- Associated Press - Saturday, April 25, 2015

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - Tattoo artist Trevor Muzik placed a section of tracing paper atop a woman’s foot and outlined the edges of his future canvas.

Muzik had collaborated with the client on several designs. The sketch of her foot will give him a chance to determine the desired tattoo’s scale and where best to place the image.

“If I angle it this way, it might make it look more dynamic,” he said.

That was fine with the client; he had earned the customer’s trust.

Muzik has worked his trade from the garden level of Olde Town Tattoo in St. Cloud for nearly eight years, but his career hasn’t always focused on applying ink to flesh.

“I went to school for illustration. I always wanted to do art. While (tattoo artistry) wasn’t the end goal at first, it’s exactly what I went to school for,” he told the St. Cloud Times (https://on.sctimes.com/1GaBn5L ). “You’ve got a client with requests, expectations and deadlines. You do the application and you’ve got to do well if you want repeat business.”

Before establishing his studio at Olde Town Tattoo, Muzik spent a year at the former Cloud 9 Tattoo and Body Piercing. Since his St. Cloud debut, he says, word-of-mouth and consistent improvement have kept clientele coming back.

“You’ve got to show growth. I think that’s what keeps people interested,” he said. “If you keep getting better, I think people are more likely to go to you because they see you growing as an artist.”

One of those repeat customers is Beth Reimer of Sauk Rapids. She says Muzik has inked three-quarter sleeves on both her arms, a piece along her left side, two chest pieces as well as art on both shins. In early April, a seven-hour appointment was scheduled to put the finishing touches on an intricate piece of art that stretched shoulder-to-shoulder across her upper back.

“I’m really happy with the work,” she said. “He’s become a friend of mine and a friend of our family’s. My oldest son has had tattoos done by him. It would be weird for me to go anywhere else now.”

Reimer’s latest tattoo is a collage of nature imagery featuring a 13-point red stag on a wreathed snowflake backdrop. Surrounding the centerpiece are poinsettias, mistletoe and a perched cardinal.

“It’s a winter solstice piece,” she said. “For me, it’s a symbol of renewal and change.”

Muzik says that kind of reasoning is common among those seeking his skill.

“There are three types of tattoos - celebration, memorial and aesthetic,” he said. “Celebration is like a BFF tattoo or you had a graduation and you want to get one to remember. Memorial - someone passes away and you do it as a tribute reminder. The aesthetic one is just because you like the way it looks.”

Muzik’s career in tattooing started when he was an apprentice to an established artist in Seattle. Just as every artist is unique, Muzik says the steps to learn the trade vary among mentors. He says the apprenticeship of another artist at Olde Town Tattoo, Eli Bauman, is a good example of what a newcomer could expect.

“He had to do observation. He had to scrub tubes and do regular cleaning. He had to do drawing assignments,” Muzik said. “You do that for a certain amount of time and get a good handle on the process, what the customer expects, what you should expect as you’re working. Then you start working on guinea pigs - friends, family or volunteers. Once you get a good confidence and understanding, you’re brought to the public, but kept on a short leash doing small, simpler things. As confidence is built, you go bigger and bigger.”

Muzik says his skills improve with each tattoo, and says he’s constantly looking for new ways to hone his art.

“You go into a tattoo knowing what you’re doing,” he said. “You want to push yourself, but not so much you bite off more than you can chew. You want to have the confidence you’ll be able to pull it off.”


Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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