Is it your first time to Boulder? Do you want to fit in? Then you want to dress the part like locals. Boulder wins awards for being the happiest, fittest, smartest, foodiest, entrpreneurialest, greenest city in the nation. It is the hippest place at the foothills of majestic high mountains you want to be seen in. It is where cool meets rad in complete awesomeness. However there is shame at the base of these beautiful Flatirons. When it comes to fashion Boulder locals are a disaster. GQ calls Boulder “the worst-dressed city in the nation that looks best naked”. Too many yoga classes, hikes, rock climbing and bike rides to put on your finest attire. No time to change before the next activity. Boulder ware is ready for sweat not suave. To fit in, to really be a Boulderite at your core you will need to lower your fashion expectations quite a bit and show some high quality artistic tattoos. Boulder style is not found in clothes but in quality art sunk into the depths of flesh. Art and flesh meshed together tell a person’s story. What story does your body want to show and tell? Take your time there is no reason to rush an answer. If your dress code has not allowed you to get a tattoo before there are a few things you should consider before striving to fit into the local Boulder culture.
Tattoos are created by a skilled artisan stabbing at your flesh with an ink-filled needle numerous times to create permanent masterpieces of art on your body. You are the canvas and it is going to hurt, just a little. Recovering from a tattoo will require the same kind of care you give to recovering from a flesh wound but it will be more pleasant, fun and rewarding. Permanent scarring will occur but a tattoo will leave a scar of art for others to admire forever. Like any wound you need to let it heal before you show off your scars and share your story. Given that you are going to be living with this particular art for a long time it is very important to find a good tattoo shop. The temptation to bargain shop should be avoided. Look for quality and expect to pay a fair rate for the work of a skilled artist. People who have gone for cheaper tattoos end up coming back in to get them touched up in some other way. Over time that gets pricey. Rather than having an exact replica tattoo done of a photo engage the creative juices and expertise of the tattoo artist and see what they come up with. Take time and decide if you like their creative interpretation or not.
If you do you are going to get a better piece of body art that is both unique and reflective of your personality as interpreted by the artist. Once you have your tattoo you will want to protect your investment by giving it time to sink into your pores before you go sunbathing. Remember your new tattoo is not just a piece of art but a wound needing to heal in just the right way in order to match you and your tattoo artists’ vision. Many masterpiece tattoos have been ruined by those too impatient to wait before they enjoyed basking in the summer sun. Remember as the wounds of art heal on your flesh they are becoming a wonderful treasure chest of stories to share forever. When thinking about getting your first tattoo you should have a lot of questions to ask. Any of the tattoo shops in Boulder are happy to help you before they make an appointment to ink you. To help you fit into the local Boulder style scene here is a list of some of the tattoo shops in you can visit.
As You Like It tattoo and Fine Arts
1001 Lee Hill Dr #200D, Boulder, 303-443-1334
They know your tattoo is a piece of you forever, and they want to work with you to ensure you get exactly what you want, exactly as you like it. They are artists who focus on customers’ desires, artistic validity and integrity, and pretty much create the most bad-ass tattoo possible. As You Like It Tattoo & Fine Arts offers a relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere allowing for individual expression and the creation of truly dynamic custom tattoos.
Auspicious Ink Tattoo
635 S Broadway # G, Boulder, 303-993-4835
Quality custom tattooing proudly serving Boulder since 2008. A great place with talented, friendly people wanting to make you feel happy.
Blue Rose Tattoo Shop
1325 Broadway #218, Boulder, 303-669-5990
If you’re looking to elevate your wardrobe, there’s no doubt you should head to Blue Rose Tattoo they are both fast and professional. A Blue rose is often portrayed in literature and art as a symbols of love, prosperity, or immortality.
2735 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303-444-7380
Location-wise, Bolder Ink is a little further out of the way than the other shops in town, but it’s worth the trip. The custom shop is one of the oldest in town having opened in 1995, they have six artists who win awards regularly for their work.
Claw and Talon Tattoo
1695 Folsom St., Boulder, 720-379-6577
Claw and Talon wants you to show your love for the People’s Republic. The shop is part of the Boulder Tattoo Project, in which Kentucky-based artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova will ink words from a love poem ‘Boulder Zodiac’ by Boulder’s own beat poet extraordinaire Ann Waldman on volunteers. “People who call Boulder their home are called to become the canvas of an artwork,” according to the project’s website funded in part by a grants from the Boulder Arts Commission.
Freaky’s Smoke and Tattoo Shop
1135 Broadway, Boulder, 303-413-0420
Super friendly and helpful
Iron Bette Tattoo Parlor
2850 Iris Ave 1-2, Boulder, 303-549-9248
Iron Bette opened in August of 2013. When you come in you will be warmly greeted by Brad and his fellow tattooist, Daisy, both of whom emit an immediate sense that they are not only quite skilled in the art of tattoo, but also incredibly passionate and dedicated to the craft. “I saw tattooing as a platform where I could be commissioned to create fine works of art,” says Brad. “It’s incredibly rewarding to work with another person to bring their vision to life on their body.” As one customer said, “If you’re looking for attitude and generic ideas, go somewhere else. If you’re looking for a relaxed yet professional atmosphere with really nice and talented artists that communicate and work with you, go to Iron Bette Tattoo.”
Rising Tide Tattoo Emporium
3193 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-500-5046
Artist Phill Bartell opened up shop by himself in 2005. Since then, he’s enlisted the help of Darren Hall and expanded his business to include an art gallery. The opening gallery show in 2010 featured Ed Hardy’s famous art. They seek to bridge the gap between “tattoo art” and “fine art”, Rising Tide Tattoo & Gallery was born from the idea that one space could foster quality art on both skin and canvas.
1309 College Ave., Boulder, 303-449-4611
This shop on the Hill has three artists on staff and they’ve won a handful of the Colorado Daily’s CU & Boulder’s Best awards. They also have locations in Longmont and Westminster.