Your luck has changed, I hope?
It has. My life has changed dramatically since I earned the nickname.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a tattoo artist here [at Artful Dodger Tattoo & Comics on Olive Way].
How long have you been a tattoo artist?
It was 15 years in July.
What drew you to this line of work?
I wanted to be a comic book artist as a kid, and I ended up getting a job at a place called Bud Plant Comic Art, and two guys came in and saw me doodling, and asked if I wanted to apprentice as a tattoo artist and help them build their shop. It was a crazy ride, and I fell in love with it. Now, I don’t know how to do anything else.
How many tattoos do you do per day?
Two or three. I stay booked out about two or three months in advance. I’m at the point in my career when I don’t do a lot of tattoos any more that I don’t want to do.
So, if I come in and want a Tasmanian Devil tattoo, you’re not the artist for me?
You will get your Tasmanian Devil, but it probably won’t be from me.
How long has your shop been here?
I was over on 15th behind the Red Chair Salon, and I got too busy and had to expand. We’ve been here for about three and a half years. We’re also a comic shop and a toy shop as well. It looks like a little Hobbit hole from the outside, but it’s huge on the inside.
Like a TARDIS?
It’s funny you should mention that. We have a door painted like a TARDIS, and lots of Dr. Who stuff.
And so much Buffy [the Vampire Slayer] stuff! Your shop is a total geek paradise—I mean that in an awesome way, of course.
Yes, it is. We’re all geeks & nerds, so we cater to a lot of fellow geeks. We do Comicon—we’re the only tattoo shop asked to do Comicon–and a lot of other cons as well.
Sometimes I ask people what they would do if they could do anything, but I suspect this is your dream job—working in a tattoo shop that also sells Buffy comics and TARDIS keychains.
The people who work here call me Willy Wonka, because it’s such a fun place. I really love it.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Nevada City, California, and spent some time in Southern California, and then moved to Idaho, where I met my wife. On our first wedding anniversary, we came over here for St. Patrick’s Day, and decided to move here. We’ve been here for about seven years.
Do you have any other thoughts on life on the Hill or life in general?
It is an adventure every day.
Do you live nearby?
No, I live in Greenwood.
Do you come out to the Hill very often?
Oh, yes! It’s my spiritual home.
Why is that?
Well, I’m transsexual, I’m lesbian, and there are used record stores here.
Do you have any favorite records?
I really like techno, but I don’t have any one specific favorite.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done lately?
I went to Burning Man.
What was your most memorable experience there?
Getting tied up and suspended from scaffolding.
But, of course it was! Is that dangerous?
If the person tying you up knows what they’re doing, and you don’t wiggle around too much, it’s actually pretty safe.
What line of work are you in?
I’m a software developer.
If money were no object, what would you be doing with your time?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to pronounce Vietnamese.
You seemed to pronounce “Vietnamese” just fine.
But not in Vietnamese. I think I would study languages more.
If you could take off anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
Tokyo. It seems like there is so much urban anarchy going on there, in the street plans, and the culture. At least until recently, it was a very dynamic city.
Do you have any favorite hangouts on the Hill?
So many of my favorites have gone, like the Vogue. There’s Pho Cyclo, for food. My favorite coffee joint is Victrola on 15th. And there’s the Mercury.
Where are you from originally?
Gainesville, Florida. I moved out here for grad school in ’89, and got a job afterwards, and settled down here. The pull of Seattle gravity just didn’t let go of me.
Do you have any other thoughts on life on the Hill, or life in general?
I hope the condos don’t kill it. Everyone laments when things that they love go away, but I hope new things come and replace them. We as a city need to make sure that happens.
Are you a Seattle native?
No, I was born in San Diego, but I moved here from Iowa.
How long have you lived in Seattle?
What line of work are you in?
I just got my real estate license a week ago.
What do you think about the real estate market on the Hill?
I have yet to research the Hill—I’m more South King County. I live in Lakeland Hill/Auburn.
Do you hang out on the Hill very often?
About three or four times a week.
Any favorite hangouts?
RPlace, Neighbours… The Cuff’s okay, but it’s old people.
I won’t tell them you said that!
Oh, you can tell them—I tell them all the time! There’s also the Q, but I haven’t been there yet. I want to go, but the lines are always so damn long.
Summer is almost over—what was one of the highlights?
I went on a trip to Crescent Bar with my family.
You mean, the bar down the street?
No, it’s a place in Eastern Washington. It’s gorgeous—a little oasis in the desert.
If you could pick up and go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
Vietnam. My best friend is from Vietnam, and a lot of my friends are from there. I was supposed to go last year, but I got into a bit of trouble.
You moved here from Iowa—I’ve never been there. What’s it like?
It’s very flat, and there’s no racial diversity.
So, winter is coming. Are you pro, or con?
Pro. I LOVE winter.
What are you looking forward to about winter?
Snow. I hope there will be more snow. In Iowa, there was a lot of snow, and I loved that.
Any other thoughts on life on the Hill, or life in general?
If you like to party, come out to the Hill!
More CHS Crow: