For these tattooed Atlanta queers, self-expression is skin deep

In Jon Dean's latest Q photo essay, meet six LGBTQ Atlantans whose lives, philosophies, art and even whims are printed permanently on their bodies.

Alongside the striking imagery, we dig into their motivations and what makes them tick as people. Even more pertinent, we get their recommendations for the best places to get your own queer ink done.

All photos by Jon Dean

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Ramirez

@zombiekong

What do you do for a living?

Bartender at Mary’s

Favorite tattoo shop?

Live Free Tattoo in Grant Park

Favorite tattoo?

My “vice” tattoo – a devil’s head smoking a joint being ridden by a naked dude. It’s a take on a traditional Man’s Ruin tattoo. It’s got all my biggest weaknesses.

Perfect night out in Atlanta?

An ‘80s horror movie at the Plaza Theater, a beer and a joint

Music on rotation right now?

Queer Latinx playlists on Spotify

 

Frankie ‘Laguna’ Luo

@knives.frankie.laguna

@knives.n.needles

What do you do?

Apprentice at Prick Tattoo in Decatur

Favorite tattoo?

The one of the clipper ship on my thigh that says “Queer Pride.” It just constantly reminds me to be unashamed of who I am. Growing up I was called a queer, and getting this tattoo was just my way of taking back that word. It’s uncolored because my niece who has Down Syndrome loves to color it in with markers. Every time I go over there wearing shorts, she’ll come bounding over to me with her box of colors with the biggest smile. It’s great. 

Favorite local shop or artist? 

Prick Tattoo, Adam Goodman

Perfect evening out in Atlanta? 

A large blanket, a speaker, couple of close friends, Piedmont Park.

Last great album on rotation?

How to: Friend, Love, Freefall by Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Super queer artists with beautiful music.

 

Andrew Forrest Baker

@andrewforrestbaker

What do you do? 

Writer

Favorite tattoo shops? 

The folks at Only You and at All Saints Social Club are always fun, friendly and collaborative. Plus they do really amazing work.

Favorite tattoo?

Every tattoo has a story, be it deeply personal or a mile marker for a time in my life, so my favorite tends to change with the wind. The anatomical heart/tree on my chest is usually pretty prominent for me. The NOUN/VERB knuckle tattoos were inked when I completed my writing degree and serve as a reminder of my craft. 

I got the Toyen piece on my right arm while studying in Prague. She’s one of my favorite surrealist artists and the piece itself has a nod to the incomparable Claude Cahun’s “I’m In Training, Don’t Kiss Me” piece. And I got the Kim Boekbinder “Pussy Grabs Back” piece on my left leg after marching in the first Women’s March here in Atlanta.

Perfect evening out in Atlanta? 

A sunset hike or bike ride, an art show opening, a quick bite and drink at Kimball House, and a strong cup of coffee.

Favorite albums on rotation?

Binary by Ani DiFranco, Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae, Plunge by Fever Ray, Noisewitch by Kim Boekbinder, and I Can Spin a Rainbow by Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel.

 

Matt Stucker

@MotherStucker

Favorite tattoo artist?

Joey Galigher at Liberty Tattoo. She is insanely talented.

Favorite tattoo?

My right sleeve. It was once a bunch of tattoos that I really hated. Now, it's a work of art. I thank Joey for it and all of the thought and work she put into making my arm something I really love.

Perfect night out in Atlanta?

Bar hopping in EAV

Last great album on rotation?

All I see is War by Atlanta legends SEVENDUST

 

Samuel

@derblutbaron

What do you do for a living?

I slang food to coffee drinkers, i.e. a server, at 8ARM

Favorite tattoo place?

Southern Star on Ponce

Your favorite tattoo?

My left arm that says "island in a stream of stars." To me, it means my past, present and future.

Your ideal evening out in Atlanta?

I’m kinda a homebody, but a good night starts or ends at the Righteous Room.

Music in rotation right now?

Before the Flood by Trent Reznor. It’s an instrumental album about climate change. It's beautiful, and I like to sleep to it.

 

Rich Parker

@Richparkertat2

Tell us a little about you.

I’m professional tattoo artist of 13 years, originally from New Jersey and now working out of Royal Ink Studio in Marietta.

What’s it like being queer in the tattoo industry?

It’s kinda hard. There aren’t a lot of people as far when I go to tattoo convention spaces, especially working in a macho-man type industry. But my personal experiences have been OK. I think my work and personality shines bright, so no ever comes at me with disrespect.

Favorite tattoo and why?

The word "elevens" across my shoulders. It’s a song from one of my teenage favorite hardcore bands With Honor. I heard it multiple times through my teen years, but one moment made it stick: The day I experienced a heart attack and racism all in one day. I got beat up, screamed at by my ex’s dad after I was caught in her house on Valentine’s Day doing absolutely nothing. 

He called me crazy racist slurs and forced me into a six feet of snow. I was so upset and went to my best friend’s house. This was an older guy, and he let me in, hugged me tight, told me everything was going to be alright. That song started playing, and I cried my eyes out.

Perfect evening out in Atlanta?

My favorite place to be in Atlanta has to be East Atlanta. I love how there are so many different options in one place. You can go see live bands of any genre, and there are so many different atmospheres, different textures of people and different ideas.

Last album in rotation?

I’ve been feeling the ‘80s super hard lately, so Pretty Poison

 

Tat Tips

Shops and artists recommended by our tattooed queers

 

Prick Tattoo

Adam Goodman

2523 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur

pricktattoocompany.com

 

Only You

401 Memorial Drive SE

onlyyoutattoo.com

 

All Saints Social Club

1588 Piedmont Ave. NE

facebook.com/pages/All-Saints-Social-Club-Tattoo-ATL

 

Live Free Tattoo 

566 Boulevard SE

livefreetattoo.com

 

Liberty Tattoo

Joey Galigher

755 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE

libertytat2.com

 

Southern Star 

736 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE

southernstartattoo.net

 

Royal Ink Studio

Rich Parker

1869 Cobb Parkway SE, Marietta

royalinkstudio.com

This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue below, and pick up your hard copy around town.