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New tattoo, curiosity shop opens doors

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Business owners aim to make customers at ease

For tattoo artist Wizard Garrett, creating art is about as necessary for his survival as breathing.

"After I get done tattooing, I need like eight hours of painting and creating art," said Garrett Adderley, who goes by Wizard Garrett when tattooing. "And even that sometimes isn't enough. I could probably do it all day."

Garrett, who opened Cof-finBirth Tattoo, a tattoo parlor and curiosity shop at 113 S. Second St. in Shelton, with wife Elizabeth Adderley earlier this month, said he strives to create something that both he and his clients can be proud of.

From the time he was a child, Garrett, now 34, knew he wanted to be an artist. He originally dreamed of becoming an animator for Disney, but later changed paths to become a comic book artist.

During the past decade, he's completed a variety of independent projects for comic books and publications, including Heavy Metal magazine.

In the early 2000s, Garrett began working at a tattoo shop after a friend's recommendation, and eventually realized the art form could be his calling.

He began working as a tattoo artist in 2001, and in 2009, worked under Craig Foster, who was made famous by the television show Ink Master on Spike.

Garrett said working under artists like Foster helped him build confidence in tattooing, as well as nurture a love for what is known as the American Traditional tattooing style. The style is known for bold, clean lines and bright colors, such as artist Sailor Jerry's tattoos.

Before moving to Shelton, Garrett spent three years working with Bryan Childs at Spidermonkey Tattoo in Olympia.

After nearly 14 years of apprenticeship, Garrett decided to open his own studio Jan. 1, marking 2016 as the start of a new era in his artistic career.

Garrett said he doesn't mind tattoo ideas that come from Google or Pintrest. Instead of concentrating on the subject of the piece, he wants to make sure the customer leaves with a finished product better than they thought they were going to get.

The artist added that being a father to three children — especially one who is now a teenager — has helped his tattoo business. He learned to listen to what clients are asking for and communicate about the tattoo before he even starts to make sure the client leaves with exactly what they want.

"You don't need to know how to cook when you go into a restaurant, you just need to know what you want to eat," he said, comparing eating out to getting a new tattoo. "The chef will be able to marinate it and make what you want. If they're a good chef, they're going to make it delicious."

Garrett said he doesn't have a specific piece of art that he's proud of; instead, he strives to continually better himself every day.

"The more you know, the more you realize you don't know," he said with a laugh. "I mean, the longer you tattoo, the more experience you have, the more you realize you have to get better."

Garrett, who hopes to decorate part of his shop with his drawings and paintings, said he continually puts art up and takes it down.

"What you once would have been proud of, you're no longer proud of it," he said. "You can't be proud of it, because your standards get higher. You're constantly pushing yourself to be a better artist."


The shop doesn't have what Elizabeth refers to as the "typical tattoo shop" vibe. Instead of being dark and dingy, the room is painted bright teal and yellow, and the couple is happy to assist anyone who walks in the door.

"Even for me, as a tattoo artist's wife, I'm generally intimidated when I walk into tattoo shops," Elizabeth said. "It's generally a scary place to be, so our goal is to have people come in (to our shop) and have it feel welcoming and homey and friendly, and not just assume the scary tattoo artist thing, because it's not like that."

Instead, the couple, who have three children and another on the way, wants the shop to be a place that people, including kids, feel welcome.

Oddities cover the parts of the walls, from antlers and mounts to pickled animal parts in jars.

Elizabeth said she and Garrett, who married on Halloween in 2014, were looking forward to opening a business where they would get to work together.

"I know there's a lot of tattoo and curiosity shops popping up in cities all over," she said. "It just seemed natural to combine the two."

Elizabeth runs the curiosity shop side of the business, and said she works to procure interesting, bizarre or vintage items that people wouldn't be able to see anywhere else.

A taxidermy bear greets guests as they walk in, and a human rib cage hangs on the wall behind Elizabeth's desk.

Some of the items are even for sale.

"Children love everything about it," she said. "They come in and they're so curious, like, 'What is this?' or 'Can I pet it?'"

The couple hopes that eventually, the shop will become a sort of roadside attraction for downtown Shelton, drawing people in who might be interested in just seeing what a pickled dog's eye or a Tibetan statue of a monkey might look like.

The two said even though they've been open less than a month, people in the community have already been welcoming.

Area business owners have frequented the shop, and people popping in to check out the new space have voiced approval of what the couple has done with it.

"I couldn't be happier to be here," Garrett said. "We plan on being here for a long time."

For more information, call the shop at 868-2315.

Copyright 2016 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 14, 2016

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