How to Become a Tattoo Artist (Pike Tattoo in Cold Spring, KY)

“Who is your favorite tattoo artist? Do you have any artist that influences you?” I ask Jimmy Howell, owner of Pike Tattoo in Cold Spring, KY about his inspiration for his tattoo artwork.

“My son is my favorite artist,” he replies. “And these guys,” motioning to his coworkers.  The passion he has for his family and career is apparent as he talks about leaving his former traveling life as a pipe fitter and settling down with his business instead of being away from them lengths of time.

I’ve come to Jimmy in a crossroads of life, knowing my interest and ideas but not knowing what area to focus on first or how to go straight forward.  When I ask him how he got started, he mentions starting a free apprenticeship until he got good enough, putting in all his time and skill to create the life he wanted.  Today Pike Tattoo is the longest running shop in Campbell county, and the shop prides themselves on having personality, evident in all of the smiles of the employees.

Pike Tattoo

Pike Tattoo Gang

One of the biggest challenges of being a tattoo artist shop owner is the hours.  Jimmy mentions working 4:30am-11pm some days, but says lack of sleep is a good trade off for “loving what you do.  Wherever it goes from there is icing on the cake.”

Jordan Phillips, a chef moving to Florida is getting a piece done before he heads down and kindly lets me watch Jimmy add his next design.  I ask Jordan on a level 1-10 how bad the tattoo on his shoulder is hurting right now and he says not even a 1.  “The pain comes 3 hours later,” he says, explaining it hurts like a sunburn.  “Where does a tattoo hurt the most?” I ask, and both answer simultaneously. “Ribcage.”

campfire tat

Pike Tattoo original design

Jimmy Howell is a great inspiration for what hard work and determination can create.  Pike tattoo is clean, friendly, and has a cool aquarium tank of fish.  Not to mention dope art designs for any personality.  Check it out!


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