For the first two hours of Blaque Owl Tattoo’s 6th anniversary party everyone was afraid
to cut into the cake because it looked so cool. But then again, everything in Blaque Owl looks cool. The tattoo shop opened its doors for May’s First Friday and welcomed the public
to come in and have a beer and check out the work by local artists on display throughout the front rooms.
The Blaque Owl tattoo shop in downtown Missoula celebrated six years of business this weekend and opened its doors to the crowds downtown on a Missoula spring evening.
Blaque Owl was opened in April of 2011 by Mike Shaefer (aka “Shaf”) who has been a tattoo
artist since the early 1990s. There are currently nine artists laying down ink at Blaque Owl,
including Shaefer, although he said he doesn’t do nearly as much tattooing as the others
nowadays. Shaefer takes his work a step further and builds and sells his own tattoo machines, which are also used by many of the artists at Blaque Owl.
Mike Shaefer’s tattoo machines use magnetic pulses to generate the rapid motion required to effectively push and pull an inked needle in and out of skin. He sells them at flyingirons.com.
Schaefer’s machines are like a steampunk I SPY scene in microcosm. They are made of items like straight razors, worn paper currency and intricate metal shapes and cogs.
Tattoo artist and body painter Melissa Thompson applies paint to a very patient individual.
During the party, Shaefer was wading through the crowd talking to friends and guests with his son, Johnny, on his shoulders. The party attracted visitors of all types, inked or not. Fake tattoos were being passed around for kids and anyone else that wanted them, and in one of the shop windows tattoo artist and body painter Melissa Thompson was hard
at work turning a human being into a temporary work of art.
Louise Spencer gets work done on a tattoo by artist Britt Felgate. Spencer had been in the chair for about two hours, a stint she described as “not bad.”
In the back, several customers were getting some work done. Someone eventually did tear off a corner of the cake, causing a wave of hungry visitors to do the same, and it was close
to gone in a matter of minutes.
Artist Ian Caroppoli, Rebekah Ghaddar and Bridget Stoltz man the front desk during the party.