For three years, Urge 3 Tattoo in Penticton has been considered one of the best places to get a tattoo in the Okanagan.
It’s not a surprise with the experience the artists bring to the table. Between owner and artists Jeff White, Kirk Sheppard and Dani, the team has close to three-quarters of a century worth of tattooing under their belts.
The team earned the Penticton Western News Best of the South Okanagan award for the Best Place to Get a Tattoo, and came in as a favourite for Best Customer Service as voted by readers across the South Okanagan.
Tattooing is an industry where a steady flow of ideas and people both occur, said White.
“It was a lot more common years ago, pre-COVID, it was part of the joy of being a tattooer is the option of travel. Like being a chef, you get to know someone in another country and you work with them, and it blossoms into other countries,” White said.
Sometimes it’s other artists who send the invitation, other times it’s a customer who was a fan of the work, and over time the network builds up.
Penticton’s Urge 3 has played host to artists from Toronto, the Lower Mainland and England, and are looking to hopefully having an artist from Iceland arrive soon.
The intermingling and travelling of the artists brings with it more than just artists with their own unique styles, but also a sharing of techniques.
“It’s like any kind of art, you sit next to somebody as they do something as mundane as drawing the leaves of a rose and you’re like ‘Holy crap I never thought of drawing them like that, I think I’ll give that a whirl on some of mine.’”
Even though COVID-19 put a crimp in the exchange of ideas in person, it wasn’t much more for the team to pick up when it came to seeing customers in their shop. The one new wrinkle was adding face-masks, but even that wasn’t a major change.
“Unlike some industries we’re bizarrely prepared for the influx of COVID restrictions, we’ve dealt with cross-contamination and biohazards for years,” said White. “It’s a daily routine of once you touch one thing you can’t touch another unless it’s to toss it or sterilize it. We were better prepared mentally that way.
“We have an obligation to our clients as well as ourselves, our families and each other here and my personal safety affects everyone here, and we take that really seriously.”
Over the years, the evolution from single tattoos to larger, and simply more tattoos has been something that White and the industry has seen over time. When it comes to the tattoos, there isn’t much of a style or place that comes up more often than any other, with people coming in with their unique visions and ideas as a way of showing their independence.
“The hardest thing I’d say we do is having someone sitting in front of you communicate something they have vividly in their minds to us so we can put it down onto paper and then onto them,” said White.
If you are looking to go get one, be aware that the one thing they won’t do is face tattoos.
“We do get a lot of people in, and one of the current trends in social media is getting faces tattooed and I just don’t understand it and neither does anyone here,” said White.
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