Faces & Places is a weekly series that profiles the people and places of Murray and the surrounding areas. Every person and every place has a story. Let us tell it.
For many college students, leaving home is all about gaining a sense of freedom. Some students choose to use that freedom to express themselves through unique tattoos and piercings.
In most cities, finding a tattoo shop is just as easy as finding a McDonald’s. However, in Murray it is difficult. My Reality Tattoo ‘n’ Piercing was voted last year by students as being the best tattoo parlor in town as a part of Best of Murray. The shop offers the lowest prices in town and is one of the cleanest studio settings, Stash, the owner of My Reality Tattoo ‘n’ Piercing, said.
Stash began tattooing when he was 15 years old, then began an apprenticeship when he turned 18. Stash then worked as a tattoo artist in Las Vegas and Los Angeles where he tattooed everyone from celebrities to models and rock stars.
“Some of the famous people I tattooed were cool and some were jerks,” he said. “I would have to say that Angelina Jolie was the biggest bitch that I’ve ever met. I gave her a private piercing while she was married to Billy Bob Thorton.”
My Reality Tattoo ‘n’ Piercing has three tattoo artists, Stash, D.J. and Nick, who all prefer to go by their first names. D.J., who has been with the shop for almost 10 years, is also the studio manager. In addition, she is the only female body piercer in Calloway County.
Nick is the other tattoo artist. “The reason I enjoy tattooing is because I want to create something that someone can fall in love with and enjoy for the rest of their days,” he said.
Stash said the name My Reality Tattoo ‘n’ Piercing came from his idea that he wants people to feel like whenever they get a tattoo there, it’s “their reality.” He wants his customers to bring their own ideas to the drawing table and create their own reality in the form of a tattoo. The shop has been open since 2000 and is the only shop in western Kentucky that has had to expand three times, and it is about to expand into the building next door.
On average, around 15 to 20 Murray State students frequent the shop daily.
“Some students are repeat guests and some of the students are new,” Stash said. “We even get people who are repeaters who bring along new people with them.”
While several customers, mainly females, get ideas for things like tattoos or piercings from websites like Pinterest or other social media sites, those are not always the tattoos My Reality Tattoo ‘n’ Piercing sees regularly.
Infinity symbols, feathers, anchors and wording, Stash said, are the most popular requests that come in.
“Anchors and wording are normally more popular with the guys, but here lately there have been a lot more girls wanting anchors,” he said.
The shop gets just as much business for its piercings as it does for tattoos. Belly buttons and all different parts of the ear are the most popular places customers want pierced.
“The most unique piercing we have had a lot of lately would be corset piercings,” D.J. said.
A corset piercing is a piercing that is done in a zig-zag pattern with lace strung through it.
The tattoo artists at My Reality Tattoo ‘n’ Piercing pride themselves on great customer service.
“Some artists say it’s distracting to have customers bring friends along into the rooms,” Stash said. “But for me, it is easier to do my job knowing my client is comfortable.”
Story by Breanna Sill, Contributing Writer