For FF resident and artist, tattoo business a new medium [UPDATED]Published 9:45am Monday, March 18, 2013 Updated 11:46am Monday, March 18, 2013
The creativity is on the walls at Reactor Ink Tattoo and Body Piercing, with bright murals and designs feeding the imagination of each customer who walks in. Just as important, if not more so, the tattoo shop along Cascade Avenue in Fergus Falls offers a bright, clean and relaxed atmosphere for those looking to put a unique touch to their skin.
That was what first drew apprentice Nathan Froehlich to the business when, after purchasing a tattoo kit for himself and a friend, he became interested in becoming a tattoo artist.
“It was just a huge eye-opener when I walked in here,” said Froehlich, who was initially surprised by all that goes into keeping the tattoo process clean and professional. But the interaction with customers was also something that attracted him to the business.
“I was pretty blank when I first came in here, but now a year down the road I can’t get enough of it,” he said.
Froehlich has always had an artist’s hand, having spent several years working in commercial art and graphic design. But temporary ads that change with public interest, are scrapped and forever lost, didn’t provide the personal expression and longevity that Froehlich wanted his artistry to have. After a visit to owner and master artist Steve Lyon’s shop, his interest turned into a passion.
“For me, at first, it was the art side, but now it’s the relationships with people.“ he said. “When a person gets tattooed it’s like they take a part of you with them. You’re putting your heart and soul into it and marking them for life.”
Froehlich soon learned he would need to put in a number of hours as an apprentice before he could legally tattoo on his own. In the State of Minnesota, 200 supervised and documented hours are required before an artist can be fully licensed, along with the appropriate coursework.
With a master willing to teach him the trade, Froehlich began working at the shop and watched as Lyon worked on tattoos, prepared and learned about the equipment and honed his drawing skills.
“We paint and draw and do as much creative work as we can on a daily basis,” he said. “We push each other, constantly with new education everyday. That’s one of our biggest statements, that if you ever feel like you’ve learned everything, you better walk out the door because you’re done.”
Froehlich says the new career, the creativity and ability to work with customers in such a meaningful and personal process, is exactly what he wanted when his interest was first piqued. He even has come to be somewhat of a natural, as Lyon dubbed him “Deadeye” after one of his first attempts handling the tattoo needle.
As he is approaches the fulfillment of his required training, both master and apprentice are excited about the expanded opportunities Froehlich’s new artistry will bring to the shop and its continued effort to provide customers with the highest quality of professional tattoo art.
“I have more fun at my job than anyone in town, I guarantee it,” he said. “I come to work, listen to music, talk to great people and create art. What more could you want?”
To celebrate his coming achievement and to help finish the last few hours he needs, the shop is running a fundraising special as Froehlich’s welcome to the tattoo and business community in Fergus Falls. In the month of March, Froehlich will tattoo at half off the normal shop rate. The proceeds from the month long event will be donated to the Minnesota Veterans home in Fergus Falls.