Mark of the Vampire was established in 1998, in Burien, Washington and has several artists and a piercer. The artists defer in their art, but a look at their portfolios proves that they all consistently provide good work to their customers.
The little shop is on First Avenue, and is a little off the road so if you blink, you might miss it. I knew that parking would be an issue from another reviewer, but I parked in the back and there wasn’t ever an issue. When I entered the shop, I knew what to expect after viewing pictures online. It was extremely clean, compared to others I’ve been in and even the bathroom was sanitary. With a bunch of men all working in a small shop, you would expect the bathroom to be slightly dirty, but it was completely clean. The lobby is standard and the walls are covered with art and flash designs. There is a couch that is in good condition, a coffee table and a display case with jewelry for piercings in it. It is a simple, yet tidy lobby and provides a great deal to look at if you are waiting.
The back has offices with sliding doors. The offices are small and remind me of a doctor’s office, because they even smell sterile. I have had the privilege of being in two of the rooms in the back, and both of them made me feel safe, comfortable and warm. The sliding doors provide privacy, which is always nice. My first tattoo was on my breast and there wasn’t a private office in that shop. I was exposed to anyone walking in or looking through the glass. As someone who isn’t shy I didn’t mind much and I love my first tattoo also, but Mark of the Vampire allows those who are a little shy to feel comfortable by being behind closed doors. The tattoo I had done there was on my upper back, so my shirt and bra were off for four hours.
I chose Charlie to do my tattoo prior to ever meeting him. I saw his portfolio online and loved it. I knew that he could do exactly what I wanted and make it beautiful. I probably viewed more than one hundred portfolios, and decided he would be the best. I never actually got a chance to request him, as he was the first one I met when I walked into the shop. I had some trouble with my ID being lost, so we set an appointment for a future date. I put a deposit of sixty dollars down to hold a spot, but they only asked for fifty. He gave me a quote which was several hundred dollars cheaper than I thought it would be, so this was a bonus as well. Charlie being the youngest and newest member of the shop, was still my first choice, although many told me not to pick a young tattoo artist. I don’t know if it’s just practice or if people don’t like to try younger artists because they don’t think their work will be as good, but Charlie’s art told me otherwise. I trusted him right away.
When I was finally ready to get my tattoo, I decided that I wanted a few changes. I didn’t like a few parts on the design, so my husband helped me change the parts that I didn’t like. I took the altered design to Charlie and he drew it up. I got my tattoo design online and we altered some of the lines and curves to make them look more natural. He was able to draw it up fairly fast, and then we were ready to go. He took me to his office and placed the outline on my back. The first time it was a little off, so he replaced it. When it’s between the shoulder blades, it takes a good eye to get it perfect, something I was glad he had. My biggest fear is having a messed up tattoo, I guess I am vain, but it is for life. Charlie had me sit on a chair, backwards and lean forward a little. I took off my bra after he placed it, so he could work easily and then sat on the chair. He let me know when he was about to make the first line, so I wouldn’t wiggle, and that started four straight hours of pain for good art. The area I had my tattoo on was especially painful, because I had a pinched nerve under a shoulder blade and still decided not to break my appointment. After about three hours I got sick of the pain and started wiggling, but he assured me that it would go faster if I held still and kept my back in the correct position. The top of my tattoo hurt the most and the bottom hurt the least, which probably had a lot to do with my pinched nerve. When he was done with all of the black and white I didn’t want to go any further, because the pain was getting to me too much, but I kept going because I wanted a finished product. Most of the time I was just hoping that it was his last line, but then he would go back for more ink. Once he was done, I thought I was going to kiss him, it was very happy to be finished. He said that I did well and he wanted to do my next one, when I was ready. I looked at my tattoo and thought it looked so much better on my skin than it did on paper. I loved it! I told him that I would defiantly be coming back. He let me know how to care for my tattoo and suggested a lotion to use.
My daughter and I went back to Mark of the Vampire to get piercings, two weeks later. Charlie looked at my tattoo and let me know that it healed well, and I told him I would send him pictures of it, because we didn’t get good ones when it was done. My daughter is about to be fifteen, and had pierced her own lip because I wasn’t quick enough to find her birth certificate and get her to a professional. Jon assured me that he would look at it and be sure that it was healing well, as I made her remove it because it was too tight. He then said she was fine to pierce the other side, so he took her into his office and explained the procedure. It took longer than I thought, but he was very careful to give her exactly what he thought would look the best. Once he was done, he explained the aftercare to her and me and let me know that he guarantees his work, so if there are any future problems or needs we should call him, and he will help us for free. I thought that was a great policy to keep. I was next, but I got my nose pierced. I was very afraid of the potential pain, and decided that he should know that. He was very gentle and had me close my eyes and take deep breaths, while he pierced me. It didn’t hurt after the needle was out, so I was pleased. I noticed that even though my daughter was pierced before me, he still cleaned the area after her to make it sterile again. I was exceptionally pleased with his attention to detail.
Some of the rules that visitors should know:
No one under 13 is allowed in the shop.
You must have an ID.
You have to be 18 to get a tattoo.
You can be 14 to get a piercing, but must have ID or Birth Certificate and Parent’s Permission.
Markofthevampiretattoo.com and they also have a Myspace page.