The people of Bushwick don’t have to travel far to get their next milestone or symbolic figure permanently etched into their skin. Gnostic Tattoo at The Loom opened its doors in October and is currently accepting tattoo addicts and other Bushwickians’ itching for ink.
I happened to be one of those ready to mark up their bodies, and Gnostic was the most fitting place as I wanted to stay in the lovely neighborhood of Bushwick. I recently left the great state of Texas and my first tattoo was meant to represent my journey from Texas to Bushwick. The state flower of Texas (a bluebonnet) is a classic Texan reminder to living and breathing in Bushwick today.
Gnostic Tattoo has already been gaining the reputation as the go-to place in Bushwick. Co-owner Leaf Chang, an artist and Boston native, has lived in New York for the past ten years and is excited to branch out by starting his own business.
A mixture of religions and pagan deities surrounds the tattoo shop and might make tattoo virgins like myself feel a little confused but strangely relaxed. “Tattoos have always played a part in ancient religions and cults, ” Leaf said, explaining the small touches of ancient religions and traditions that are located throughout the shop.
When it came close to getting down to business, the soothing trickle of the fish tank and the print of The Virgin Mary doing a line of coke seemed to tell my pounding heart, “You’re making the right decision.”
The paper work had been signed and the ink was being poured; there was no turning back. I was laid out on a plushy chair that felt like it belonged in a dentist’s office – my bare arm about to get its cherry popped.
My artist Maggie was more than accommodating once she began. “It’s not so much about the tattoo as it is about the art,” she said when asked why she wanted to tattoo.
I was getting close to jerking my naked arm away from the invasive tattoo gun, when Maggie reassured me that the process wouldn’t be as terrible as I imagined (I have a slight fear of needles).
She started with a small line, and I was finally ready to lose my tattoo virginity. Obviously the feeling of a foreign object being inserted into my skin was a little weird, but within a few minutes my skinny arm went limp.
After a while my arm was telling me she had had enough, but I focused on The Virgin Mary. I felt weirdly connected to her at that moment – two virgins, just trying to work through our issues, my nagging arm and her downward spiral of coke addiction.
The next thing I knew Maggie was wiping away the remains of ink and blood and I was left with a beautiful rendition of a bluebonnet on my arm. Texas roots proudly displayed with an exciting tale to accompany my Bushwick adventures.
Gnostic Tattoo is open everyday of the week except Monday and accept appointments and consultations online.