Yesterday I caught up with tattoo shop owner Jeremy Gaudreau, a local businessman that recently opened his shop “Living Canvas” at 1881 Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford. He opened his doors four months ago and business is already booming.
Why open a shop in New Bedford?
There are about a dozen shops in Fall River, one in Acushnet, a bunch in Wareham, and other surrounding areas. New Bedford had one shop when I started the ball rolling and that one wasn’t officially open yet. There was a need for quality tattooing in New Bedford. People were leaving New Bedford and going to other places. Keep it local.
Everyone who comes in just got out of prison or is a biker, right?
Ha! No, our customers are soccer moms, grandmas, young people, old people, politicians, cops, doctors, you name it. There’s still a stigma that it’s criminals, but anyone who believes that is behind the times by about 15 years. Everyone knows someone with one.
I notice you have quite a few discounts and specials advertised. Tell us about them.
We have permanent and temporary ones. We always have a “hero” discount. Police, firemen, military, veteran…you get 25% off. Student? 15% off. If you enter your name and number in the box, once a month I randomly pull one out and that person gets a free portrait.
We have the infamous Harpoon Tattoo. Small, medium and large for $25, $50, and $75. A portion of that gets donated to charity.
I take it portraits are something you enjoy doing?
It’s my specialty. That and realistic images. There’s a bunch in the portfolio and on the Facebook page that people can see.
If I was new to get tattoos, what should I be looking for when I walk into a place? How do I know if the person is not a hack?
Well right away, when you walk in what condition is the place in? Is it a wreck? How clean is the front room? That will be an indicator. Is the artist friendly or act like you’re bothering him or her? Do they have portfolios available? Ask them where they apprenticed. Do they have artwork?
Do you mean tattoo artwork or art in general?
Yeah, regular art. The person should also be an artist….painting, drawing, sculpture, anything. You know they are practicing all the time and love doing it. The tattoo artist should be an artist first.
What kind of safety procedures do you have?
Well you have to be certified in CPR, bloodborne pathogens, skin physiology, and more. I have the autoclave and ultrasound machine and throw away EVERY needle. Single use only.
I see that you offer more than tattoos. Some clothing, jewelry….
We have a few brands of clothing made locally. Shirts, stocking hats, hoodies, etc. “Victim”, “Jubei” and “Brawlers, Inc.” Adam Wood from right down the road here hand crafts metal rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. I also personally hand make my tattoo machines and we offer them too.
So how’s business? How has New Bedford been treating you?
Good, man. We just opened and I’m booked on average three weeks out and it’s growing. Of course, people cancel so depending on the size of the artwork, I do walk-ins so stop by.
What’s the best part of the job?
Besides not having a boss breathing down my neck, I love meeting all the interesting people. It’s a treat to hang out with the interesting characters and do something I love to do.
Where do you see “Living Canvas” in the next few years?
I’d like to add another artist and I’m working with the city to develop a piercing policy. As soon as the city works it out, I’ll be offering piercing. I’d like to make New Bedford known for quality tattooing. I already have people coming from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and even one girl flying in from Kansas to get a portrait in a few weeks. [Customer walks in.]
Oop. Gotta go!
Thanks for the interview Jeremy!
Living Canvas’ hours are from 11-10 Monday through Saturday. Gift certificates are available. Walk-ins can’t be guaranteed, so appointments are suggested. A $40 non-refundable deposit is required and 24 hour notice to re-schedule. Tattoos that take 30-60 minutes run from $50-$100, pricing for bigger art is posted. Portraits are a $350 flat rate. If you want to see satisfied customers, more artwork, and the clothing and jewelry, click like on his Facebook page: Living Canvas Tattoo