Taking a break between customers, the crew members of Taos Tattoo sit on the front porch of their historic building on Paseo del Pueblo Norte playing Frisbee with a dog and complimenting a recent customer's newest ear piercing.
As the oldest tattoo shop in Taos currently operating, Taos Tattoo and the artists who work there uphold a reputation that has served the town for more than four years.
Taos Tattoo has been delivering its high-quality body modification in a professional and relaxed environment to customers who, crew members say, keep coming back. The shop's newest artist, Wayne Wells, began working there in January. Wells said the environment in Taos is enjoyable and that he feels like he has been able to give back much to the world of tattooing by trying to perfect his craft and artwork.
"It's been really great," said Wells. "I've been fortunate enough to work with some really awesome tattoo artists. I just love the vibe here overall."
Wells has eight years of experience working in the industry and has been building his craft with the different shops and cities he has worked in. Beginning in Missouri, he apprenticed for an artist who encouraged him to try to cover a number of styles. Because of that experience, Wells said he has a decent grasp on the tattoo craft and genuinely enjoys his ability to express his art through ink. Animals and nature are his tattoo jobs of choice. However, Wells said, he just loves the creative aspect of the art and is able to give customers a great product.
As early as 2 years old, Wells had a knack for drawing and has been working on his craft ever since. After moving to Taos and taking some new customers, he has been working more on black ink tattoos, which can be seen on the shop's website as a small portfolio. Wells also suggests that tattooing causes artists to build relationships with their customers, which can be helpful in the design and overall moral of the piece.
"One of the things I'm doing is just trying to help educate people as they come in with their ideas," said Wells. "I think I'm here almost as much as a consultant, so I can direct people to make healthy decisions when it comes to their tattoos."
Wells said it is important for the tattoo artist to ensure a customer is happy with a tattoo design before it is inked permanently on the body.
Following the closing of a few tattoo shops in the area, Taos Tattoo was founded out of the need for a body modification shop and has been the longest-standing shop in town. The shop offers two aspects of body modification - piercing and tattoos - and can even assist customers with their choices. The shop's professional crew has had years of experience and encourages newcomers to consult on their choices to ensure that the tattoo or piercing is perfect for the customer.
"We're really trying to offer the absolute best that we can," said shop co-founder Syndesi. "But we're not trying to be anything but what we are. We're friendly people and we just want to give it our best."
Syndesi, along with Tre and Lizzy DeCosta, founded Taos Tattoo in 2013 and will be celebrating their five-year anniversary in July, according to Lizzy DeCosta.
"The years just keep flying," she said as she laughed.
Syndesi, who goes by only one name, has been piercing at the shop for the duration of its time open and said he sees several returning customers to the shop for both aspects of body modification. Soon, members of the crew will be offering after care for both of their services and will help with the healing process of tattoos and piercings. Consultation for appointments can be made in person. To get a hold of the shop, customers are encouraged to call (575) 224-3077 or stop by 208 Paseo del Pueblo Norte to speak with the artists.