Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Alchemy Tattoo – 4/5 Stars

Alchemy Tattoo
$$ Tattoo
2854 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

I have officially completed my left arm sleeve at this place!

I work with people who worked with Mike (“Burns-y”) who worked at my work prior to me and subsequently became a tattoo artist who now works at this shop. If that wasn’t confusing: the tattoo I got was simple, clean, sharp, and good. Everyone who doesn’t like morbid things says it’s their favorite tattoo of mine.

I come to the shop one day. Mike wasn’t in but a ton of other tattoo artists and the owner were. They were scrambling to come up to the front and greet me. I told them I was looking for Mike. Everyone in the shop let out an exasperated “…oh” as if hopes for making a tattoo sale were just mashed. I came in about four times after, never formally, to look for Mike. I finally saw Mike the second time I came in and we talked about a ship tattoo. He seemed interested but asked me to come in sometime in the coming week to talk more about it. Afterward, the 3rd and 4th times I came in and he wasn’t there. I ask the owner of the tattoo shop about his whereabouts and he shrugged and told me to come in later or to email him and he’ll email Mike. He told me he didn’t have his cell number (possibly he didn’t want to give it to me). I then just got it from a coworker. We finally met up on a Friday. He was less enthusiastic about the ship idea on my chest and having anxiety about it actually. He said that it would look weird, he couldn’t do it, it would take too long and asymmetrical things (I wanted an asymmetrical ship) wouldn’t work on the chest. His reluctance kind of freaked me out, so being a friend-of-a-friend kind of person that he was, I didn’t want to just leave him with nothing. I thought about other nautical-related things and decided upon a compass on my top arm/shoulder area, next to my chest. It worked out for him (he’s a symmetry nerd, something very architectural about how he works), and was happy. He began drawing up the tattoo on the flash and we began tattooing about an hour later.

Things I would like to point out as I waited to get tattooed: The owner of the shopping complex, an older Asian woman, is really hyper-vigilant in an unnecessary way. I was hanging out in the back parking lot on my cellphone and she harped asking who am I and what I was doing there? “Uh, I am just loitering. Mind if I lay on your open tarp and tan for a fucking bit?” And if that isn’t enough, I believe it was she who has a parrot that also similarly harps. I thought it was a schizophrenic girl until one of the tattoo artists pointed out that it actually wasn’t.

The tattoo on the flash and the initial layout was unsurprisingly crisp. He used a very fine gun needle to tattoo me, which was the first time someone used something so crisp. It was almost like a lithographic print. He got extremely upset because I am jittery and my arm sometimes twitches almost spastically, not in a dramatic way, but in a way that his precise drawing became somewhat flawed when he added additional details to the tattoo that weren’t being traced from the flash. Don’t blame me if you can’t hold my spastic arm tight enough and make a mistake when free-hand tattooing. In any event, I came in and got some ink. It’s imperfect but it is crisp and looks like what it was meant to be. Good!

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