Economy leaves mark on tattoos

People still get tattooed during economic slumps. What changes is the message they want to send, says Derek Crockett, owner of Crown Tattoo on South Boulevard.

During boom days, people chose “more beautiful,” colorful designs, such as a woman splayed on a bicep or a dragon draped across the back.

When the economy is suffering, people opt for simpler, and cheaper, designs, cutting out fancy artwork in favor of words, Crockett says. Favorites include: “Smile now, cry later”, “Love of the game”, “Death before dishonor” and “Only God can judge me.”

“They want things that represent a harder life,” says Crockett, who's tattooed people at his shop for eight years. “People have got to believe in something.”

Crockett says people who get tattoos tend to return for more, so he doesn't worry about lulls in consumer confidence or drops in the stock market affecting his revenues. He also said as more tattoo artists have entered the local market, he's been able to make money covering up others' “mistakes.” His tattoo prices range from $40 to $1,000.

His biggest concern for his business is the weather. He said his shop, which, in addition to him, employs two tattoo artists and one person who does piercings, earns 25percent of its revenues in the winter and 75 percent in the spring and summer.

“The more the sun shines, the more people get tattoos,” he says. “If it's an overcast day I know my day will be dead.” Kerry Hall