuffed rabbits to skulls of various sizes, shapes and colors, Bonehead's artists are among Fort Worth's finest.
Nestled between a smoke shop and a friendly nail place, Epic Tattoos is home to some of Fort Worth's best tattoo artists and body piercer. Ralph, Aj, Kory and Cat are all part of the Epic crew, and they're determined to continue offering the best quality service at the most affordable price. Similar to most of the shops on this list, they prefer appointments but will also accept walk-ins.
Psycho Clown Tattoo
Deep in the heart of Fort Worth, just off Northwest 28th Street, the crazed tattoo artists at Psycho Clown Tattoo are emptying vials of ink into the skins of tattoo junkies from places as far away as Canada and Australia. Since 1993 owner Jarrod Richardson has been modifying bodies and providing an experience that causes customers to post glowing recommendations on the shop's Facebook page. And with a philosophy that claims "we care about consistency and care more about quality rather than quantity," it's no wonder this shop is still going strong in the 21st century.
Obscurities Tattoo & Piercing
Although all of these tattoo parlors are up to code when it comes to cleanliness and sterilization, Obscurities Tattoo & Piercing promotes its staff's infection control and principles of sterilization training on its website. Since the early '90s, these tattoo artists have been providing high quality body art and various piercing techniques, including dermal anchoring, surface piercing and my least favorite -- advanced genital piercing.
Hold Fast Tattoo
In 2009, we here at the Dallas Observer called the artists at Hold Fast Tattoos "the best skin pokers in town," due, in part, to their reputation for offering "kick-ass bling, a clean environment, a relaxing atmosphere and the always necessary steady hand." It's one of the only places around known to craft a full sleeve with intricate detail in one day. And while most of their artists create some amazing art, tattooist Jeff Brown has been known to slip into beast mode on more than one occasion.
One of the oldest tattoo parlors in the DFW area, Tiggers has been slinging ink in historic Deep Ellum since 1989. Former owner Mark Pruiett "Tigger" Liddell was the godfather of tattooing in Deep Ellum and one helluva charitable biker. His shop was also one of the first places to take tattooing out of the backroom and into the limelight, demystifying some of the process and easing ink virgins' worries. In March 2012, Liddell lost his battle with heart disease. After Liddell's death, legandary tattoo artist Olver Peck called him "the original Deep Ellum tattooer."
Salty Dog Tattoo
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Just off Northwest Jim Wright Freeway in Lakeworth, Salty Dog Tattoo is the best tattoo shop in Fort Worth, though and I could be biased because owner-operator Troll gave me my second tattoo more than 15 years ago. Employing a variety of styles -- old school traditional and portraits to innovative designs -- these tattoo artists bring experience and philosophy to each of their creations. "Your blood is our bread and butter," says Troll. "As sort of shamans of the neon generations, we perform weddings and divorces as we tattoo names of lovers and give rites of passage from younger brothers to older brothers. We mark the dead, we christen new life, we heal old wounds with fresh ones." Fucking amen, brother.
Elm Street Tattoo
If you're looking for "Lady Luck" on Friday 13th, then Elm Street Tattoo parlor is the place to go. From walk-ins to custom drawn tattoos, these inkslingers are at the top of their game. "E.S.T. Is owned and operated by tattooers who tattoo all day every day, and who live for tattooing, not by entrepreneurs cashing in on the latest trend. To us tattoos are not a fashion; they are a lifestyle," the shop's website says. And proof of this statement will be on display this weekend at Elm Street Tattoo's Music and Tattoo Festival.