Getting a tattoo can be a very personal experience. It can also be personal for the people giving you the tattoo: the artist.
Local Tattoo and Laser Co., located at 2020 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing, has been up and running for the past year and a half, offering their services in giving and removing tattoos, as well as teeth whitening.
Greg Drake, co-owner of the business, said he opened his own business because he was ready to go off on his own.
“I worked at Splash Color for 20 years,” Greg Drake said. “When I decided to go off on my own, my wife wanted to go into business for herself, so we just partnered up.”
Monica Drake, co-owner of the studio, runs the laser removal and teeth whitener side of the business and said she and Greg wanted to open their own business wanted to do something tattoo involved.
“I didn’t want to be a piercer so I found tattoo removal,” Monica Drake said. “And because I became certified to run all the lasers, I was able to do both laser removal and teeth whitening.
Monica Drake said she has been a professional for two years and business has been doing good.
“I do about three people a day, five days a week,” Monica Drake said. “I get about 60 people in a month.”
Greg Drake said he’s been interested in tattoos his whole life and draws his own designs.
“We’re a custom studio so I’ve been an artist my whole life,” Greg Drake said. “It was a progression from one medium to another. Instead of drawing on paper, I draw on skin.”
Greg Drake said business has been excellent and is steady all year round.
“You see that when students are in town and in class, sometimes you’ll see an influx of younger bodies,” Greg Drake said. “But being a city studio and not a campus studio, we’re sort of just steady all year.”
Greg Drake said he only does two tattoos a day and doesn’t try to do anymore than that.
“I just don’t want to,” Greg Drake said. “I’d rather just focus on a couple of them and do quality work that way.”
Greg Drake said his studio is relaxed and doesn’t have 20 bodies pouring through the door like a campus studio.
“Custom studios are more mellow on the foot traffic, but, for instance, I’m booked out till the middle of May,” Greg Drake said. “It’s an appointment-only type shop. With only two guys here, your chances are a lot less of coming in and getting something done.”
Conrad Williams is the other tattoo artist and said he is in his second year as a tattoo artist.
“Greg apprenticed me when we opened up here,” Williams said. “I originally tried to apprentice in the mid-nineties, but at the time I had small kids, so I put it on hold.”
Williams said the opportunity came back up when he was helping Greg and Monica open up.
“I just went with it,” Williams said.
Greg Drake said you’ll have to tell them what tattoo you want and then they’ll draw it for you or an example of what tattoo you want.
“I’m a 20 year veteran,” Greg Drake said. “You can’t get a tattoo with me unless you talk with me first. I’m a morals tattoo artist. You have to give me a reason to tattoo you.”