Few readers have been sending me the story about a food vendor called Bing Mi! in Portland, Oregon.

The biggest gripe besides the owner is not Chinese yet selling one of the most traditional northern Chinese food item, is the fact that its signage is wrong.

Although I have no problem of the proprietor columbusing Chinese pancake wrap, but its signage is somewhat silly or a poor pun attempt.

劍兵 (sword soldier) on the sign is not associated with the delicious wrap in terms of context, rather it is the homophone of 煎餅 (Chinese pancake wrap).

Lady Luck Expo

This weekend the Biggest Little City will host the 13th annual Lady Luck Expo at Circus Circus Reno Hotel and Casino.

Click here for Expo details 

What started as a conversation between a few tattoo artists has since turned into a World Class Expo that hosts over 100 tattoo artists from across the country and the world. The Expo provides an entertaining and fun place to gather regionally for those interested in anything tattoo.

We took a few minutes to speak with the creator of the event this past Tuesday and here's what you need to know about Tim Azinger and the Lady Luck Expo.

This Expo isn't Azinger's first rodeo. He's been at it since 1993. In fact, last year was the 22nd annual Expo "Meeting of the Marked" M.O.M. in Monroeville, PA - a similar gathering he started on the East Coast as a new tattoo artist.

For Azinger, this Expo is  his labor of love to all the tattoo artists across the country. So much blood, (literal blood) sweat, and tears goes into organizing these conventions to make them a bad ass event!

"You literally wrap up one convention and a week later you are already planning for next year," Azinger said.

For Azinger, part of what hooked him on establishing these events was the camaraderie among the tattoo artists that you can't get just by working out of your own shop,  and that is how Lady Luck came to be.

Jason Freeman of Triumph Tattoo attended the M.O.M. 13 years ago and mentioned Reno as a hot spot for something similar to take place. The idea was planted and the rest is history!

15 years later, the Lady Luck Expo is now one of the most popular tattoo conventions on the West Coast. 

Azinger has also helped start similar Expos in Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle. What Azinger loves about the Reno Expo and what sets this one apart from the other events he does, is both location and tattoo history.

"Reno is well organized and it has a strong tattoo history," Azinger said. "It's a little town but 30 years ago, even the National Tattoo Association helped the city do their first event. It's a good destination spot, being close to San Francisco and Sacramento and its a great draw for the metro cities that aren't too far away."

When asked who some of the artists will be at this year's Expo, Azinger made it clear that he's not promoting a celebrity tattooers event.

"Everyone that's here will be a good, solid, quality tattooer," Azinger said. "It's not about someone being famous and signing autographs. Instead, no matter who comes here is
 going to get a great tattoo."

The Expo is open to the public at 2 pm on Friday and goes until Sunday at 7pm.

Contests for best full back, full sleeve, portrait/realistic, and traditional will happen throughout each day and an after party for Absolute Tattoo's 10 year Anniversary will happen on Saturday night.

A variety of vendors will be there from custom made jewelry, body jewelry, artists who create their own art outside of tattooing, custom clothing line and more. 

"I love having all these tattooers here in town," Azinger said. "I hope people will come out and support the event and make it a great time. We have a lot of great tattooers that are here. We hope you'll take part in the different contests and categories and have a great time. If you are at all interested in anything tattoo, this is a great event to check out." 

Modify Your Thinking - Artists and OSHA training

This Friday the 13th Annual Lady Luck Expo, supported by M.O.M. Productions and Absolute Tattoo,  sets up shop at the Circus Circus Reno Hotel and Casino in downtown. 

Several national and international artists will come from as far as Canada, Massachusetts, Florida and as close as your back door here in Reno, ready to ink your skin. 

Tim Azinger, event creator and producer of the Lady Luck Expo said healthy tattoo standards are a huge part of his practice and of  the artists who participate in the Lady Luck Expo.

"Part of caring about tattooing is caring about our customer's safety as well as our own," Azinger said. "That is the direction that tattooing is taking and we want to do everything we can do to provide a sterile event." 

Artists who tattoo at Lady Luck had to submit an application to the health department and get a temporary license to work at the convention. Besides working directly with Washoe County to go by their set guidelines, Azinger also offers local artists the opportunity to improve their game. 

Kris Lachance of Safe Art Works hosts a seminar for local and visiting artists to attend before the Expo begins. She's been doing it for Azinger for 13 years. This year, the event is called  "Modify Your Thinking," a Bloodborne Pathogens Seminar. 

Offered  to professional tattoo artists and piercers with an opportunity to be OSHA certified, Lachance enjoys her trips to Reno and sticks around to enjoy the Lady Luck Expo for herself. 

"I love coming to Reno," Lachance said. " I love the show, It’s an amazing show. It's very well organized." 

And for tattoo artists nationwide, 

 "I wish more would invest in educating themselves with industry specific classes like this." 

Lachance bought her own tattoo shop, Splash of Color & Piercing Studio  in '97, and at the time, there were no industry specific standards in Michigan. Interested in raising the bar and bringing more credibility to the industry, she looked at the medical and dental fields and took what applied  to fit the tattoo and piercing industry.  Lachance started working with David Zidra of Health Educators, Inc. for 17 years but three-years-ago she branched out on her own and created Safe Art Works. 

Lachance wants to bring professional artists together in a unified voice to raise the bar and level the playing field. 

"When it comes to sterilization and infection based control, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’re not educated properly, you're making an assumption," Lachance said. "There are no federal regulations for tattoo practices, no standards, anyone can open a shop. Standards are minimal for the amount of exposure we have to blood and body fluids." 

 While Lachance is passionate about equipping tattoo artists and piercers with material that will bring healthier practices to the industry she also hopes to make really clear  that the purpose of her Seminars is not to limit or hinder freedom of expression but to build a strong base to practice art from.

 "It has nothing to do with stifling anyone artistically," Lachance said. "You will be able to practice longer and do more artistically if you have this training." 

Those in the industry know that "scratchers" may enjoy creating art on your body from the comfort of their living room, but they aren't known for doing it safely. 

Professional tattoo artists typically maintain some measure of health standards to protect both the artist and the customer from infection and disease.  Without respect for safe practices, the industry has been tainted by lower standards since exposure to bodily fluids can cause viruses and bacteria to spread if not handled correctly. Knowing how disease is spread and avoiding exposure is an important part of the entire experience for  professional tattoo artists.

Carlos - Your Humble Barista Man

If we could describe this next person in only one word it would have to be cool.

Carlos Ayala is one cool cat. He is as smoothe as the coffee he brews. In fact, we're fairly certain that the urban dictionary included the word with him in mind.  Born and raised right here in the biggest little city,  if you're ready to hear his tattoo stories, you'll need to sit back, relax and enjoy a good cup of joe while you're at it.

We had the pleasure of hearing his story while sipping on a cup of his cold brew iced coffee and must say, the man makes one mighty fine cold brew.

At 23-years-old, Carlos got his first tattoo of a gun taken from the Black Keys album.
When asked how many tattoos he has now he said, "Too many to count!"
But he's not counting, because as someone who loves art, tattoos are just another expression of that.

"I’ve always been into art," Carlos said, "I used to do sculpture/ceramics back in the day." As part of his love for art, each tattoo is something he has thought about.

Although Carlos had known for a long time that he wanted to get tattoos, he waited until he knew it would be something he would be happy with forever.

From his arm pieces, to his chest and back pieces, Carlos has had eight tattoos inked in the span of five years. One thing he's found interesting is that the more he gets, the more painful they seem to be.  But perhaps it's all about placement.

Right now Carlos is getting a Sugar Skull full back piece by artist Jason Freeman of Triumph Tattoo. Where he used to be able to tolerate the pain for hours, he has only been able to have work done in one-and-a-half  hour increments on this particular piece.

"Usually, I could do three to four hours at a time , but this has been extremely painful, like close to tears." Ayala said. But Carlos is dealing with the pain because he knows the end result will be worth it.

Although Reno has a plethora of shops to choose from, Carlos had good things to say about the tattoo culture here in the city.

"I kind of like where it’s going," Ayala said. "I like how Nightmare (Now Lasting Dose) has changed and it has an art gallery. It seems people are getting more into the art side of it."

Carlos says the art gallery at Lasting Dose is one example of how the Reno tattoo culture is at a good place. Upcoming conventions like the Lady Luck Convention later this month promote the artistic side, says Carlos. The diversity and different styles of art that are available at the convention is what draws people. 

"At conventions you get to meet all sorts of artists who have all different styles." Carlos said.

 For Carlos, he attributes his good experiences to doing his homework ahead of time.  

"I do a lot of research, I look at their portfolios, their Instagram," Carlos said. "I ask around to people who have a lot of tattoos. When I wanted a traditional piece, one name kept coming up and that’s Jason Freeman."

Although it was tough to choose, Carlos said his favorite shops are Lasting Dose for the art gallery as well as Aces for the overall feel there and the guys are really cool.  Yet when  it comes to the artist,  if they have quality work out there and a good reputation, Carlos is willing to check them out. What it really boils down to is quality work and enthusiasm in the piece.

"When I go to my artist, if he’s not stoked about it, I’m not going to have him do it for me." Carlos said.

He's had some of the best artists around town from Jason Wheeler (who moved out of the area), to John McCann, Carlos Perez, Mike Curatello and now Jason Freeman who is working on a full back piece.

"I like getting work done from all sorts of artists," Carlos said. "It’s just like I can’t have the same cup of coffee every day."

And Carlos knows his coffee! Here's the rest of the story on Carlos, the Humble Coffee Roaster.  

"When I picked up coffee everything just kind of fell together."

He's actually a pro! Carlos spent a week training at Klatch Coffee in Southern California, one of the largest professional coffee roasters that boasts a quality, casual and laid back experience for specialty coffee roasters. While there, Carlos trained with two-time U.S. Barista Champion Heather Perry, no relation to Katy Perry, although in his own photo caption, Carlos wishes he could play guitar, but we digress.

As most of his fellow co-workers know, Carlos has a side business called Humble Roasters Coffee Company and while Carlos has been working for Patagonia for eight years now, coffee is what he dreams about at night.

"I actually got into brewing coffee at work," Ayala said. " There was a guy in our returns department who used to brew coffee and we would give him money but he ended up quitting."

And that's when Carlos quietly started brewing for his co-workers in the warehouse. His coffee was a hit, and soon people were paying him for a cup of quality coffee in the morning.

"It’s either this (working at Patagonia) or my coffee." Carlos said, but he's definitely working on his dream to open his own shop someday.  Carlos attributes a lot of his success to a good friend Aiden who is the head roaster at Kolika Roasters here in Reno. Carlos gets his organic fair trade beans through Kolika, a roasting company here in Reno and they get their beans from all over. For anyone interesting in making their own roast, Carlos is sure it can be done at home. You just have to buy good beans and know how to do it. That's exactly what he wanted to do. Aiden inspired the name, Humble Coffee with the idea that they could make the best cup in town but say it in all humility.

Outside of his next tattoo or good cup of Jo, you might also find Carlos climbing or playing soccer, a few other hobbies done in his spare time. In addition, Carlos prides himself on taking in the world's beauty through photography - using every form of camera imaginable. You can check out his photo blog at Carlitosaa.blogspot.com.

" I love shooting with all kinds of cameras – from film, go pro, iphone, digitial – if it’s one thing I love more than coffee it’s photography."

Carlos sells his cold brew coffee in a 1 litre bottle for $20 and a growler size for $33. Refills are $25 on the growler. Carlos is currently working on a website but in the meantime, if you'd like to try Humble coffee give Carlos a call at 742-4310.

For more information on the Lady Luck Convention taking place here in Reno, March 20-22nd, check out their website.  We hope to see you there!  

No..el and Jen <3

Artist Chris Palmer

We are honored to introduce you to one of Reno's toughest tattoo artists around. 
Chris Palmer is a man who has been faced with both tragedy and triumph in his life and he's handled both with tremendous courage.
In fact we would go so far as to say that he has handled triumph with humility and tragedy with grace. 
The traces of tragedy to triumph are trickled all throughout this mans life but especially this past year.

Chris and Kristine Palmer are a beautiful couple who are excited to welcome one of life's most precious moments. The birth of their newborn child is expected this March and while this is without a doubt a triumphant moment in life, tragedy was right around the corner  when this past summer, Chris was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer. 

For  most people this blow would stop them in their tracks but for Chris Palmer who has been tattooing skin for 14 years out of Sinful Skin, he's taking this news with a strength and courage that is truly inspiring and he's not about to stop tattooing.  In fact, talking with him recently, he has been more inspired than ever before.

He really is a man on a mission to tattoo until death does he part. 

(Photo of a tattoo on Chris's  arm that says, "Until Death" with an ink bottle)

 Chris Palmer's story starts stateside. Born in Provo, Utah to a large family, Chris moved around a lot. By 1st grade, his family settled in Reno, and he has been here ever since. In high-school, Chris survived a trampoline accident that left him paralyzed and when faced with this first tragedy in life he didn't let it keep him down.  He did however realize that his physical activity would be limited, so he started his love affair with the world of art.

When Chris graduated from High school though he decided to get started on a degree in Chemistry at UNR. He already had 4 years under his academic belt when he got his first taste of tattooing.  A friend bought a tattoo kit and Chris offered up his skin for a piece of practice canvas. He was 21-years-old and when it didn’t turn out to be the greatest tattoo, Chris thought “I can do better than this!” After fooling around with the tattoo machine for awhile, he decided to leave UNR to pursue tattooing full-time.  

"I always wanted to be an artist, but tattooing was just cooler" Chris said. 

Chris bought the tattoo kit from his friend and tried it out on his own leg. When friends and family saw the quality of work Chris did from scratch, they asked him to work on them. At 22-years-old, Chris was hired to apprentice at Sinful Skin in Reno and after a month and a half, he was hired on as a full-time tattoo artist.  
Little did he know that after five years at Sinful Skin, he’d have an opportunity to become the owner. The shop was located off E Plumb lane and Chris worked hard to make it a great place to work.

 “I’m not a confrontational person, and my shop was always real stable,” Palmer said. “I only picked other artists that I had things in common with. We did have some terrible things happen with some of the artists, but for the most part there was no drama.” 

While his family was initially against the decision to leave school and pursue this profession, Chris says they came around. 

“All the artwork that I produced was something they were real proud about,” Palmer said. “It used to be, my dad would say ‘my son owns a business’ but now my parents say ‘my son owns a tattoo shop.'

"I think the bright colors and the art aspect of it changed their mind on what this industry is about.” 

Recently,  it is with a heavy heart the doors of Sinful Skin were closed so that Chris and his family can focus on getting better and welcoming this new addition to their family. It is the end of an era for the doors to close after 14 years of Chris's life being lived there.  Chris has always done very well in this profession and attributes it to loyal customers of Reno who spread the word.

 Like we said, he may have closed his shop, but he hasn't stopped tattooing. While Chris owned Sinful Skin, one of the artists who apprenticed there, Dustin George Brown, did really well for himself and started his own shop called Valor Tattoo behind Rapscallions. After being with Chris for six years, Chris was happy to see him do well for himself. Recently, Dustin invited Chris to come over and work his creative magic in a private room in the back. While Chris continues to tattoo out of Valor, he is also working hard to kick Cancer's ass!

When asked which tattoos have been the most challenging pieces to do, it was more about where the tattoo is desired versus what will go on the body.

"For me it’s really placement," Chris said, "The neck, the front torso, the belly are tough. As far as design goes, most of the time it's simple, but sometimes people bring you something that is too tight or tough to fit into what they want."

At his core, Chris is a cool cat. He's not going to cause trouble and wants no part of it. For this reason, he refuses to do any pieces that are gang related. His favorite pieces are realism, the neo-traditional, Sailor Jerry pieces, anything realistic and traditional with thick lines. 

One of Chris's  new favorite tattoo's is one his wife recently gave him.
Although Kristine is a graphic design artist, this was her first tattoo - the words "I love you" on his arm.
This is where we want a share their love story and because it all started out of a tattoo shop we feel like it fits!

When Chris first met Kristine, while working on her tattoo, he saw that she could hold her own when it came to conversations about art. For Kristine , who started out painting and drawing, she decided she wanted to get paid for it, and so she moved into graphic design as a profession. 

"We could talk about art and critique stuff together," Palmer said. "It was cool. I guess it was really fun to talk about things with her. She wasn't just like yah, that's great, she had things to say about the art too. So I did that whole stalker creep thing, I got her consent form and her number." Chris laughs as he retells the story.
"It's just interesting how it shifted, there's something about some people and there was just something about Kristine."  
After being together for about a year,  Chris and Kristine got married in the Virginia City graveyard on Halloween. They rented a house for family and friends to enjoy,  and they all came dressed up and went trick-or-treating in the city that night after their wedding. With their 10 year old daughter, Celeste, they are expecting a baby this March and have  decided to wait on finding out the sex of the baby, one of life's last known surprises. 

Chris' favorite thing about being a tattoo artist is realizing that his work will live on past him.
He recommends to those who are looking to get their first tattoo that they should be comfortable with the artist. 
"Don't be impulsive" Chris said. "Find the right artist for you. What's a couple more days or a couple more hours." 

"So many young people that I'm tattooing right now, they will have these things that I created and made, traveling canvases." Chris said.  "You kind of forget the faces but you don't forget the tattoos." 

It has been really amazing how the tattoo community and really Reno at large has come to support Chris and Kristine during this time.

When owners of TNT Landscaping found out Chris didn't have insurance he hosted "Cards for Chris" at the Elks Lodge. People gave donations of all kinds for participants to win - everything from sub-machine guns and gift certificate. The 80 players who came together raised a lot of money with most of the items auctioning for about seven times what they were worth.
Another event is under way to help raise more money for Chris and his family by many of the local tattoo artist here in Reno. It is set to take place on May 9th, and as it gets closer we will have more details to follow!

For Chris, every day counts. And he's making the best of it.

"It makes you appreciate life so much more," Chris said. "You just try to live through life not doing any harm, not be judgmental, and to love everyone. My family and my wife are a huge thing that keep me going.  I’m glad when I come in and can say that I tried today and gave someone a cool tatt."
In his spare time, Chris likes to shoot. Although not a hunter, he has a gun collection and likes to mess around. He also loves to oil paint and draw.

Noël and Jen <3

Girl Power - Tanya

We thought that this being a web/zine written by two girls,  it was about damn time to get some girl power up on this here site!
We don't even know if it's legal to say the word Adorable combined with a tattoo site but dammit, we are gonna say it anyways -  this girl is Fucking Adorable!!

Tanya Nawrocki, who originally hales from Worcester Massachusetts, started her trek west as a senior in high school when her parents moved to Tennessee. At 19-years-old, Tanya left Tennessee to follow her friends to the Silver State, first settling in Las Vegas. In 2011, she landed in the Biggest Little City, where she's been ever since, and plans to stay for awhile.

One of the reasons we are so excited to share Tanya's story is because there are still so many stigmas attached to women with tattoos. Unfortunately, some still really look down on tattoos, and especially women with tattoos. Although this trend is changing, it is commonly insinuated that a woman with tattoos is considered to be loose or that she's not very feminine. All of these stereo-types are, of course, just that - stereotypes and Tanya blows them all right out of the water.

As a momma of twin 6 year old girls, Katelyn and Kristina,  it's important to her that women aren't  exploited or defined by what they wear or just so happen to have inked on their skin.

"Although tattoo modeling has made females with ink a more acceptable thing to look at, it also objectifies women a lot," Tanya said. "I think with more heavily tattooed women there's always a stigma. I think it's intimidating, especially since I have children. It can be a little weird for other parents. But once they get to know me,  it's different."

Tanya waited until she was 18-years-old before she got her first tattoo on the back of her neck. Living in Johnson City, Tennessee at the time, there were only two tattoo shops to choose from, so Tanya walked into Johnson City House of Ink and picked out her first tattoo. Saves the Day was a band she loved at the time and their logo was a Lotus Flower. She took the image from a limited print t-shirt and the artist created the image.

As a teenager, Tanya found a way to hide it from her parents but as she started to get more tattoos, she had to let them know and they were pissed.

"I think there was a prejudice  in Johnson City," Tanya said. "It's definitely a smaller, more rural area and I don't think it was as widely accepted 10 years ago. It's definitely becoming more widely accepted now."

When she first started getting tattoos, she felt her tattoo options had to be more feminine. As time went on, she thought that getting a cool half sleeve would be fun and then she decided to get her whole arm done. As she learned about tattoos and the artists and began to appreciate the art more it grew from there, and she realized she could get anything she wants.

"Once I started thinking that I'm not limited to roses and birds, I saw that there's so many more designs and artists. I didn't really know about this when I started."

"I'm personally glad that I waited until I was 18-years old!," Tanya said. "If I would have had work  done from high school, I totally would have regretted it. "

When Tanya first moved to Reno,  she worked full-time for Absolute Tattoo.

"I love Reno, Reno is great!" Tanya said. "it's close to everything and there's way more to do."

Now, Tanya has a full-time job elsewhere but continues to help out with Absolute events, like the upcoming Lady Luck Convention that they help sponsor and a recent Toys for Tots Drive that Absolute did in December.

We were curious if Tanya had ever been turned down for a job based on the visible tattoos on her skin and in Tanya's case, this was not an issue.

"I've been fortunate," Tanya said. "However, that being said, I think everyone should really consider getting tattooed in a spot that's visible like your hands and neck."

Tanya explained that where she works currently, the atmosphere is accepting but  if she were to lose her job that may or may not be the case.

"But at the time, I did feel stable in my career to make that decision," Tanya said. "I really hope that will change but it really is a decision that you make yourself so you have to deal with the consequences."

In Tanya's Academy Award of Tattoos here in Reno, the top finalists are Jason from Triumph Tattoo, Mike and Tony from Lasting Dose Tattoo, Chris, Lucas and Joe of Absolute Tattoo and John and Ron from Aces.

Tony of Lasting Dose Tattoo, and the Lucky Cat

Tanya had this tattoo done for her girls, who requested it.  Interesting fact - Tanya knew Tony before he ever worked on her pieces. Over 10 years ago, Tanya met Tony when she she was living in Tennessee and Tony was in a band called  Armed for Battle. She enjoys seeing where they've both come since then.

With the number of pieces Tanya has on her body, less and less space becomes available for art.

"You start looking at your body as available real estate," Tanya said.

Currently, Tanya's first tattoo is in the process of being covered up so that she can have a full back piece in honor of her love for metal music. She plans to get the Grim Reaper.

Tanya's most expensive piece was done at the Lady Luck Convention by Silije from Scapegoat Tattoo in Portland. Tanya really wanted this specific shop as it's 100% vegan friendly. That's when she got the lighthouse on her leg and paid $500 plus a $200 tip saying that if she can tip, Tanya trys to tip the artists.

Tanya used to get stopped more frequently with people asking about her tattoos. At times, she's had people physically reach out and touch her tattoos or grab her arm to take a closer look. Recently, she's reached a point where people look from a distance and start conversations about the pieces instead.

"I know people are curious and I have no problem talking about it," Tanya said, but if I'm walking down the street with my kids, I don't want some gross ass guy touching me. There's a stereotype that heavily tattooed people don't scare about personal space and that's just not true."

Outside of being a walking canvas and getting awesome artwork on her body Tanya also enjoys....
collecting records, baking vegan treats, and banging her head to heavy metal records.

No..el and Jen <3

Artist Jason Freeman

This past Friday we had the distinct pleasure of meeting one of Reno's long-standing tattoo artists,  Jason Freemon. The history he gave us on the face of tattooing in Reno was invaluable and we felt honored that he shared part of his story with us.

Immediately upon walking into Triumph Tattoo where Jason was the owner for three years, until handing it over to co-worker Tyler Lunt, Jason has definitely left his mark. With stencils hanging on the ceiling from several unique tattoos he's done over the years, to a rather large leather portfolio that sits on the coffee table out front, Jason's style and art are everywhere you look.

From the time he got his first tattoo when he was 14-years-old, Jason has made tattoing his life. Despite his dad's attempt to remove his first tattoo with lemon juice and brillo pad, the tattoo remained and so did his love for the art. Apparently, his brother  got the worst of it that night - OUCH!!

Originally from the Bay Area, Jason's first real job as a tattoo artist was in Santa Cruz at Curiousa Tattoo Shop that was once the comic book store on the movie Lost Boys.
Jason later moved to the Bay Area where he wound up buying and selling FTW Tattoo Parlor in Oakland before he moved to Reno in 2001.

This is not your sub-par tattooer people, Jason's work is bar-none some of the best in the business. As a full-time custom tattooer who specializes in traditional Americana and Japanese genres, Jason has been in Reno for 14 years and has quite a legacy in town.

Take for instance his attempt a few years ago to beat the Guinness Book of World Record's Most Tattoos in 24 Hours By A Single Artist. While Kat Von D may have brought to light the record, she was only able to do 400 tattoos and Jason came close to the current record holder, with a final total of 704 tattoos.  The record is currently held by Matt Geigamah of Salt and Light Tattoo in Chandler, Arizona with 811 tattoos. What makes Jason's attempt  even more unique is that he offered 11 different designs where others only offered one.

"It was a great event," Freeman said, "Unannounced to the general public, it was also a benefit for my good friend Kevin Cox of Aces Tattoo who was in an accident that left him partially paralyzed. I was able to raise $5,000 to donate to him in 24 hours, with the help of my staff and 35 volunteers. My face was focused on the tattoos and I never got a break but it was a great night with great people in a great city!"

After the event, Jason offered free touch ups on all tattoos done that day and if a customer wanted to add color or rework the tattoo into something different, he offered that for $20.

Freeman's work has traveled the world, with one piece in the Horiyoshi III Yokohama Tattoo Museum in Japan. With extensive knowledge and background in the industry, his work displays clean lines and classic bright, bold colors that distinctly define the styles.

 Although Freeman attributes some of  the boom in business to Kat Von D, he is not a fan.

"I think she has no respect for tattooing, she uses it as a hustle to make herself rich." Freeman said. In Freeman's mind, there's probably a better way to go about highlighting the business than the way her show does it.

The approach that fellow tattoo artists come into the business of tattooing is important to Freeman who spent time reaching out to Mayor Cashell at a time when Cashell first proposed a six-month moratorium on any new bars or tattoo shops in 2011 until stronger restrictions might be introduced.

"I'm not one for regulations," Freeman said, " Don't get me wrong. But when it comes to as many shops that we have in the area, something's got to give."

Freeman put together a proposal for Cashell that loosely outlined a way for the city to earn money with revenue from quality tattooers and hinder, even stop, the pop up tattoo shops from continuing to open doors for business. His proposal would basically grandfather in those shops already in operation but open the future of tattooing in Reno to an apprentice program and higher standards overall.

"Anyone can put up shop and anyone does," Freeman said, " Basically, I was trying to propose an apprentice system that would be licensed through the Health Department."

Although Freeman never heard back from the Mayor after several times contacting him, Freeman still believes that there should be some standards in the industry.

“Some people don’t really know what a good tattoo from a bad one is.” Jason said. “ What they should be asking a tattoo artist is how good is your work is, not how much it is.  Some people understand it but some people don’t. A lot of people just want a cheap tattoo but most people want the best for the cheapest and don’t understand it takes time and talent.” 

His most challenging tattoo of late was one he did recently of a Stephen Hawkings equation. Just the size of the numbers was difficult to do well on the wrist that was requested.

“I’d much rather do back pieces or any piece really.” Freeman said.

The only contest and award he’s ever gone out for, he won first place at the Salt Lake City Convention,  – 1st place for full back pieces. 

What’s kept Freeman tattooing for 22 years is the freedom on the job and the people who have come into his life along the way. 

“I get to do what I want to do, I get to do my art," Jason said, " I’ve met all sorts of different people and I’ve been able to travel around the world with my art.”

Back in 2001 at a  Pittsburg convention, Freeman and Lee Hannah of Dixie Rose Shop met and started talking about Reno. At that time, there were only four tattoo shops in Reno including Body Graphics, Sting Ray, Aces, and Pirate. They began to formulate what is now known as the Lady Luck Convention.  

Freeman remembers when they had an art gallery of almost every painting in his book R.I.P at the first one. The convention was a hit from the first year it arrived in Reno and Freeman sold every painting in the gallery. Triumph Tattoo will have a booth again this year.  In regard to the Lady Luck Convention,  Freemans says, “It’s a fun place to hang out. If you really want to get a tattoo, this is a great chance to get tattooed. "

Besides keeping busy with tattooing, Freeman has written several books on the craft including R.I.P which is a compilation of artwork from tattooers around the United States and the pieces deal mainly with death, hence the title. He has also  written another series of IMagazines called Wolf Wizard which has a feature tattooer, tattoo model, subculture section and painting section.

This year, Freeman will have 50 art pieces in the new gallery that is now at Lasting Dose Tattoo (formerly known as Nightmare) the entire month of May so be sure to check that out.

Some of Freeman's many inspirations for artists include; Derek Noble, Richard Stell, Theo Mindel –  Uzi, and Josh Palmer.

Outside of tattooing on people, Jason likes to ride his motorcycles with friends down to Los Angeles or Mexico. He also has his tattoo books on Itunes and his Wolf Wizard series on Itunes as well. He has a 9 yr old son who is a "badass" and goes to conventions with him. 

If you are looking for a piece of history about the city of Reno as well as getting an amazing tattoo from a bit of legend then Freeman is your guy. 

You can find him at 

Triumph Tattoo
241 W. 2nd St.
Reno, NV 

Jen and No..el <3