David Parks had no clue that Army garbage cans, a lone tattoo artist in Arkansas and his innate love of art would eventually land him at his own tattoo parlor — Comanche Street Tattoos in Kiowa — …
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David Parks had no clue that Army garbage cans, a lone tattoo artist in Arkansas and his innate love of art would eventually land him at his own tattoo parlor — Comanche Street Tattoos in Kiowa — after owning tattoo parlors in both Denver and Parker.
Always interested in art, Parks went to art school, but technology made his particular art degree obsolete before he shed his cap and gown. So, he enlisted in the Army, where his artistic talents were immediately recognized and utilized.
Parks’ sergeant-major noticed his doodling and felt his abilities would be better developed by painting the sergeant-major’s rank on his garbage cans. Not to be outdone by a sergeant-major, the colonel requested the same. Parks’ burgeoning career culminated in painting murals in the barracks.
After the Army, an electronics job took him to Arkansas, where tattoo artist Three Fingered Jack’s success was inspirational. He decided he could give himself a tattoo, and then his girlfriend and her girlfriend and so on.
A career as a tattoo artist became a reality more than 30 years ago, providing artistic expression as well as the ability to give his customers the opportunity to memorialize something important either in a very serious or whimsical design.
Parks feels tattoos are very personal to each individual in concept and execution. He gets to know the client’s story during design and again as they talk throughout the tattoo process. The pathos can sometimes be overwhelming depending upon the intensity of the stories, and it is hard not to become emotionally involved.
Parks feels a responsibility to his clients on their journey to discovering the right expression for their state of mind, and his deep compassion helps to guide a decision that may last a lifetime.
Parks spoke to Elbert County News about the nuts and bolts of the tattoo business.
Do your customers need to be concerned with the hygienic aspects of getting a tattoo?
Different municipalities have different requirements, but all implements are now consumable. The sharp needles are actually mailed to a company that disposes of them and all designed for single use. It is really a matter of ethics. I could sterilize needles and use again and no one would know but it is foolish because the needles only cost $2 and the sterilization process would cost much more. Besides, the integrity of the needle suffers some each time it is used.
Are tattoo artists required to be licensed?
Once again, it depends on the municipality. Denver requires a license but you pay money and pick up a license. The only real requirement is a cursory Red Cross course in preventing disease transmission taught by volunteers. As expected, you pay your money and get a badge to display near your station. The health department does a once-a-year walk-through in Denver. However, here in Kiowa, I am the first and only tattoo shop in Kiowa and the infrastructure does not exist for licensing requirements.
Do tattoos diminish with time and need to be redone?
Yes, tattoos will fade. I have had mine for 30 years but I take care of myself with proper nutrition and try to remember to always use sun screen. The aging of the tattoo depends on the how well the individual takes care of themselves. Lotions and sunblock help. Treat it the same way you treat your aging skin. Sunburns cause cellular damage and that reflects on the tattoo.
How difficult are tattoos to remove or cover up?
Removing tattoos requires laser treatment which is very painful. It is more painful than getting the tattoo to begin with. There is also heavy-duty makeup like Dermablend that does a good job of temporarily covering the tattoo.
Is there a great deal of consultation before you do a tattoo?
Yes. I need to discuss the reason behind the tattoo and the design to thoroughly understand the expectations of the client. Every tattoo is a message and it is incumbent upon me to find out about the customer and their story.
How do you care for your tattoo immediately after receiving it?
It is bandaged when you leave. This bandage needs to be removed for healing and care needs to be taken like with any other wound. Scabs need to be protected and the wound needs to be kept clean.
I do not take responsibility after the client leaves the shop.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/comanchestreettattoo/ or 720-416-5373.
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