Permanent Addiction Ink is a very interesting DesignAShirt customer and we recently caught up with some of the team members to have a discussion about their art and work. The tattoo studio was recently established in Osseo, Minnesota by award winning tattoo artist Matthew Sevig and his wife Helen Sevig. We want to preface the Q&A with a little background on tattooing as an art form and how people’s perception and attitudes towards it have changed throughout time.

The oldest known tattoo was found on the mummy of a 5,200 old inhabitant of Europe’s Alpine Region. Historically, tattoos could embody spiritual meanings such as protection against danger or even to gain supernatural powers. But tattooing has also been known to be a boundary between classes. During a period between the 18th and early 20th century, European royalty were fond of acquiring tattoos as it was an extremely expensive indulgence. In some societies though, tattooing was used to label slaves and criminals.

Tattooing in the United States began its rise to popularity starting with U.S. Navy. It’s estimated that in the late 19th century, up to 80% of enlisted Navy men were tattooed. The popularization of tattoos in common society started to pick up substantial steam in the late 80’s as graduates of fine art studies began to explore different channels in which to express their aesthetics. Tattooing was recognized in the U.S. as a distinguished art form once New York galleries and institutes began holding exhibits of tattoo work.

Certainly none can argue that when it comes to tattoos, people feel passionately about them because they are so personal. Here’s what the team of Permanent Addiction Ink has to say on the subjects of art, tattooing and interacting with clients that choose to participate in this ancient and exciting form of self-decoration.

Q: Matthew Sevig has acquired quite a bit of recognition for his work. Is there a particular award or distinction of which he is most proud?

– Although all awards have brought such appreciation and pride to his work that he is able to tattoo practically any style out there, “People’s Choice Award 2014” at the Minnesota Tattoo You Convention is an honorable one to have received. It feels humbling to be able to win a crowd over with a tattoo out of thousands of great artwork out there.

Q: What inspired you to open your own studio?

– We wanted to show the public a different perspective of how the tattoo lifestyle can be — clean, fun, and classy. We wanted a comfortable environment for our clients to be in and get the ultimate experience of what it’s like to walk out with something that will stay with them forever — Not just the tattoo but also the experience.

Q: Do you ever counsel customers on their desired design or the placement?

– Although we can’t pick what clients want on their body, we offer free consultations to walk clients through the way of making a permanent decision.

 Q: What is the most challenging aspect of tattooing?

 – The most challenging part of this career is getting clients to understand that artwork and tattooing takes time. A LOT of time. Many think and even expect it to be easy to whip things out in a matter of minutes when really it takes hours and up to days for a nice piece to be put together. Patience is key when it comes to art.

Q: Would you share some of the background inspiration that led to the choice of tattoo artist as a career?

– Art has always been a part of Matthew Sevig’s life. From auto-body painting, dental assistant, custom furniture building, airbrushing, oil painting, to sewing, every career choice Matthew has made had to do with using his hands. Tattooing, however, brings him a sense of happiness and pride to be able to see clients walk out with a smile every time, along with his artwork on them. His art will be carried on until the day they die. Creating walking canvases is something that has brought him the most inspiration to further on his career.

Q: Do you prefer custom to wall art?

 – We rarely offer “wall art” or “flash” tattoos here at Permanent Addiction Ink. Just like every person, we believe every tattoo should be unique and one of a kind.

Q: Do you have any personal opinions on the increasing mainstream acceptance of tattooing and/or being tattooed?

 – Of course we do. Our personal opinion and belief on the acceptance of tattoos is part of the reason why we decided to open up a business for it. Our goal is not to try to convince everyone to get a tattoo — it just isn’t for everyone. It’s completely understandable if it’s not your thing. However, our goal is to convince everyone it’s not something to frown upon, and it doesn’t change the person who gets the tattoo.

People get tattoos for many reasons, whether it’s to cope over a lost one, to relieve a certain pain in their life (illness/cancer, divorce, scar from surgery), to make themselves feel more beautiful, or simply because they love receiving ink. You can have tattoos and still be professional. You can have tattoos and still be a good person. That is what everyone should realize by now.

Q: As an insider, would you identify some of the trends in tattooing and share how you feel about them?

– Our hardest feat is to explain to the average 18 year old in for their first few tattoos is that THIS IS PERMANENT. So many just want a tattoo because they think it’s so cool and awesome just to say they got one. 10 years down the road they’re sitting in the same chair getting it covered up! Our advice is to get a tattoo because you truly want the tattoo, not because you just want to get one right at the moment and it’s a trend that everyone has right now.

Some recent trends of styles right now are watercolor tattoos, stained glass, trash polka, and the “gypsy” style. We love doing all of those styles and we try our best to keep up on the new trends coming out, but when clients simply want a watercolor tattoo and say they don’t care of what, that is when we have to remind them that they might be bored of the tattoo as time goes by because one day it won’t be in style anymore. However, if it’s a watercolor or trash polka, etc. tattoo of something that is meaningful, then that is a different story.

Q: Are these trends ultimately timeless or do you wince when someone requests, say, a tribal?

– Yes we wince when someone asks for tribal because it is a pain in the butt to do and nearly impossible to cover up when the client decides they’re over the whole “tribal” scene.

Q: What purpose do your custom tees serve in your business?

 – Our clients have always wanted something to represent where they received their ink from and since they are wearing the artwork, why not wear the clothing also? 

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