Business Reviews

Kingpin Tattooing & Piercing - The Finest Across the Land

Written by  December 31, 2003

When you walk down the steps into Kingpin Tattoos you know you’re in a top notch shop. To the right is a comfortable waiting area, and straight ahead is a room filled with rack after rack of tattoos that are neatly arranged in swinging poster frames so you can easily flip through the endless selection to find the perfect one.

In yet another room is the main tattooing area, which reminds me of a quaint old-fashioned barber shop with a row of chairs facing a huge mirror that runs the entire length of the room. Each work station is spotless, awaiting the next customer to walk through the door. You can tell this area is setup to do business, and with seven tattoo artists on staff, they do a lot of business! Owner, John Monk says, “Weekends around here are crazy. We often have every chair filled and customers in the waiting area.” John is the tattooing kingpin and his brother Josh handles the body piercing side of the business.

While I was talking with John and Josh, a first time customer popped in while on his lunch hour for three quick piercings. Just like you’d stop by a convenience store for a soda, chips and candy bar, before I’d finished my conversation with John, the customer was on his way back to work with three new holes in his head. I asked Josh what body part was the most popular area to get pierced these days, and he said, “The tongue is real popular, as well as the eyebrows and naval.”

Before the next customer could arrive, I figured I’d better get my questions asked before it got busy.

CC: How long have you been in business?

John: I’ve been in the tattoo business about 11 years.

CC: Have you always been at this location?

John: We’ve been here almost 10 years, and before that, I worked at another tattoo shop.

CC: How did you get started in the tattoo business?

John: My dad was a tattoo artist and he got me interested.

CC: What makes Kingpin Tattooing & Piercing stand out from your competition?

John: I don’t feel we really have any direct competition because the majority of our clients are loyal repeat customers and referrals. I submitted a photo of my work to Tattoo magazine a while back and they put it on the cover of their magazine. Since then, I’ve had customers fly in from Arizona, California, Illinois, Nebraska, and even Alaska!

CC: Wow! That’s impressive. Is there any one customer you’ve spent the most hours tattooing?

John: Yes. I have one client who is working on a complete body suit and I also have several clients who have a full sleeve (see photo below).

CC: What should someone look for when choosing a tattoo artist?

John: Check out the artist’s portfolio and ask to see some of their work.

CC: Are the majority of your customers men or women?

John: I’d say about 70% are women.

CC: Really? On what part of their bodies are all these women getting tattooed?

John: Their “girlie area” is the most popular spot.

CC: Their girlie area? And where would that be…do tell?

John: It’s their lower back.

CC: Damn! I was hoping for something a little more erotic. Oh well…so what type of tattoos are they getting on their girlie area?

John: Tribal designs are real popular, and so are bugs and flowers.

CC: Do you tattoo many bikers?

John: Yes, quite a few. I have tattooed several members of the club I belong to, as well as members of other motorcycle clubs.

CC: What do you ride?

John: I ride a custom built chopper with a 113 cubic inch S&S engine. Possum, who’s now building bikes at Black Diamond Choppers in Shawnee, Kansas built it from the frame up, and Scott Thomas with KC Creations did the painting (see photo below).

Awesome! A beautiful bike, a successful business, what more could you ask for? If you’re looking for a great tattoo by a well respected and nationally recognized tattoo artist, drop by Kingpin Tattooing & Piercing at 3618 S. Noland Road in Independence, Missouri and tell John and his crew that Mike with Cycle Connections sent you.

Story & Photos by Mike Schweder

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