Best Tattoo Artist - 2008
Chris Strait at Cool Cat
She's a lesbian and a mommy and she's been heard to say, "Man, I respect that you want to get that thing slapped on your arm, but I ain't doing it." Perhaps Chris Strait won't be so frank if she thinks you're a dweeb who deserves to live forever with a fundamentally dumb cosmetic choice on your forearm, but probably not. Cool Cat's coolest kitty will probably tell it like it is just the same. She'll talk to you about the design you need and how to buff up the lines so it won't turn into a smeary, mucky mess five or 10 years hence, and then go to work. She's got a light touch and a bedside manner that you can only call genteel. No stony-faced machismo here. No nasty feeling that, even though she's giving you a tat, she'd rather be beating you to a pulp in a bar fight. Just smooth and easy conversation that jumps from the vagaries of relationships to the fine points of comparative theology to the spicier novels of Anne Rice. And the work itself is excellent. Strait tends toward the traditional, but she can do anything and do it better than just about anybody — her subtle control of color is hard to beat, even as her personal aesthetic cries out for ruddy reds and rusty greens.