With Pastel Devil Studio, these artists are reimagining today’s tattoo parlor – St. Louis Magazine

What could spell death to original tattoos? Pinterest, says Amelia McCormack. Shes been a tattoo artist for 16 years and tells her clients to Google the idea that they want without typing in the word tattoo. But she understands that if this is your first inking, you need a place to start.

Its why she hopes that the shop she and Angie Meuth (whos been an artist for 11 years) recently opened in Lafayette Square will be a haven for all body art fansthe inked-up and the tattoo virgin alike. Whether its your first tattoo or your 40th tattoo, its supposed to be fun, McCormack says.

After the pandemics economic impact forced the parlor where they previously worked to close, McCormack and Meuth opened Pastel Devil Studio (1800 Chouteau). We just wanted to make a good thing out of a bad thing, says Meuth.

McCormack learned the trade from someone who did biker-style tats. Former art student Meuth first drew in the American Traditional style. Now both artists consider their tattoos to be illustrative, often of birds, botanicals, and nature. (Florals are very popular.) McCormack is enjoying Midcentury Modern designs. She cherishes clients who trust her own creations or, at the very least, advice, especially against tatting lovers names. (She once had to explain to someone that she couldnt yet cover up his four-day-old couple tattoo.)

For example, when parents want to honor their children, Meuth and McCormack steer them away from the usual birthdate numerals. The human body is not flat, says McCormack. If you want to watch a tattoo age quickly, its going to be easier to notice on letterings rather than an organic image like a bird or flower. The best requests are personal, but not every tattoo needs meaning, says McCormack, who has an armadillo tattoo simply because she loves them.

Right now, Pastel Devil is open strictly by appointment. Many of the artists old clients have followed them there. Hygiene is more important than ever. With help from front desk associate Sam Smith, masked-up guests are staggered throughout the day and sign a COVID-19 release form, essentially saying theyre aware of the virus; hands are washed, cellphones are wiped down, and temperatures are taken on clients arrival. The cleaning protocols have been an adjustment for the artists, who also work in masks.

The corner studio, often filled with natural light, marries both artists aesthetics. A sapphire velvet sofa and two cane chairs complement mint, peach, and red on the walls and in the rugs. Some furniture pieces, such as the coffee tables, are from Meuths childhood home. Your average tattoo shop is kind of a dark dungeon, says Meuth. We were looking for the opposite of that. On the wall are astrology and witchcraft imagery, vintage pin-ups, and original works by St. Louis artist Aidan Monahan. One wall hanging stands out: A 1937 St. Louis Globe-Democrat page, discovered in the ceiling of The Mud House, on Cherokee, tells the story of Mildred Hull, a woman tattoo artist in New York City.

Women have never been fully respected, in my opinion, as they should be in this industry, says McCormack. I love that we are making our own way; its not the boys club anymore. I think were starting to have a definite presence, whether [male peers] like it or not.

Over the summer, there were allegations of sexual assault tied to a few Grove businessesincluding a tattoo shop. We have quite a few women, I think, that are looking for a place that is a little safer, considering what has been going on, says McCormack. She and Meuth hope that Pastel Devil, one of the citys few woman-owned parlors, can be that.

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With Pastel Devil Studio, these artists are reimagining today's tattoo parlor - St. Louis Magazine

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