What a year! This time last year, Brian and I were trying to decide what the hell to do with ourselves. We were both looking for a new spot and really wanted to work together. We got an offer in Texas and seriously considering relocating, but our hearts belong to DC, so we decided to try opening our own place instead.

Naming the shop was easy. In fact, we had the name long before we even considered opening a shop. We shared a room in the last studio we were in, so we had a running list of silly band names written on a scrap of paper – basically, anytime somebody said a phrase that we thought would make a good band name, one of us would yell BAND NAME and write it down – it featured such gems as Wormurderer, Premeditated Shart, Involuntary Jazz Hands, Guilt Boner, and Remote Controlled Fart Symphony. So one day, I was tattooing this girl, and her friend asked what it felt like. She said, “kind of like a cat scratch,” and the guy Brian was tattooing added, “but electric.” Brian and I both yelled BAND NAME, but then we were like, actually… that would be an amazing tattoo shop name. I wrote it down that day and it waited in my toolbox for a couple years.

When we set out to find a physical location though, we had a surprisingly difficult time. We found quite a few spaces that we loved and could afford, but as soon as we uttered the words “tattoo shop” we were immediately shut down. We even offered one landlord 6 months rent up front, which gave her some pause, but she ultimately turned us down anyway. We eventually found this spot and hit it off with the family-owned realty company that manages the property (thank you to Nomadic Real Estate for giving us a chance and being awesome), and signed our lease mid-February. We worked our asses off for the next two and a half months and opened on April 21st. Our walls were pretty bare, and it took some time to streamline things, but we were thrilled to be working for ourselves, and just hoped that we’d have work. As it turned out, the location worked very much in our favor, the neighborhood seemed happy to have us, and there was no shortage of clients right from the beginning.

We can’t believe it’s been 8 months already, and we look forward to many more years (hopefully in this location)! Please enjoy some photos from this past year:

Shop build-out:

Shirts, stickers, and cards:

A few selections from our joke board:

LeDroit Park Block Party:

Sheila and Lindsay’s wedding:

Halloween events:

Career Day at Quander Road School:

Sheila making progress in her apprenticeship:

We did lots of tattoos!

And had tons of fun!

We were recently invited to do a presentation for Career Day at Quander Road School in Alexandria, VA. Many of the students are nearing the end of their high school careers and are in the process of deciding what to do next, so we talked to them about how we went from dropping out of school, to finding a career, to becoming business owners.

The three of us have had vastly different educational and work experiences, and we all got into tattooing at varying ages, so it was a great opportunity for us to explain to them how different each of our paths were, and what we learned along the way. Our main message to them was that there is no “right way” to get where you want to be, and college is not the only way to get an education. It’s important to work hard at whatever job you have, even if it’s not the one you want to keep, because every experience you have can help you later in life, and a strong work ethic will get you far!

A lot of them were very interested in tattoos in general as well, so we talked about the process of getting a tattoo, what to look for when choosing an artist, and helped them understand why it’s so important to get tattooed in a safe, clean, and professional environment.

We had about 40 minutes with each group, and we spent the last portion of each presentation answering their questions, and were delighted when many of them pulled out their own sketchbooks to show us their art! We met a lot of bright, strong-minded, and well-spoken kids, and we enjoyed hearing from them about what they are interested in and their plans for the future.

We want to give a huge thank you to all of the students we met, as well as the teachers and staff for being so welcoming, to Ms. Greta Thomas for reaching out to us on Mr. Joe Barbee’s recommendation, and we look forward to returning next year!

To the students: You are welcome to come through the shop anytime, whether it’s for a tattoo, drawing advice, life advice, or just to say hi! We hoped to have a positive impact on you, but you had a positive impact on us as well, and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting each of you!

 

Our Trick-or-Treat game was a smashing success, and we will definitely be doing it again next October, with even more designs. Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate Halloween for a whole month!

We had a pumpkin carving party at the shop, and ended up with a million pumpkin seeds to cook up. Yum! Thank you to everyone who came out to stab pumpkins with us!

The Friends of the Park at LeDroit hosted their annual Falloween event with lots of fun activities for the kids, including a slime station, music performances, food, and a Halloween parade. They invited us to set up a table to do temporary tattoos again, and we had a blast!

Enjoy some more spooky photos:

The most important news of the month:

SHEILA AND LINDSAY GOT MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations to Mrs. & Mrs. Larson! The wedding was beautiful and we had a blast. Brian even got his hurr did for it. We love you both so much and are lucky to have you in our lives.

Such a busy month for us! Welcome back to all the college kiddos – I think we tattooed almost every single one of them last weekend. We love “don’t tell mom” season. To all the disappointed moms out there – good news! We are now offering tattoo removal! Thanks to @mindofiron for another great hand-painted sign.

LeDroit Park had a block party and invited us to set up a table, so we put out a tattoo table and arm rest and put temporary tattoos on everyone. Gotta get the kids started early! It was great to meet all of our neighbors and we thank the neighborhood for welcoming us. Thank you to Taylor Barden Golden for the mention in the September issue of Mid City DC Magazine. You can check out all of the photos from the block party on the LeDroit Park Civic Association page.

We thoroughly enjoyed having Berto guest spot for a week and are looking forward to the next time he comes through. Our only complaint is that he broke our no-infinity-symbols streak, but we forgive him and would be willing to have him back. Thank you to Alexis for being such a good sport when we made her reset the infinity-symbol-free count to zero herself. Berto made a beautiful custom piece for her and she was a pleasure to have in the shop.

We made another trip down to Loose Screw in Richmond to visit our friends Gwooki and Sabrina. Thank you to Jesse Smith for the hospitality, as always! Sabrina got started on a beautiful chest piece for Sarah, and then we all went and hung out at GWARbar. Gwooki and Sabrina are incredibly talented, genuine, fun people, and we are lucky to call them friends. If you haven’t seen their work yet, check them out at @sabrinaelliotte and @gwooki.

We went to see our friend Tim Freak‘s show at The Fridge, and couldn’t help but buy another painting. We are addicted to good art and can’t seem to get out of that place without claiming a piece. We also picked up the piece we got at Rei21’s show, and it looks great in the shop.

We got a chalkboard A-frame (and doggy water bowl!) for the sidewalk in front of the shop and decided that the current best use of one side of that board is dad jokes. We love catching people’s smiles when they stop to look at the answer. Here’s a sampling – follow us on instagram @ecstattoos for the answers!

We made a brief trip down to Florida to visit a friend and see how fast we could finish a keg.

There was a solar eclipse last month. We caught a glimpse of it in a lens flare and in all the little crescent-shaped shadows cast under the trees. We are still on the lookout for Audrey II…

Enjoy some other photos from around the shop, including Brian riding our penny farthing bike!

 

We got our big sign hung up! Thank you again to Justin @old5anddimesignco – we love it so much. And thank you to John for helping us hang it.

We had a small batch of shop shirts made with the bad taxidermy cat Sarah drew as a joke, because, why not? We like to take jokes too far. Everybody seems to like them though because we’ve only got 3 left. If you want one, let us know, we’re thinking about having more made. Also, Sheila made her first sticker! Come get one! Sheila also recently painted a killer portrait of our demon dog, Ruca. You should follow her @fork_spit so you can say you knew her before she got famous.

Our good friend Berto is guest spotting with us August 3rd through the 7th. If you’re interested in getting something done by him, you can set up an appointment through the shop, or directly with him. Check out his work @tokatattoos.

We went to see our friend @junctionxxi‘s show at The Fridge at the beginning of the month. We love his style and even walked out with a piece. Eric, creator of Oswald Doing Things (@odtcomics) and just all around awesome guy, stopped by the shop to give us some signed copies of his Oswald books, and to hang some art for sale. Follow him @ericepoteart and come check out his stuff in the shop.

We’ve added a shop merchandise and art for sale page to the website where you can check out some of the pieces we have for sale. If you see something you’re interested in, give us a call or come by!

We went to Richmond to visit our friends at Loose Screw and Two Pillars last month, and Brian got his Venom throat piece worked on by our amazing friend Gwooki. Check out his art @gwooki. Thank you to Charles at Two Pillars for the hospitality! Brian was mentioned in an article on Inked about reviving bad tattoos – you can check out the mention here: Ink Redux: Reviving Drop Dead Ugly Tattoos. If you’ve got an old tattoo that needs help, come see us! We’ll help you love it again. Or if you need an idea for a new tattoo, Brian and Sarah both have sketchbooks at the shop now with lots of great (and some just really weird) ideas. In more important news, Sarah got a Danny McBride tattoo, and actual Danny McBride commented on it.

Enjoy some other photos of us doing what we do best: tattooing and drinking (but never at the same time)!

We’ve been open for about a month and a half now, and the shop is POPPIN’! We can’t express how thankful and happy we are that so many old and new faces have come through. As a new shop (though not new to the area), we fully expected to have too much time on our hands for the first few months, but that hasn’t been the case at all – so much so that we opted to come in on one of our days off this week to squeeze someone in. We love you all for enabling us to do what we love for a living.

We have a couple upcoming closings in June (you can always check for schedule changes under Hours):

We’ll be closed this Sunday, June 11th, because Pepco has to do some sort of maintenance on our block and we won’t have power most of the day. Brian’s not too upset, because now he can go to Subaru Boxerfest instead.

We will also be closed on Monday, June 19th. Brian is attending the Explorer Tattoo Conference at GW June 19-21, and Sarah’s not trying to juggle counter and tattooing by herself that Monday, so she’ll be day-drinking instead. Once we’ve been up and running for some time, we’d love to attend things like that as a shop, but we drew straws and Brian gets the ticket this time. It’s three days of nonstop seminars from some incredibly talented tattooers. If you’re a tattooer and interested in going, check out Explorer Tattoo Conference – last we checked there were still some tickets available. If you’re not a tattooer but love following great work, check out their website to see who the presenters are and follow them on ig. Never stop learning!

Danny dropped off some killer pieces for sale – you can check out his stuff in the shop and follow him at @everycankounts.  We went to see our friend HKS’s solo show at The Fridge last week. His art is super cool – you can check him out on ig @oneeightyone. We’ll have some of his art up in the shop soon if you’re interested in purchasing anything (provided we don’t try to buy all of it ourselves).

OUR SIGN IS DONE! It was well worth the wait, and we can’t thank Justin (@old5anddimesignco) enough! He’s shipping it out this week, and we cannot wait to see it in person. We love his hand-painted signs so much, we’re already trying to think up more projects for him.

 

 

We’ve been open for about 3 weeks now, and we’ve been overwhelmed with the support we’ve received from friends, old clients, new clients, and the neighborhood itself. Thank you to everyone that has come in to finally get the tattoos they’ve been waiting on as we got this place up and running. Thank you to our existing clients who have referred friends, and thank you to our neighbors for making us feel so welcome.

We started putting together tattoo idea books with all the sketches we’ve been shoving in corners and using to prop up furniture, so if you are looking for an idea, you can come check those out soon. Always wanted a tattoo of a sloth-spider? Sarah’s got you. How about a pig shooting laser beams out of its eyes? Brian’s your man.

Sheila got a lesson in coil and rotary machine anatomy this week, and Brian jammed a pencil into a steel tube so she can practice drawing with the weight of a coil machine hanging off the back. Based on her drawing below, we think she likes it…

We got some cool hand-painted window signs from our buddy J. Bruce (@ageoldsigns) with our hours, etc. Still waiting on our big outdoor sign, but all good things are worth waiting for. We got to see a progress picture of it and we’re stoked to hang it soon.

More shop-warming gifts from our talented friends this week! Mas Paz gave us a beautiful print and hung out with us for a day. We love his style and clean lines, and we look forward to having him back. Our friend Gus stopped by to check out the shop and gave us a really cool transforming 3D Japanese masks piece that had us all running back and forth to see both images. I’m sure that was comical for anyone driving by the shop that night. We have a small collection of art for sale now too, but we’re expecting more this week, so we’ll do a separate post with better photos once we have more up.

Funkapotamus Brian was thrilled to learn that the DC Funk Fest was right at our doorstep last weekend – one of the benefits of being right across from Howard Theater. And then to top it off, we discovered Granny and the Boys, who play on Sundays at Showtime right down the street. We snagged a CD and, what do you know, it has a cat on the cover – it’s like the universe has been throwing cats at us since we decided on our shop name. If you love dive bars and funk as much as Brian does, you gotta check out Granny and the Boys.

We’re still holding off on an official open house thing until we get our big sign up and finish a couple other minor projects, but feel free to come through and check out the shop. We love when friends stop by!

We are open for business!

We will have some sort of open house / low-key opening party in May once we get all our signs and artwork up, but as of now, we are set up and ready to take appointments and tattoo! We are so happy to be back to work. For everyone who has been waiting as we set this place up, we appreciate your patience! We’ll do our best to respond to all the emails that have been sitting in our respective inboxes, but feel free to hit us up again, or come by the shop!

We’ve had a busy month and the shop has really come together. We’re looking at a couple more weeks to wrap things up. Recent additions include some fancy butt-rests and Chad the Golden Chicken-Dragon, all found by a stroke of luck for a steal at a thrift store. We put up curtains, some artwork, and a couple more mirrors. Got some rad signs from @old5anddimesignco, who is also making our big sign – can’t wait to see it! Our first batch of cards and stickers came and went before we could even get our doors open – more on the way! We’ve done a few tattoos on friends to test out the space and find out which supplies we neglected to order, heh. We can’t wait to start working!  We’ll be posting an opening date as we get closer to wrapping things up.

More progress photos!  Put up picture molding and neon lights, got a rad old light table and some fancy mirrors.  Replaced the sink and light fixture in the bathroom.  The Glam Reaper joined the crew.  Learned that Brian is not only a tattooer, but an electrician and plumber as well.  Sarah is tired of painting.

We’ve already had people coming to the door and we don’t even have a sign outside yet!  No opening date set yet, but we’ll most likely open in April.  Super happy and excited, and we’ll keep you posted!