If you think back to your childhood and leafing through Highlights Magazine while waiting at the doctor or dentist office, you probably remember those Hidden Picture games, in which you racked your brain trying to find smaller hidden objects within a larger picture. That’s how Jersey Jay Wymbs used to look at cover up tattoos.
“There’s a much broader picture, but the little picture is hidden inside of it. With a coverup, you would just use what was already there and build something bigger and new on top of it. You’re not taking ink out; you’re essentially adding more ink in a strategic manner,” explains Jay, who started tattooing in 1991.
“Coverups can be a real challenge, but there’s very few that I won’t take on,” adds Jay, now owner and artist at Pogue Mahone Tattoo Company in Red Bank, New Jersey. “There are so many times, though, that it’s limited in what you can do, especially when it’s something like a big black tribal. When you don’t have skin to work with, you’re very limited in terms of style and variations you can do.”
Working on a coverup often starts with lightening the old tattoo. Until Jay discovered Tatt2Away®, one of the only options was laser tattoo removal, but he was never a fan for a variety of reasons.
“Anytime I’ve seen somebody who has had laser treatments, it seems like it has done more damage to the skin than it does good. I had one client who’d had seven laser treatments, and she might as well have rubbed sandpaper on her arm for all the good it did,” Jay says. “You’re also forcing yourself to filter more tattoo ink into your body. . . it’s just too much.”
“One of the main things that I initially liked about Tatt2Away was that it removes the ink from the body rather than blasting it up and having it settle back in again,” Jay points out. “With Tatt2Away, you can take out a tattoo almost to the point of it being original skin.”
And that’s where a coverup is turned into real art rather than just something for hiding old ink. Each of the artists at Pogue Mahone Tattoo Company have their favorite style of tattooing, from black and grey to portrait realism, but they are all proficient in taking on anything a client might request – with Tatt2Away at their disposal, the ideas are limitless.
“It’s great to have the Tatt2Away system in a shop with artist like Jay who specialize in cover ups. It allows us to plan out removal strategies for future pieces or make a difficult cover up simple,” states Robert Rankin, who is specially trained as certified Tatt2Away Technician.
“The system is also similar to tattooing, so when I’m explaining the process to new clients it really seems to alleviate some stress when I tell them ‘It’s just about the same if not less painful than the original tattoo itself’ and ‘It has less sessions than laser too,’” he adds. “One of the big selling points for us was what Tatt2Away calls a ‘color blind’ system – meaning that we can now offer a one-stop-shop for color removal, unlike laser where you have to use different lasers depending on the color you’d like to remove.”
Quality and attention to detail goes for cleanliness as much as it does for tattoos at Pogue Mahone. The staff here is friendly, and they don’t mess around – they do great artwork and are dedicated to providing their clients with the best experience possible.
“We finish, repair and cover up tattoos – if you’ve got something bad on you, we’re going to make you walk out out happy one way or another,” Jay says. “Our goal is to have people being happy in their own skin. We want people to love the art of tattooing.”