Never has there been a more appropriate name for a tattoo studio than “Ink Obsession,” owned by tattoo artist Arlene Treacy. She’s been tattooing for 31 years and it’s absolutely her obsession.
“Years ago, I moved to North Carolina for work, and ran into a prior client of mine from New Jersey who was excited to show me how well his tattoo held up. It made me realize that tattoos are an intimate and personal form of expression. Tattoos inspire passionate responses in people, and that’s one reason why this business matters,” Arlene says. “Human beings have been tattooing each other for thousands of years. I am honored and proud to be a part of that tradition.”
Because of the large number of satisfied customers who come back for more work by the amazing artists on staff, Ink Obsession is often booked out months in advance. There are also a lot of referrals, and that’s the kind of free advertising that any business loves. Ink Obsession also accepts walk-ins when there is availability.
“When people come in, we want them to feel really welcome – we’re very attentive to our client and we want them to feel right at home,” Arlene says. “There’s no pretentiousness here, and we’re all just real people.”
Being located near a military base means a constant flow of new customers; some servicemen and women from, other parts of the country and world will make a special point to visit Ink Obsession as part of their assignment at the base. Ink Obsession also works in conjunction with local recruiting stations to help new recruits meet rules regarding tattoos prior to their enlistment.
In It for the Art
Arlene has always been artistic, and a good friend, who was a tattoo artist, suggested that it would be a good investment for her to get into tattooing. She started out working at a shop in Toms River on the Jersey Shore. Back in those days, female tattoo artists were few and far between, and you might say that Arlene got an old school education. Everything that she’s learned about tattooing over the last three decades has been from watching other artists, attending seminars, and just by doing.
Arlene took a break from tattooing while raising her children, at which time she supported her family as a heavy equipment operator. When it was time to return to tattooing, she worked at a couple of local shops, always desiring to open her very own where she could provide clients the best experience possible.
“I’m not in it just for the money,” Arlene says. “I won’t just slap tattoos on people. Back in the day, you picked a design off the wall and that’s what you got. Now, tattooing has grown into an extremely artistic business — it’s really amazing.”
“I’ve always loved art, but it doesn’t come naturally to me,” Arlene adds. “I do what is within my capabilities, and I always make sure to have other artists in the studio who can go beyond what I can do.
“My big thing is that when you walk into my studio, you walk out happy.”
Tatt2Away® to New Tattoos
In keeping with her mission of making customers happy, Arlene recently added the Tatt2Away non-laser tattoo removal process to the services offered at Ink Obsession. This revolutionary new removal method effectively rids the body of all colors of tattoo pigment, and is a perfect choice for both complete removal and selective removal as the starting point for a coverup.
“The product is amazing,” Arlene states. “It’s going to provide us with more openings for coverups because there are a lot of people who come in who had gotten work done years ago, and now it looks terrible – that or they just made a bad choice and got a tattoo that wasn’t something of which they could really be proud.”
“Tatt2Away gives our artists the freedom to give customers a great piece of art rather than being forced to put something on them that they really don’t want – that or having to turn a client away and the person going to somebody else for the coverup and they end up making it even worse,” she adds.
Prior to Tatt2Away, laser was one of the only options for removal, and as Arlene unfortunately discovered for herself, it doesn’t provide the removal results it claims; even increasing the risk of damaged skin. Arlene is so excited by the positive outcomes she’s seen from Tatt2Away treatments that she and three other members of her staff became trained technicians in the process to accommodate the anticipated demand.
“The way that Tatt2Away helps with a coverup is that it has the ability to break up the pattern of the old tattoo, and in doing so, it makes it easier for the artist to put on a new tattoo without the old one still being visible,” Arlene says.
“The tattoo artists and the technician will sit down with the client and review exactly what parts of the old tattoo need to be removed in order to achieve a perfect coverup,” Arlene adds. “People want beautiful tattoos and Tatt2Away is going to give us the opportunity to give that to them.”
“Being that there’s nothing else like (Tatt2Away) in the area, it’s awesome for people, because they can come here and get their piercings and tattoos, and if they’re unhappy with their tattoos they can get them removed or partially removed so that we can give them something that they really want,” Arlene says. “I can’t see a shop being better than that.”