By Kelsey Givens
With 18 years of experience and more than 40 magazine features written on his art, one tattoo artist brought his talents to Pahrump and opened Living Art, tattoos and piercings last weekend at 1190 Highway 372.
Brian Jones, owner and only tattoo artist for Living Art, said he believes his talent, clientele list and shop features will set him apart from the competition here. Jones was granted his final permit by the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission Nov. 14.
“Well, I have my credentials, my portfolio and my tattoo studio looks like an art gallery. And I’m on the main strip and it’s all neon, all my counters are granite and I’ve got marble tables, I mean it’s super, super high end,” he said. “Even in a bad economy, quality shines through.”
Jones comes to Pahrump from Tennessee where he built his career over the last 13 years as a self-employed tattoo artist with his own stores.
He said his motivation for opening the new store here was to give his family, especially his 11-year-old daughter, a better life.
“Where we’re from, you couldn’t buy beer past 11, you couldn’t drink on Sunday, they just did not want it to grow, and I have great, great business there. But we were No. 1 in the state for meth and No. 3 in the country,” he said. “I moved here for my family. I moved my girlfriend and my daughter out here in July so she could start the sixth grade out here. I wouldn’t have to take her out of school halfway through the year.”
Though he could have moved his talents anywhere in the west, Jones said his love of Las Vegas and the fact that he has family and friends in Southern California made Pahrump seem like the perfect place to be.
“I lived in Southern California for years, and I love Las Vegas,” he said. “I’m close enough to go to Vegas, I’m close enough to go back to Southern California to see family and friends there, and this town reminds me of where I’m from, except it has more people.”
Jones said he’s always had a passion for art, and even began receiving scholarships for art school and classes in the third grade.
Though he veered away from visual art to pursue music while in college, Jones said he was brought into the tattoo business by a man who ran in the same social circles.
“The shop where I was trained was starting to get really busy, and the guy that owned that, he and I became friends and we rode motorcycles together, and he’d seen some of my air brushings and things … That guy trained me and I worked for him for five-and-a-half years, and now I’ve been completely self-employed for over 13 years,” he said.
During that time, Jones has earned the patronage of customers from all over the east coast, some of which he said will be flying out to Southern Nevada just to have him finish pieces for them.
“You see when I was in Tennessee, I’ve got a customer base where the whole east coast would come to me. Back there I worked 90 percent appointments. I was usually booked up three months ahead,” he said.
Though he was extremely busy in Tennessee, for now Jones said he plans to be the only tattoo artist in his shop.
“For now it’s just going to be me, because I know if I do it, it’s my quality,” he said.
As business picks up for the entrepreneur, he said he can foresee hiring another person for the studio within the next six months to a year. Jones said he will also have another employee that does permanent cosmetics.
While it may be a busy time for Living Art as it opens its doors to the community, Jones said at the end of the day tattooing is his passion and he couldn’t ask for anything more.
“In this industry, it’s unusual to find someone who’s been tattooing as long as I have. People get burnt out or they get on drugs, but I’m drug free, I just tattoo and go home. I care about what I do,” he said. “At the end of the day I still know that I’m better than everybody else, even if I don’t like the tattoo I’m doing, I still put everything I’ve got into it because it’s a reflection on me.”
Living Art uses hospital sterilization on all of its equipment. Store hours are Tuesday through Thursday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. to when the last project is finished.
To schedule an appointment at the shop or to receive more information, call Living Art at 727-8282.