New Lombard tattoo studio hopes to break stereotypes
There's an image that often comes to mind when people hear the words "tattoo studio," Jerry Cross said.
"Everybody that isn't really aware of the newer trends in tattooing is just hung up on the stereotype that they're shady and for bikers or gang members, just very seedy overall," he said.
But that's not the feel you get walking into the new Color Theory Tattoo at 1047 E. St. Charles Road, which Cross opened this month with four friends: Ruben Avila and brothers Beto and Jimmy Munoz of Rising Phoenix tattoo studio near Addison and Fred Brown of InkTown near Lombard, where Cross also works.
"All the negative stereotypes that are stuck with (tattoo studios), we're trying to kind of break away from that," Cross said. "It's a comfortable place, it's nice to look at, it's not a dark alley somewhere. We're really pushing for a positive, upscale experience."
The artists hope the hardwood floors, warm green paint, modern couches and TVs and bar stools set up around five tattooing stations will make customers feel comfortable.
There are no display "flash racks" on the walls featuring cliché tattoo designs like dragons or hearts, Cross said. Instead, guests can check out the work of each artist on digital displays at the back of the studio and flip through tattoo magazines and catalogs to get ideas.
"It's more art gallery inspired," Cross said of the studio's concept. "The newer tattoos, it's not a 15-minute tattoo anymore. We have clients that sit for 6 to 7 hours at a time getting larger work done, so you want to have an environment where people can come in, hang out."
Eventually, the owners hope to host art shows at the studio too, to feature the work of local artists.
All five have won multiple awards and been featured in magazines for their art.
Each has a strong suit, Cross said, such as realism or illustrative and black and gray or full color.
"Everybody's got kind of their own little thing that they specialize in, but they do a lot of different styles too, so they can kind of accommodate to anybody's needs," he said.
The shop will be open by appointment only through the end of January, at which point hours will be noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
In the past, the 2,200-square-foot space has been home to a resale shop, video store and pet grooming place, Cross said.
The co-owners had to get a text amendment approved by the Lombard village board to allow the studio to move into town.
"There's not a lot of towns around that actually have that in writing, where they allow it in their city limits," he said. "It actually opens the door for other shops like this."
For more information, call the shop at (630) 785-3666.