LITTLE CURRENT— Twisted Image tattoo artist and body piercer John McKee has moved from his old location on Worthington Street and opened a new shop along Water Street in Little Current.
“I have been interested in this spot since the building first came on the market, but I didn’t need the whole building,” said Mr. McKee of his new shop in a portion of the former Little Current IDA (the building has been divided into three businesses with separate entrances and amenities). “When the new owner approached me with the option I was very excited. It is such a great location and the perfect set up. Plus, I have a view of the North Channel.”
In recent years, the area of the new Twisted Image shop was part of the Water Street Clinic, making it a good location for tattoo and piercing shop.
“My background in dental really gave me the base that my shop should be like a clinic,” explained Mr. McKee. “It was really well set up and I didn’t have to do too much work to the space other than paint it.”
The result of Mr. McKee’s work is a modern space, featuring red and black décor, black leather seats in the waiting room and an electric fireplace and television.
“I needed to create a safe, clean, modern space for my clients,” added Mr. McKee.
Mr. McKee’s background is as a dental technician, which originally brought him to the Island, but his creative side blossomed while taking time off from work after the birth of his first child.
“I had always been around the tattoo industry,” said Mr. McKee. “I have a lot of friends in it. I went to get a tattoo around the same time I was off and I started thinking that it might be something I would like to try my hand at.”
Mr. McKee had originally gone to school for graphic design at Cambrian College, pre-computers, and had done all his designs with a pen and paper.
After he had completed school, Cambrian approached him, explaining that dental clinics were seeking art students to train as dental technicians.
“The thing with being a dental tech was that no one ever wants to come see you, but with tattoos people want to be there,” said Mr. McKee. “It’s a lot more fun. Ironically, the graphic design course taught me nothing about working in the field because by the time I graduated everyone was switching to computers, but everything I learned in the course I use daily as a tattoo artist.”
He also started body piercing several years ago after a body piercer interned with him, learning to be a tattoo artist.
“I learned from him, and vice-versa,” Mr. McKee shared.
Mr. McKee’s passion is black and grey tattoos, but like most artists Mr. McKee is versatile and able to work with customers to design the perfect tattoo for them, in the style of their choice.
Mr. McKee also enjoys doing cover-up work, finding it extra rewarding.
“Individuals can purchase tattoo equipment for $200 now online, but have no idea how to use it,” said Mr. McKee. “People come in with some pretty awful stuff. Being able to take a tattoo someone hates and make it into something they love is really special.”
“Being a tattoo artist is a huge responsibly,” concluded Mr. McKee. “People are walking around with your art forever and every tattoo is a billboard for your business. I love my job, it’s a lot of fun, but it is something I take very seriously.”
Mr. McKee is booked into June for tattoos, but has a few openings for small tattoos at the end of June, July for large tattoos and is booking into August for weekend appointments.
Body piercing is available by appointment daily by availability.
“I encourage anyone who is interested in getting a tattoo or body piercing to stop in, or anyone who would like to see the new shop,” said Mr. McKee.
The new Twisted Image shop is located at 19 Water Street, Unit 3 in Little Current. Call 705-368-0143 for appointments. Visit John McKee-Twisted Image on Facebook for more information and pictures or Mr. McKee’s work.