Luke Physioc is an artist specializing in tattoo, music and skateboard art, as well as a music reviewer. To view Luke’s art or read his album reviews, visit LukePhysioc.com. He has served in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and now U.S. Army Reserves, and is a frequent customer of barbershops and tattoo shops.
As a former soldier, I have a lot of experience with both barbers and tattooers. I’ve been getting tattooed at least once a year since 1998 and up until very recently, due to my tenure in the military, I was getting my haircut every Sunday morning when I wasn’t deployed. Every time I would go to a new duty station I would seek out a good barber and check out the local tattoo shops, to see if there are any shops worth visiting.
Nowadays, more and more combination tattoo and barbershops are popping up all over the country. At first it seems like a novel idea, and then it occurred to me – this isn’t surprising at all! The two trades actually go hand-in-hand remarkably well, the barber history says that barbers were actually considered medical professionals who specialized in bloodletting, dental procedures and even surgery, and every good tattoo shop should be kept at a medical level of sanitation and have a deep understanding of processes involving the skin. Then of course on the very surface, both barbering and tattooing directly
impact a man’s (or woman’s!) personal appearance. Even better – some guys actually go the extra mile beyond just sharing a space between barbers and tattooers. Some become both licensed barbers and licensed tattooers so they can perform both services at the shop.
There’s also the environment that barbers and tattooers may share. I like my tattoo shops and barbershops to have a similar feel. The decor should be sparse, yet classic, and well-maintained. The walls could be mistaken to be out of a museum since both professions have a rich history. And both barbershops and tattoo shops are great places to go just to shoot the breeze and share a dirty joke and maybe a beer. The best tattoo and barbershops are the ones where you occasionally stop in from time to time, but maybe not even get a haircut or a tattoo every time. They’re great community locations where you can just hang out, learn and soak up the atmosphere with people like yourself.
A few of the shops I’ve heard of across the U.S. that do the combo tattoo-barber gigs are Big Kat’s Tattoo & Barbershop in Houston, TX, Old Tyme Tattoo & Barber Shop in Evans, GA and Old Glory Barber Shop & Tattoo in Los Angeles, CA. Then there’s also Pappy’s Traditional Barber Shop in San Diego that shares a space with Propaganda Tattoo. I’ve got a lot of places on my list to check out when I travel the country, but there are many more across the U.S. that I didn’t list here. These combination barbershop and tattoo shops are still few and far between , but they’re definitely out there and they’re a great concept that I hope to see more of. Next time you’re in the market for either a tattoo or a great haircut, think about seeking one of those out and enjoy the ultimate tattoo and barber combined experience.