Getting a tattoo requires a lot of trust and it is not something that should not be taken lightly. Many a rash decision has led to an indelible mark that haunts the wearer for years until they pluck up the courage to get it covered up, or have it lasered off. All of this aggravation could be avoided with a bit of research and in the era of google, there is little excuse to accidentally fall victim to a bad tattooist.
I found Extreme Needle through Google; what stood out to me was their rating which is currently 4.8 stars, not a perfect score, but when you consider that this score is made up of well over a hundred reviews (almost double the next highest reviewed studio in London) then you start to appreciate just how good their reputation is!
Extreme Needle was formed in 2006 by Abz. Abz came from a business background and was only involved in tattooing by being a fan of it. Abz remains solely in charge of running the shop and does not tattoo people. Coming into the industry with the sole experience of being a client made Abz focus heavily on customer service and what it was that he felt was missing within the industry at that time. Abz felt that the most important factor was to “realize their customer’s visions” and offer a place that had respect for the customers. He took into consideration that every customer is unique and that it was important to work with the customer to come up with something that they will walk away feeling proud of.
Abz is equally conscious of making the staff environment a positive atmosphere. It’s hugely important that the artists are coming on to an environment where they enjoy their work and can work together to constantly push their talents and progress within the industry.
After looking through the work featured on their website I made an appointment to speak to one of their artists Zeph Green about some ideas that I had. There was a bit of a wait for the appointment, but as we all know, good things come to those who wait!
On the morning of the appointment, I visited the shop that is located within a pedestrian alleyway in a buzzing theatre district of London. The shop is tastefully filled with a mixture of art and antiquities and the waiting room is kitted out with their own theatre seats; a clever use of the space since the shop is quite small and very fitting for its location! The staff on the desk are very polite and welcoming and take the time to listen to you, despite the franticness of customers pouring into the shop. Mauro who is also the shop manager introduced me to Zeph Green, a.k.a Jimi, a.k.a Rick, I’m still not sure why one man needs so many names, but at the same time it made it easier to remember at least one of them!
Jimi has been tattooing professionally for 12 years and you could tell he was used to having to interpret the occasional dismally vague and unclear idea such as mine! After chatting for a while the consultation was complete and the appointment made!
After a few weeks, my time came to trust a stranger to mark my virgin skin. Despite having a good few tattoos I was still apprehensive, but again the warm and welcome environment within the shop put me at ease. Jimi showed me a few designs that he had drawn out for me and one in particular, was an instant winner. A couple of small changes were made to keep me happy and then we went downstairs to make a start.
The environment downstairs is very cool, there’s the happy buzzing of machines from other customers being worked on, years of art scattered over the walls, music playing in the background and a healthy dose of banter between the artists! My tattoo took six hours in total including a couple of water breaks and a hyste’rick’al visit to the loo, you will have to go and visit to get that joke! Jimi was great company throughout the tattooing process, from light-hearted conversation to more serious matters, you could have an honest conversation and as with many more creative types often a more cutting approach to topics, the type of conversation that I relish! He was aware of how I was feeling throughout and constantly checking that I was not in too much discomfort!
After a gruelling 6 hours of lying on a bed doing nothing but listen to good music and have a laugh, the masterpiece was done! It’s an area of my body that I have wanted to get done for a long time, but never felt comfortable with my choice of design. Jimi has however managed to create a piece that I am extremely happy with and proud of!
I would thoroughly recommend Extreme Needle for their professionalism and quality of work. It’s refreshing to go to a studio that is run to such high standards. Being made to feel comfortable is a hugely important part of the process and these guys have hit the nail on the head!
If you are thinking of getting a tattoo or a piercing done, then get in touch with these guys. They also accept walk-ins so if you happen to be passing then call in for a chat!