Thanks to Emma Theis, Contributing Writer at the Quad Community Press
Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 9:00 am | Updated: 10:43 am, Wed Feb 3, 2016.
Walking into Wick Tattoo on Lake Drive in Blaine, you wouldn’t guess you were entering a permanent body ink shop. Large expressive paintings adorn the slate grey walls, indicating the owner’s love of the arts. Every detail, down to the hardwood floor and minimalist decor, makes the experience at Wick Tattoo feel more like a trip to the local art gallery.
“I wanted a place that was about art, first and foremost, but at the same time made you feel comfortable, no matter where you are coming from,” said Dave Wick, owner of Wick Tattoo.
Wick, 34, grew up in Blaine and still lives in the city with his wife and two kids, ages 4 and 18 months. Drawing since he can remember, Wick received his degree in art education from St. Cloud State University in 2005 and went on to student teach and substitute teach in the Anoka-Hennepin school district.
After being unable to find a full-time opening that fit him as a teacher, Wick was introduced to tattooing by a friend and began a five-year apprenticeship at a local tattoo shop. “It is one of the greatest opportunities anyone has ever given me,” said Wick.
According to Wick, learning to tattoo was one of the most humbling experiences in his life. Beginning artists are instructed to practice on fake skin, but Wick also practiced on himself. The tops of his thighs portray a grid line map of St. Cloud and some maple leaves. Wick said he won’t ever tattoo over them because it reminds him of where he started and how far he has come.
When his apprenticeship was complete, Wick decided to open his own tattoo business and began searching for a location in Blaine. Wick said that setting his own schedule worked really well with having two small children. His shop, which opened in May 2014, is located at 3453 Lake Drive, #125.
Wick specializes in custom art and works with his clients to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces. His style leans towards realistic illustrations, but Wick recommends that potential clients check out his portfolio on his website or set up a consultation to discuss their desires.
Tattooing can be an intimidating process and Wick wants his clients to be comfortable, open, and feel free to tell him what they want. “When someone presents me with a project to do, I want it to exceed their expectations,” said Wick. “It’s my job to open them up to possibilities.”
As far as tattoo requests, Wick said nothing really surprises him anymore. But, he stands behind his policy on no gang-related tattoos or hateful symbolism. And if a tattoo is “too far out there,” he suggests that the client wait a month.
Wick relies mainly on referrals to garner new customers. He says he has already tattooed some of his high school classmates and enjoys getting to meet interesting people and learn about their lives. “Passion will get you through all the hard times,” said Wick. “If you truly have a passion for it, that passion will push you through.”
As he looks towards the future, Wick would like to utilize his space as a place where local artists can display all types of media. His dream is to expand it to the public and put on local art shows in his shop. Wick is currently looking for local artists who are interested in displaying their art.