Looking to turn your body into a canvas? Whether you’re planning something simple and sweet or dreaming of a full-body piece, mid-Michigan has got you covered. The Capital area has a virtual smorgasbord of tattoo parlors, each with a team of talented and professional artists. I talked to some locals and asked them to recommend their favorite ink parlors in the Lansing area. (This is by no means an exhaustive list!)
Located on bustling Grand River Avenue in East Lansing, Splash of Color is near and dear to my own heart. It’s where I got my very first tattoo, a skin-and-ink tribute to this great state we call home. Right next door to brand new (and delicious) Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, the place probably gets its fair share of confused visitors looking for a creamy confection rather than a permanent piece of art. But if you’re looking for a great inking experience, Splash of Color is the place to be. On the inside, the studio is clean and tidy, but unapologetically badass—two important requirements for any tattoo parlor. The walls are covered in tattoo inspiration, my favorite being a section dedicated to various inky mermaids, a staple of any true tattoo fanatic’s repertoire. I was suitably terrified upon arrival, vacillating between excitement for my future body art and dread of the potential pain involved. Tattoo artist John Smalls did my ink, and after a surprisingly painless half hour or so, I left a proud owner of my very own Awesome Mitten. The studio also does piercings, and offers a 10 percent discount on their website.
This tattoo and piercing haven is an Old Town standby. The historic district has a charm all its own, and Fish Ladder frequenters offer rave reviews of both the studio itself and the work done by its artists. Long-time Lansing resident and MSU grad Thomas Gregovich showed me the bold geometric artwork he got there, citing it as one of his best tattooing experiences. If you spot a Lansing-ite sporting a gorgeous tat, chances are it was rendered by one of the talented artists at Fish Ladder.
The front page of the Gallery website showcases a variety of pieces, a perfectly rendered “Gruff” Sparty among them, indicating the studio’s local pride. The studio is aptly named, as it features an art gallery as well as a tattoo parlor. Intriguing contemporary pieces line the walls above graffiti border that is a piece of art in itself. Examples of the tattoo crew’s work can be found on their website, including skin art as well as canvas pieces.
Located in downtown Lansing, Eclectic’s colorful entrance will entice you from the street. From the graphic design-esque window display to the exposed brick inside, the place radiates cool. The studio’s four tattoo artists each have a large and impressive portfolio featuring stark black-and-white portraits and astonishing full-color flesh frescoes, and the well-designed website makes it easy to book an appointment or follow a specific artist on Twitter.
– Bridget Waldron, Contributing Writer