Since 1994, the staff at Short North tattoo parlor Stained Skin has been taking the art of tattooing to a higher level. Not only does their space have a gallery for showcasing fine art shows every other month, but their collective reputation has helped gain a celebrity clientele including the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Good Charlotte and Papa Roach.
Naryan Claudy, one of Stained Skin’s standout artists, even has a growing clientele of sports celebrities including Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Claudy, a self-taught artist who was invited to join the staff in 2005, started honing his talent in high school, focusing mostly on charcoal and pencil drawings. “At first, tattooing was more of a rebellious thing for me,” said Claudy, “but then it became much more about the artistic process. It’s really all about composition, and nothing is more challenging than using skin as your canvas.” Not surprisingly, Claudy’s niche has become realistic portraits done in black and gray, hearkening back to the days of charcoal and pencil.
Despite the celebrity clients, and the fact that his original artwork was recently published in a book by influential tattoo artist Guy Aitchison, Claudy believes what truly sets him apart is the education he gives his clients. “In the last few years, people have really been doing their homework by visiting websites,” he said. “Most come in with an idea of what they want on paper, but they need help elaborating. They depend on my expertise to help their designs better translate to skin.” Because of this, drawings can take anywhere from a day up to a week and may take multiple attempts so that both artist and client are happy. Claudy also said the application process could range from one visit to never being finished. “You can always refine with touch-ups and make tattoos look better,” he said. “The body really is an ongoing work of art.”