“I had Royal Street Tattoo back in the day. It became too commercial and I got sick of dealing with it. I sold it and my family moved to Hawaii to get away from the Continental U.S for a while. We moved back here when we had another baby and we didn’t have help. I am glad to be back now, it just took a minute to adjust. My daughter wanted to do this with me so we needed a spot where she can get walk-in traffic. We found this location on S Conception Street and we opened here in June 2019. Now my wife is piercing here. It is a family business and it works. When my little kids were five and two, they tattooed me with Zs. I named the shop Old Familiar because of family and we used to be downtown. And a familiar is a witch’s sidekick.
It is a family business now and it works
I grew up in Mobile and went to punk rock shows. I dropped out of school and started drinking and hopping on trains. I got an apprenticeship in Tampa and learned how to tattoo. If I didn’t have this, I would be up to no good.
Tattoos don’t need to mean anything, but memories and matching tattoos are heavy because they are special before they even start. I have clients who I have been friends with for more than 20 years. A couple of generous clients sent us checks because they knew we couldn’t work during the Coronavirus shutdown. I sold art, T-shirts, paintings, and prints and was able to pay the rent. Those were the only ways we made it through a shitty time. The world is equal parts ugly and beautiful, but I am living the dream. I could croak tomorrow and everything is cool.
I drew a smiling heart that was wearing boots and a top hat and was carrying a cane for my kindergarten art contest. They gave me a soda because I won first place. I have been drinking soda and drawing pictures every day since then. I figured it out in kindergarten.”
“His wife is my sister. They adopted me when I was 14 and saved me from a lot of stuff. Before they adopted me, I was in elementary school and wanted to live in Hawaii and tattoo. I never thought that was possible. He offered this chance and is helping me learn.”