Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's new at Lucky 7 Tattoo....

Well Cats and Kittens, the Tahoe winter is kicking in. Nights have become much colder  (Russell and I have even had to stack another pug on the bed for warmth!)
Mr Fetchy Con Carne, bed warmer.

Cherry Blossom Branch
by Ben Karnofski
@ Lucky 7 Tattoo
Lake Tahoe, Ca
 Sadly the snow is mostly man made on the ski slopes. Mother Nature must be involved in some other business she deems more important than winter sports and mankind's thirst at the moment. Over the years we at L7T2 have come to figure out that our busiest winters are a "drought year." There are a few reasons I believe this is the case. Most folks who travel to Tahoe in a light snow year are disappointed with conditions on the slopes. Therefore they decide not to venture out more than a day or 2 when it is "rock city" on the their equipment. In addition, not many people will spend the big bucks a lift ticket and resort amenities costs when the mountain is only partially opened and the conditions are lacking. So some of those smart skiers and boarders decide that a trip to visit the world famous Lucky 7 family is in order. Thank the Heavens - or Mother Natures laziness in this case.
Blue Crawdaddy by
Ben Karnofski @
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe

Fall and early Winter are always slower than the rest of the year in our shop. The Holiday season has consumers spending their resources on everyone and everything besides themselves. In order to keep our family/staff from getting too bored, and to help clients get themselves a holiday treat of ink or new metal this time of year, we have come up with several discounted offers that aim to please and get you in our door and away from your visiting relatives!

Double Dermal Anchor AKA Single Point Piercings
By Kathleen @ Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing
Kings Beach / North Lake Tahoe, Ca.
2 For 1 Piercings on Wednesdays - by appointment only. You can split the deal with a friend, pick any piercing and jewelry style. INCLUDES DERMAL ANCHORS. This event sells out every week, so call me know to reserve a time. Deal ends December 14 th

$25 Off Tattooing Certificates. These little babies are available in store, just for stopping by and saying hello! Wow, what an easy way to save yourself a few bucks! This offer ends on December 31st, so don't wait.

10 % Off Tattooing or Piercing Cards. For those newbies who are contemplating their first tattoo or piercing, and cost is a concern, this discount is for YOU and has no end date. L7T2 wants your first bod mod to be a great experience. No cut rate, half ass fly by night shop is going to exceed your expectations like we know we will. So email, call or stop by for your consultation and discount card to get started. This promotion ends May 30 th 2012
Peace Sunflower by Ben Karnofski
Lucky 7 Tattoo
Kings Beach/North Lake Tahoe, Ca

10 % Off Tattooing and Piercing for all Resort Employees. This offer is good for ANYONE who works for any ski resort, or in hospitality services in the Truckee, Tahoe and Northern Nevada areas.  Just bring in your current employee I.D. and receive the savings. This discount program ends April 15, 2012.

Starting in January L7T2 will have some new promotions to reward all you true blue friends/clients. Our wish is to kiss the lingering recession "adios" and get back to growth, both in overall sales as well as breaking new ground in our industry. Please feel free to forward any part of this blog to a friend so they can join in the savings. Offers can end early, and may not be combined.

Good Luck Clover by
Ben Karnofski @
All the tattoos included in this blog entry are inked our youngster Ben Karnofski, now a big grown up young man of 19! He's been a part of our team for over 2 years. The fellas and I sure are proud of the work he is creating. Ben has gone through his apprenticeship "old school" style. The time honored and traditional way that is customary to our trade. Sadly so many of the "tattooers/scratchers" that have popped up in droves for the past 5 years just buy equipment from eBay, look at videos online and attempt to "teach" themselves. Their victims have that "learning experience" for the rest of their lives, or until they can afford to pay a tattoo artist to cover it up or rework that "deal" they received in a friends kitchen or fly by night shop. Ben did his training the right way, and it sure does show, don't you agree?

Thanks for opening and reading this handy dandy little nugget from us here at L7T2. We so appreciate your business, and look forward to a brand new year just around the corner. All my best! Kathleen @L7T2

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Watch out T.V. Viewers, Here Comes Lucky 7 Tahoe...(maybe)

                                                                                                            Well my friends, our cool news wouldn't fit on Facebook. Therefore I decided to use the blog to explain what all of us at Lucky 7 are so happy to finally be able to tell you about. The Lucky 7 family is under contract to a producer and a director for a reality show "demo" for television! What this means is, The extended Lucky 7 "family" will film a "mini pilot" the last 2 weeks of December. Then the folks who signed us will take that footage around to networks and see if they can sell it as a special or series. This is NOT to be like the tattoo shows you have watched for the last 6 years. Of course Lucky 7 will be a huge part, BUT the focus is the relationships between me, my husband Russell and 2 of my ex-husbands ( Corey and Jason) all working together and being our strange modern family unit. Crazy huh!!??!! All of the staff and Corey's wife Amber will be included. All the craziness that is our lives will be possible entertainment for the masses.
By no means is selling this pilot to a network a "for sure" thing. However, the fact that we have even made it to the "demo pilot" stage is a HUGE deal. We all gave filmed interviews a few months ago, and passed the test to go to this stage.
I am sure you want to know how this all came about? Well, the producer found us online from our website and my blogs. The producer was looking for a unique family business to work with and found ours to be just what he wanted.
Now that we are set to film the last 2 weeks of December, I have a request from all of our established clients. We would like to have YOU in the demo, getting tattooed or pierced. Anyone who schedules on the filming days will be given a deep discount on their work while the filming takes place. That way, we can have a cool crowd of clients/friends to add to the vibe of the project. And I am sure that will make it easier for the family to shine on camera. Interested? I thought so! As the dates are yet to be set in stone I will have to update everyone as soon as I know. What I would dig is if you can e mail me ASAP so I can start a tentative schedule for everyone involved. Please copy my private e mail address:
Get at me asap and let's make a great demo! Lord knows half the crap on television right now is terrible. Think good thoughts and perhaps this miracle may really happen. All my best and thanks for reading.

  1. Kathleen & the Crew.

Russell and Kathleen of Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing Lake Tahoe.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Cherry Tattoo

Cherry Tattoos

Cherries have been present in the tattoo community for decades. It is a seemingly small fruit that has become an icon in traditional tattoos as well as in the fashion world. From underwear to purses and clothing, cherry print is an ever present decor usually associated with sexiness and confidence. Of all the fruits, why cherries?

Cherries by Russell Fortier

The sexual connotations of the cherry within western culture is something that really can't be ignored when discussing this design. Cherries have become a symbol of purity and temptation. A preserved and intact cherry is readily associated as a symbol of virtue and virginity. With this interpretation it is also associated as a symbol of temptation, as something that is forbidden but still desired and yearned for. The cherry is a much more popular design than the apple which is the forbidden fruit in biblical terms, but tangibly the cherry creates a much more graphic image with its soft supple flesh, and sweet red juice. It is a much more delicate fruit and can be damaged or defiled more easily. A person with a tattoo of a cherry with a bite out of it, or a split can be interpreted as someone who has lost their virtue or who has given into temptation. Tattoos of cherries with whipped cream or chocolate sauce are all the more sweet and tempting.

Sailor Jerry Flash

Cherries are also a prevalent symbol associated with gambling a slot machines. Gambling, like sex, is another topic that many consider a vice. Another source of temptation that can bring great gratification or great hardship.  

Skull Cherry Painting by LEGO

Whatever reason a person may be motivated to get a cherry tattoo, there are a variety of great designs to fit the needs of any client. It is a sexy symbol most often associated with femininity that makes a great tattoo anywhere on the body. They are often seen on the hips or near the pelvic area which heightens the sexuality factor, but common on many other parts of the body as well. You may want a cherry tattoo simply because you like the way the design looks. Regardless of what connotations this design has, it has and will be a prevalent design in tattooing that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If you don't have any tattoos, it is a great design to have your tattoo "cherry" popped.   

Cherry Wooden Cutout

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Why Do Tattoos Cost So Much?" Read up and know the deal...p

Plumeria Tattoo By Ben Karnofski @ Lucky 7 Tattoo
Back in 1986 I got my first tattoo. It was around my 18th birthday, and I was so ready to take the plunge in to the pool of ink. In those days you pretty much had to pick your tattoo from a flash sheet off the wall of the shop. The price of the tattoo was listed on a small worn white sticker next to the pattern, so you knew up front how much you were going to be charged. $20 was like a $100 to me back then, but I paid the $18 happily and walked out of that old biker shop in Belmont California as happy as I ever was at that miserable age.
Monkey in Branches By Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo
During the next 6 years I ended up getting 4 tattoos, all at different shops. Prices for tattooing were going up, and the pricing stickers began to come down as more an more California shops opened, offering custom tattoos. At this time the tattoo customers were starting to choose  their tattoos on areas of their bodies that were more difficult for the tattooer to manage. More lower backs and inside arms increased prices and the artist opened nicer, cleaner shops and studios. Demand increased for the small number of great artists. A new style of shop and artist was coming up in the early 90's. I became a piercer in 1992, getting to watch this industry evolve from the biker "parlors" of the past, into full on businesses.

In the last 5 years tattooing has exploded. No longer am I looked at by older folks as some type of demon for being covered in ink. For better or worse, television has taken a rebel act - a way of life-and made it an acceptable art form for almost everyone. Television and the media have advertised tattoos as a type of meaningful  "keepsake" for the masses. It has created the mindset that each tattoo must be thought out, always be uber original and have some deep meaning in order to "justify" getting the tattoo. Trust me dear reader, until this decade most tattoos had no more meaning than to say "F+*# You to the rest of society by the outlaws who wore them. Alas, things change, and I appreciate anyone who walks through the doors of my shop to get ink from my family. Which brings us to the topic I started this blog entry with. "Why Do Tattoos Cost So Much?"
"Weathered Tree with Raven" By Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo

Did you ever notice that you never see money change hands on the tattoo television shows? My guess is because it doesn't make good t.v. I also imagine all the fans of these programs would have their dreams of getting ink by a celebrity tattooer flattened and stomped on by the rates these famous tattoo artists charge. More power to these stars for their great marketing skills-yet it makes it difficult for us in the real world to explain to a tattoo virgin that Lucky 7 prices are $140 an hour, and yes it really takes many hours to ink a sleeve. It always looks easier on tv!

In this new era of the business of tattoo, no longer do potential new customers come in and look at portfolios for the quality of our work. First thing is asking "how much", while trying to describe an idea they have. When we politely answer  $140 an hour, you see some folks just about pass out. Eyes roll and attitude comes forth where none existed before. When we let the potential client know our minimum is $75 for even a tiny star on a finger we also get the big sigh of displeasure. Soon after loud comments of "My friend got hers done in Oklahoma for only $35." Also this gem, "well another shop told me half that price." Or my personal favorite is when I am shown a terrible home made mess of a tattoo done in a kitchen by a so called "licensed professional" or "friend who is learning ", and then being told they paid $25 for this pile of excrement and expect me to fawn all over them for showing it to me. This is what we now deal with daily. Thanks the GODS that we have a large regular clientele that appreciates great tattooing by artists who love what they do. If not we would be in the position of so many of these new fly by night shops popping up by the dozens. Hiring so called "tattooers" who never apprenticed under an established artist, or even learned the correct placement of a needle into a tube. Self taught with too much bravado for their own good. Making a mess of peoples bodies for the lowest price possible just to make scratch to pay the rent on the hovel of a shop, and bounce around the local watering holes acting like a stuck up jerk just because he thinks he can tattoo. Yes these are the folks we now compete with in a tough economy. Each day we see the horrible mess these scratchers put forth. Often times people come to us so we can fix or cover up these messes. Sadly they now have paid much more to go through the tattoo process twice and spent twice as much to get what they wanted. All in the quest to save a few twenty dollar bills. Sucks for everyone but the scratcher.
Butterfly Skull by Corey Boobar @ Lucky 7 Tattoo
And all those mobile tattooers, or the ones that advertise on CraigslistScatchers do this because they can't get a spot in any shop, good or bad. They can charge very low prices because they answer to no one. Not the health department, not a landlord, not even you if you are not happy with the end result. The don't care because if they did they wouldn't lower themselves to operating outside of the law. Each person who tattoos outside of a licensed shop is breaking the law. If they don't care about the very basics, perhaps they don't care about reusing needles, or pouring inks back into the bottle? Who really knows?! No one, because they answer to NO ONE.

Let me break down what it cost to run our family owned shop. All amounts are per month. $2000 for rent. $400 for insurance, $200 for power, $100 for phone and internet, $150 for trash and sharps (needle) disposal, $300 for basic office supply, $500 for needles and inks, $200 for gloves, $60 for cleaning products, $90 for distilled water..this is just the bare bones of operations and we are already past $4000 a month! That is before any one of us takes home a dime for ourselves and our family. The shop is always first in line to be paid for.

There is no such thing as an "easy tattoo." It is a huge pet peeve to the artist when people beg us to cram them in to a very full schedule. "But its a really small and easy tat" they whine. To the person who is inking you for life, they take on a level of stress that cannot be fully described. Yes, some designs and locations are easier than others. Yet we strive for perfection on every tattoo every time. Would you want anything less? Understand that any good artist should make a fair wage to do their craft, and to take on the stress of your tattoo. Have patience when an artist says " I can't tattoo you today, but let me design the tattoo tonight and schedule you on another day."  Know that good artists and reputable shops are not trying to rob you! What you pay for is a great tattoo in a licensed shop that is following the letter of the law. Those laws are in place to protect your health as well as the artist. I am sure you don't want a burned out tattoo artist who has to work 14 hours a day just to make a livable wage, right? Then please respect the prices tattooers charges for great work in a clean shop. You get what you pay for.

Last but not least. It is smart to price shop a pair of Levis 501 jeans. It is the same pair of jeans in every store, just some stores have better service and atmosphere. Save money on goods. When you choose a service -which is what tattooing boils down to- always pick the best you can find and afford. If money is short, save up! Waiting a few weeks isn't going to kill you. It makes you smarter than so many people who rush in without doing their research. That "bargain" tattoo isn't going to seem like such a deal when the joy of paying so little wears off and you hate the results that last a lifetime.                                      

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Skull Tattoos..A little history with photos and sass from Kathleen Volume 1

During the last decade skulls were a HOT design with trendy, fashion forward folks all over the Gods green earth. Starting with traditional tattoo style skulls designed by Ed Hardy, everywhere you eyeballed from 2002 until 2009 was layered in skulls images. To me, it always seemed a wee bit crazy that an image so iconic with death, manliness and outlaw biker culture was being worn on little girls t shirts emblazoned with rhinestones.
Sugar Skull / Day of the Dead Skull by Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo
in Kings Beach / North Lake Tahoe, California
Yet with this now tired clothing trend the tattooing of all types of skulls became hugely popular. So much so our staff puts-on average- one skull a week to skin still.  I believe that the "skulls on garments" trend in fashion played a part in making skulls good business at this moment in time. Of course skulls have been a mainstay in tattooing since rubbing soot in to cut skin started in tribes 10,000 years ago. One of the great qualities of any skull design is the timelessness of the skull image in any form.
Creepy Black &  Grey Skull by Corey Boobar @
Lucky 7 Tattoo, Kings Beach, North Lake Tahoe, California

Even when a skull tattoo is done poorly, perhaps with just a grainy looking outline and a few black holes for eyes, nose and mouth  - you still know exactly what the image is suppose to be. Not many shapes can be identified that quickly or universally. As small children we are taught that a "skull and crossbones" image meant the contents of that container was poison and therefore bad for us. Or if that same image was on a ships flag it is called a "JOLLY ROGER" and meant  pirates commanded the vessel.

Indian with Head Dress Tattoo by Ben Karnofsky @
Lucky 7 Tattoo Kings Beach / North Lake Tahoe, California

Skulls as an ageless symbol have a great number of positive and negative meanings in different cultures. Interestingly, except for marking poisons, there is no "common" meaning worldwide. Skulls meanings have been evolving ever so slowly from ancient antiquity to our modern times. Going back to the Aztecs , skulls were kept by warriors from battles. Then brought back to their village tribe as trophies to symbolize death and rebirth.  For the last 500 years Mexican culture has taken some bits from their forefathers in Aztec worship of their dead, added ritual from the Catholic religion brought over from the Spaniards who conquered and settled South America and added a bit of their own twist - all brought together to create "Day of the Dead." Skulls and skeletons are the symbols of this celebration honoring departed loved ones each year on November 1st. A tradition treat for this holiday are candy skulls, with the name of your loved one written on the skull of your sugary confection. These treats are to be eaten by the dead souls earth bound loved ones.

Traditional Americana style Sugar Skull for "Day of the Dead"
By Corey Boobar @ Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing,
Kings Beach, / North Lake Tahoe, California

Other ancient cultures have used skulls as chalices for sacred drinks while worshiping , celebrating victories or displaying the skulls of their enemies to intimidate others. or to show their tribes "fierceness."
It is said by a few sources online that some outlaw bikers believe tattooing a skull on their forearm helped them cheat death. Personally I think that is bogus, but hey, it sounds good huh?! In London of the middle ages many of the population could not read or write. Businesses and craftsmen used universal symbols to let lower classes and the illiterate  know what each storefront or trades person did. Some prostitutes of this era used a skull with no lower jawbone as a wordless way to advertise that they were a "working girl." Wonder how that "logo" was decided upon?

Carpe Diem Grateful Dead Skull by
Corey Boobar @ Lucky 7 Tattoo
Triple Skull in One by Corey Boobar
Lucky 7 Tattoo, Kings Beach, North Lake Tahoe, Ca.
                                                                                                          Remembering back to Halloween of my childhood (before parents got over protective and created "safe" Halloween) my mom use to bust out all sorts of cool, scary decorations. My personal favorite was a skeleton with movable limbs that glowed in the dark. I use to pose him as a model. My brother would always make it look like it was grabbing its my mothers great embarrassment. Funny I never thought about how gruesome some of the images were from "All Hallows Eve." All the bones were just part of the celebration of this fun Autumn ritual as a kid.

Under bite Skull with Massive Fangs By Russell Fortier @
Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing, Kings Beach / North Lake Tahoe, California

Black and Grey Double Tartarus Skulls by Russell Fortier @
Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing, Kings Beach / North Lake Tahoe, California

The beautiful Hindu goddess Kali has a Garland of skulls around her neck when in her "fighting" form. She is quite the warrior, even shown eating the innards of her husband at times. Yet this Goddess also is known to offer worshipers "Life." Part of Kali's spiritual make up also includes "Time and Change." The skulls themselves are to represent "Karma." I LOVE that!

Hope this bit of info was fun for ya. If you enjoy my blogs click an ad and help me keep the faith. Or leave your e mail address and be sent a copy of my new entries as they happen. As I hope to write a few books in the next couple of years I dig feedback of all kinds. Don't be shy, take a moment to

Sunday, May 8, 2011

First Tattoo? What To Know, What To Do and Who and What To Avoid.

Gold Butterfly in Flight by Russell Fortier- Lucky 7 Tattoo
and Piercing, Kings Beach-North Lake Tahoe, California

   Some of you who read my blogs, or know me in the flesh, are familiar  the story of my first tattoo experience back in 1985. For those of you who do not let me just tell you - it was a crazy situation involving a guy I was dating. Going to the first shop I could find, picking a design for the wrong reasons and having that tattoo covered years later after working in a good tattoo shop and detesting my poor first choice of design and artist.     

It is now 25 years later. Having worked in or owned tattoo shops for 20 years I have a great deal of hands on experience in all aspects of this industry - customer service with first time clients, AND I have worked with some of the best and the worst tattooers of the past and present. What I offer below is NOT a standard list of "make sure the tattoo guys wears gloves or ask to see the business license" This list is to give you much more useful information that pertains to your tattoo experience as a whole. 

(Fine Line Script By Russell Fortier / Lucky 7 Tattoo)
  1. Carefully consider where on body/temple you are going to wear this art for the rest of your life. You will never get a job at a Fortune 500 company with a tattoo on your neck, no matter how much more socially acceptable tattoos are, than compared with even 5 or 10 years ago. Also, not every tattoo design works well on every part of your body. Think about a possible second location for your skin art just in case the design does not fit properly or look pleasing on the first area you pick.
  2. A phone book is no place to choose any type of service professional, EVER. Ask your friends who have GOOD tattoos what shops and artist they like the best. If you see a stranger with a tattoo you admire, say hello then ask who their tattoo artist is. Look at reviews online. Sites like Citysearch or Yelp are very helpful with reviews by previous customers. Make sure you get the full working name of an artist as well as the shop name. Very good tattoo shops can still have a lousy artist.
  3. Beware of any person who says they are a tattoo artist - yet works out of their home or comes to yours. It does not matter if they say "well I am between shops right now" or "it's much cheaper if you get tattooed outside of a shop." Why would a so called tattooer be selling their "skills" this way? If someone if truly good at what they do, and they pass a background check, then a shop will give them a job. Tattoo shops are governed by county Environmental Health Departments for a reason. To keep you and the tattoo artist safe and disease free. All good tattoo shops staffs are trained in how to handle any possible mishaps and have undergone bloodborne pathogen training. Shop owners gladly pay out money every month for you to have a safe, pleasant tattoo experience. Ask yourself this question: "If this tattooer was really any good, would he  have to advertise on Craigslist - saying he will trade ink for patio furniture or marijuana?" Which leads us to.....
  4. "Good tattoos are not cheap, cheap tattoos are not good." This saying has been part of the tattoo industry since FOREVER, for very good reasons. Tattoo artists make a good wage for doing a highly skilled and artistic job. Tattooing can be fun yet stressful in the very same moment. Good shops and their tattooers spend money constantly on the best inks, sterile needles, tattoo machines, tubes, disposable single use goods, books, training, etc...the list can be quite long when a shop cares about the tattoos they create and their customers. If you are on a budget explain this to your artist. There are options with the pricing you may not know about. (In Lucky 7 we have a lay-a-way program.)  Perhaps the tattoo can be divided into more than one appointment? Size and placement can greatly increase or reduce price (the soft, stretchy inside of your upper arm will cost more and take additional time than your shoulder.)   To save yourself and the tattooer embarrassment, DO NOT start loud talking about how some other shop said they would do the same tattoo for half the price you were just quoted. Your tattoo is not like a pair of Levis 501 jeans.  We always quote a fair and upfront price in our shop. Good, well managed tattoo shops want you to come back again, get more tattoos and recommend them to others , and will not gouge you with an over the top, unfair price. If you do not care about the look and quality of what is on your body then price shop every hole in the wall chop shop you can find, getting the "art" dirt cheap. You will be back to see us at a later date, (after your friends and family clown you and your shitty cheap tattoo) for us to cover up your "bargain." 
  5. Do some dreaming, then some homework. At Lucky 7,as in other shops, we are happy to give our thoughts, expertise and advice while you are working on your tattoo design ideas. We can assist on what you could incorporate.  Or even expand or redesign an existing tattoo that just isn't quite what you had in mind. Before you contact a shop you might like spend some time thinking about the following: How do you see the tattoo in your minds eye? Color or black and grey? The size and placement? Any certain type of tattooing styles you most enjoy seeing on others? Write all your thoughts down, then assemble them into a list of important key points. You can even draw a pencil sketch! No one in the shop is going to laugh or give you a bad time for trying! All artist appreciate you making an effort. As you can imagine it is impossible for a tattooer to be a mind reader or a copy machine. 
  6. When the time comes to go check out a shop in person call ahead or check online for their hours. Very few tattoo shops are open 'bankers hours." If you have a certain artist in mind you want to work with check to see if they will be in the shop that day and if he would be able to chat with you about your tattoo? Is there a best time to stop in?
  7. Once you arrive and walk into the shop, take in everything with all your senses. Does the staff great you warmly, or blow you off with a nod? Is the lobby separate from the tattooing area? Is the overall feeling clean, neat and business like or messy and dirty? Does the tattoo area have a washable floor covering or is it carpet? Dust and smudge marks on the displays and portfolios? Is the music too loud and jarring or fun and upbeat? Ask to use the bathroom. My dad always said "you cant trust eating the food in a restaurant that has dirty bathrooms." WORDS TO LIVE BY- THANKS DAD! -  Watch the staff do their jobs. Do they answer the phone in dirty gloves, or even worse, then go right back to their work without changing them? Food particles on tattoo or piercing work areas? Are you getting a good vibe from the entire place or just feel like you want to walk out? ALWAYS listen to your gut.
  8. Speak to the staff. Do they answer your questions thoughtfully and want to be helpful, or do they act as if you are bothering them?( Do keep in mind tattoo shop staff are not going to kiss your ass, and if they fall all over you trying to convince you to get tattooed RIGHT NOW, with fake charm, they are desperate for work, and that means something isn't right.) Staff should be cool, but not cold. Does your artist listen? Or talk all over your sentence? Good tattooers listen to everything you have to say about the design so they can do the best job they are capable of. You might want to skip the parts about the "reason I am getting purple in the tattoo is because it was my great grandmothers favorite color and she died 10 years ago with her cat in her lap while watching church on television." See what I mean? Too much information for the artist, but tell your friends on Facebook when you post a picture of the tattoo you LOVE, from a shop you liked very much because YOU DID YOUR HOMEWORK AND GOT A GREAT TATTOO AND HAD FUN WHILE GETTING IT! 
  9. Many good shops require a Drawing and/or Appointment deposit. It is not to be "mean" or because they don't like you. Each shop reasons vary. At Lucky 7 we charge the drawing deposit because it shows real intent from the potential client to get tattooed. Sadly some people like to waste an artist time by having them draw designs they cannot afford or having the artist draw all kinds of different designs so they can "see the tattoos man, and think them over til I get some money and figure out if I really want any of them." Artist are happy to draw for you more than once. But they want to know that the design is going to become a tattoo soon. Appointment deposits are to avoid customers having to wait around all day to get tattooed. Sadly, when no money is required for an appointment, some folks book the artist time not even sure they really are going to go through with getting the tattoo. Rude people don't even call to cancel. By then the shop has most likely turned away other customers who have called or come in for a tattoo. So the artist and shop then have no one getting ink, and therefore make no money for hours that day. At Lucky 7 we always use the deposits toward the total price of the tattoos. BUT they are non refundable, so make sure you have everything lined up for work and babysitters.
10. For everyones comfort, please do not bring your entire family and every friend you have. Of course bring your best friend, spouse, priest  - whoever you enjoy having around for companionship when you are nervous. Or if they are an important part in your personal story of the tattoo. That is totally cool. We want you to relax as much as you can and enjoy the moment. Please, no children under 12. Most shops never allow kids. We do not "hate" children folks. Sometimes adults are partially nude while getting tattooed. Even with room dividers it may not be comfy for them to have children around. Kids get bored with how slow the tattoo process is. In some cities, you must be 18 years old to even enter.

Black and grey skulls by Russell Fortier at Lucky 7 Tattoo
Kings Beach/North lake Tahoe, California

    Lucky Koi  by Corey Boobar @
    Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing, Kings Beach/North Lake Tahoe, Ca.            

    We have covered some new territory than previous blog "tattoo shop/what to look for" lists. A few of the other most common things to know are all over the web. The information is worth a look. Most of the contents are about sterile needle packs, gloves, etc. The easiest way to remember that boring yet important shop sanitation stuff is this:
    The tattoo shop staff should be just as conscientious as any support staff you would see in a doctors office. Changing their gloves after the touch anything besides you. All needles being removed from sterile, single use packaging. Autoclave spore test available. (This test, by an outside lab, makes sure the shops sterilizer is working properly at all times.) All areas wiped down after use.

    Thanks for reading. Hope you found it helpful. if you have questions feel free to email me. If you enjoyed this blog, please click any ad on this page that may interest you and recommend it to a friend. Check out my personal blog

Aztec by Russell Fortier at Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing,
Kings Beach / north Lake Tahoe, California

Jessica Rabbit By Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo
Kings Beach / North lake Tahoe, California

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reach for the Stars

By Corey Boobar

Star designs have always been a staple in the tattoo industry. Some have significant meaning to individuals, and others just like the look of them. Nautical stars are a very popular design, and their meaning or significance has evolved over time. Sailors used to get these stars tattooed a symbol of safety, protection, and guidance. They were able to navigate based on the North Star, which guided them home with safe passage. Sailors aren't the only ones who get nautical star tattoos, and many people get them as a symbol of hope, guidance, or a symbol of home. Some people, especially in our region and within the younger generation refer to these stars as "nor cal" stars, as a symbol of pride in being from/living in Northern California. 
Stars can also be a symbol of ones faith or beliefs. The six pointed star, or the star of David, is often a symbol of Judaism. The five pointed star within a circle is called a pentagram, and is often associated with wiccan beliefs, or even satanism. Many people believe this symbol to represent the elements. Each point representing earth, wind, fire, water, and the spirit. Shooting stars are also a very popular tattoo design symbolizing a brief moment in someone's life that left a lasting impression. Others may get star tattoos to simply represent the night time. Stars can represent a goal you are reaching for, or something far off but within sight. A lot of people just get star tattoos for the simple fact that they like the design and the aesthetics. Whatever the reason for getting a star tattoo, we are happy to accommodate your designs and visions, and provide for you the best tattoo experience we can. 
Thanks, Kindra

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sometimes Change Can Be Good For us....

Change and partial cover up of Butterfly with roses in to Butterfly and Cherry blossom branch.
Tattoo by Russell Kashey-Fortier at Lucky 7 Tattoo, Kings Beach/North Lake Tahoe, California.
When I was just a little tiny woman in my 20's, I would fight change tooth and nail. To me, change represented discomfort, having to learn new things, and the possibility of someone or something disappearing from my orbit. Never wanting to put more than the minimum effort into my life AND being scared of the unknown kept me from making changes happen that would have benefited my life in ways I cannot even imagine at 43 years old. No first marriage, quitting my chump change  jobs, and letting people tell me how to live "properly." So glad I finally stopped being scarred and just listened to my gut! Now change is welcome in my life. No longer having" fear of the unknown" has helped me love living in my own skin in a bunch of ways. Especially when it comes to tattoos......

Me and "Rocker" Dave in 1985, around the time of our trip to "Biker Bobs Tat Shop" in Belmont, Ca.
Way back in 1985 My rocker boyfriend and I went to the local biker tattoo parlour in Belmont, Ca. I was going to get something real tough, like a black rose with a tiny drop of blood hanging from its thorns. How punk rock! Rocker boyfriend was set on inking the Led Zeppelin Swan Song logo on his arm, you know the drawing of the male angel getting thrown out of heaven that was on their albums? Yeah, that one. Well Dave being the smarter of the two of us changed his mind after observing this "tattooer" and his shop. Me? Well I had a death wish, PLUS I wanted to show Dave how down I was for him,  my bright idea was getting Dave's Swan Song design on me! Pretty punk rock of me huh??!!

Well Dave wasn't as impressed as I had hoped, and shortly after, I moved to Tahoe and Dave moved on to other girls. After a number of years of rockin the Swan Song tattoo it was time for it to go. By the 90's I had become a body piercer, and had a clue as to what a good tattoo is.

My boss at American Grafitti in Sacramento created a big, wonderful Queen from Disney's Snow White as a backpiece, skillfully hiding my tiny, ill conceived "Dave tribute/Rocker tattoo." As my boss shaded over my sad little tattoo he had a good laugh, and I blushed, and change was very good indeed.

Moral of the story. If you have a tattoo that is dated, a name of someone you no longer date, or a tattoo of a butterfly that instead looks like a date you would buy in a grocery store, you CAN change it. Come on by Lucky 7, let the fellas show you want can be done to cover up and change that tattoo you no longer dig, or maybe never did like. Keep you mind open. Not all ideas work well, but plenty can be done to make you happy with your ink.

Let me think about where this blog is going kids. I can take it. Follow us, and/or leave a comment for me. I sure would appreciate it.

Kathleen @ Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing North Lake Tahoe, Ca.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Working with your Husband and Ex-husband without bloodshed!

There is one question that clients of Lucky 7 ask on a consistent basis. Once they feel comfortable with our funky modern family run shop,
the courage comes forth and out pops "How can you work with your husband and ex-husband every day !?! I couldn't do that!!!
<span class=Blockquote" border="0" class="gl_quote">

For those of you new to the Lucky 7 tribe - Corey is my business partner and a tattoo artist, AND my ex husband who I met while working at a Sacramento tattoo shop in the 90's. Russell is my tattoo artist husband who I have been married to for 5 years. And I, Kathleen, am the 4 times married body piercer who has married tattooers 75% of the time I walk down the isle.....

Back to the customers question of " HOW" we / I can all work under one roof.
One thing enters my mind right away. Corey and I worked together for a year before we got that thought of dating / getting naked in our heads. He was coming off of a 6 years relationship. I had taken my first husband through a drama and boozed filled 9 years. We came into the courting relationship with some barely healed wounds. But hey, we both love to gamble, so we decided to give it a go. Always having a great time together. Laughing our tails off at the same inside jokes, dining on mexican taquaria food at 3 am. Still managing to keep an easy, fun - yet professional vibe at the tattoo shop. The two of us together made the others at the shop view us as a team so tight we were not to be crossed. So the base of our bond was solid from the git go. Three years later we got hitched Reno style, became serious about creating our own tattoo and piercing shop and got busy doing just that.
The next year was non stop stress, striving and struggle to bring Lucky 7 to fruition. Our marriage got negated to a back burner while the two of us worked 7 days a week, giving the best of what we are to the business we love. Frankly both of us fell away from the romantic bond and reverted to how the relationship had started. A great twosome in the business world of tattoo. Seeming to never learn from my mistakes, I was the first to break away and became involved immediately with another TATTOOER. Corey followed my terrible example by snatching up a quite young, dumb and much spoiled girl 10 years his junior. And to add to the fun all these shenan
igans are happening while still living under the same roof! Boy we sure knew how to not waste a moment and move on quickly...sheesh..! But a very curious and really wonderful thing did take place. Both of us held our tongues! Except for early on in the split, a few brief moments during a disagreement, NO INSULTS passed between the two of us at anytime, anywhere. Not one truly terrible thing (the kind of hurtful statements you can never wipe away) was ever verbally thrown in anger at the other. No snide comments about the other said in haste to a mutual friend. Together and separately we behaved like mature adults! Lucky 7 was still so young. Our joint dream was still alive and kicking in our hearts. The only way Lucky 7 could continue was with us as a team. Our other option, to allow our shop to fade away before it got off the ground, was not okay with either of us. Somewhere within us both we gathered the manners and smarts our mommas gave us and we carried on! Neither of us listening to the well intended advice of concerned parties telling us it couldn't work. To hire expensive lawyers and put each other through the divorce court ringer. Instead we just did what we do really well together, we worked day in and day out to keep the business growing!
Now let us all fast forward- past my very brief, ill conceived marriage to THAT tattooer. Running swiftly across the mucky shores of Corey's much too expensive dalliance involving THAT dimwitted teenager in a training bra. Together we land in Summer of 2006 - at a growing, happy Lucky 7 Tattoo. Corey and I still living under the same roof. Amber, the young, smart and beautiful nursing student moved into Corey's life and bedroom. Me, Kathleen the Piercer, yet again tying the knot for the 4th time. The yummy icing on the cake being that this new husband, Russell, was the best man at my last wedding to THAT tattooer. Ha! Frankly the only good thing to come from THAT marriage was meeting the best man!
As my taste for bad boys never changes, my brand new hubby is also a tattoo artist. AND golly gee, wouldn't you know, Lucky 7 was in need of another artist to fill out the staff. Corey and I have a sit down pow wow, carefully discussing all the ins and outs of what may happen if my hubby comes to work at the shop. What others close to us will and have said about our crazy situation That it cannot work. Its just not done, blah blah blah...and wouldn't you know it...we once again roll the dice and come up winners! Against the odds, Against the grain, Against the naysayers, the three of us forge ahead and GET ALONG FAMOUSLY! The shop hums along just fine, thank you very much. Matter of fact, having another family member on board only improves the overall performance of the business. Very little drama to be had. Both men act like men, not little boys, managing to become friends as well as coworkers. The reasons for overall success boils down to this. Neither Corey or I talked a bunch of smack about our failed marriage to our new life partners. We kept civil tongues when describing our ex spouse / business partner.
Corey and I 's new loves never had to feel defensive and protective of our honor.
Russell and Amber never had to listen to the tedious, random bitching from bitter ex-spouses. I am forever grateful Corey and I have never put either of them through the crap of having to
nod their heads, feeling obligated to agree with casual trash talking of a bitter end.
Lucky 7, Corey and I, well- we beat the odds of divorce. Managed what so many others have not.

Know that each and every day I thank my lucky stars to have managed to hold on to my, to our, mutual dream come true of owning and operating our tattoo and piercing business. Even during the thick of divorce. Throughout the break ups of bad love. Moving towards to an end of our county's painful, long lasting recession - all of us in our modern family appreciate you for being a vital part of our happiness. Thanks for reading my business blog. If you enjoyed it pass it on to a friend of the shop. If you didn't, feel free to tell me why. Ta Ta til next week. Kathleen

Saturday, April 9, 2011

10 years of Lucky 7 Tattoo

So at 3 am last night I was laying wide awake, pugs snoring and all right in my little bedroom world. As I do from time to time my fingers did some walking through the worlds of GOOGLE and I found this blog Dan and Lisa started years ago....and I thought "why not bring it back." And with Dans permission to take it over - I am going to do just that...
As of March 31st Lucky 7 turned 10 years old...and what a cool, crazy journey it has been. I have divorced and remarried a few times... my business partner Corey being one of those ....proved to the negative lames around here that yes, a tattoo shop could and would do well in Kings Beach. When I was cleaning up the front of the our building back in March of 2001, all tired and excited about opening our shop, I remember well an older local man walking up to me and saying "The last thing this town needs is a tattoo shop, it needs more liquor stores" or another choice morsal was a local Plumas County Detective walsing in out first day, with big blonde hair and lots of "cop like" attitude belting out "You got any warrents or arrests for drugs? You got a proper business license? Why did you open here? and my personal favorite "You gang members?" Ugh yeah, that is what Corey and I dealt with as we opened up our dream...lots of preconceived notions of what tattoo shops have NEVER really been.
But alas, through all the usual and Unusual happening of the last 10 years we are still in operation, growing and learning, happy and all that jazz. Glad to have our own modern family owned shop. Happy to have retained a lot of our customers, and hoping for another glorious 10 years and then some...

Let me close with a yummy tattoo done by my hubby Russell Kahey-Fortier a little while back. He loves black and grey....and is quite fond of skulls and the dark side.

I will be posting weekely kids. So all 7 of you stay tuned!

Kathleen Langley