December 20, 2011

Our Neighbors: Collins has love for family, tattoo art

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — With mammoth sideburns, electric blue gauges and 21 tattoos in all, 27-year-old Aaron Collins is an outstanding artist with needle-point precision.

He began apprenticing with local tatoo artist Jared Harris of Dare I Tattoo for about five months in 2010. Although he is known for his progressive style, he doesn’t shun the neo-traditional and traditional American style that began in the 1950s, which is reflected in the nautical anchors on each of his forearms.

“As my horizons were expanded, I really started appreciating traditional styles a lot more,” Aaron said.

Aaron is one of three artists that work at the newly opened Main Street shop, Bodean’s Tattoos.  Bodean’s Tattoos is a Somerset-based business that expanded into the London area on Nov. 25.  For Aaron, it’s expanded his sketching into a full-time profession.

“It felt good to be contacted about the position, because Bodean is a very well respected tattoo artist,” he said.

Tattoos may be his profession, but his 21-month-old daughter, Noelle Collins, is his love.  Noelle has only stepped foot into the tattoo shop a couple of times and inadvertently has mirrored her father through drawing.

“She loves to draw. She draws with markers or Aqua Doodle crayons,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to read too much into it.”

He doesn’t want to get his hopes up, but believes maybe someday she, too, will want to be an artist.  He decided to name her Noelle because it phonetically sounded artistic.  Aside from her artistic talents that are emerging, so is her rough and rugged personality that contrasts with Aaron’s humble and even-tempered character.

“She destroys a lot of things I’m working on. She’s always jumping in my seat and drawing all over everything,” he said.

Ultimately, Aaron realizes that she just wants to participate in her single-father’s life.  So, outside of the tattoo shop, the two bond through roughhousing.  Aaron admits that he enjoys taking turns as they each chase one other around the house, pretending to be monsters.  

“It’s a blast for both of us,” he said, as he paused with a smile.  

Aaron’s traditional style of tattoos are portrayed up and down his arms with a particular hungry looking great white shark emerging from his right hand, but he’s anything but traditional.  He’s brimming with progressive ideas and hungry to tattoo the London community by needle-point.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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