When you show up for your appointment with Stevie Moon or his cohort, Todd K., you realize one thing the moment you step inside the new, cathedral-ceilinged studio: You are not about to get beaten up. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's not. Most tattoo parlors are fetid swamps of masculine aggression, where the artists and the patrons seem at least as interested in seeming badass as they are in tattoos. Not so at Stevie's: Just like in the duo's old digs in Gateway Plaza, there is a couch, there are shelves overflowing with books about art (and not just tattoo art— Stevie and Todd are as into Marcel Duchamp as in Don Ed Hardy, and probably more so), and there are the two artists, quick with smiles and pats on the back and excited as hell about what they're about to do to your epidermis. Their work is as technically proficient as anybody's and vastly more proficient than most, but the difference is all in the ethos. These folks want to talk to you, want to find out what you're really interested in, and they want to make sure you get something you'll be happy with in ten (or 50) years. That's why there's no prefab flash art on the walls, and it's why the books on the shelves cover so many bases — the statuary of Oceania, lesser works of Flemish masters, it's all up there. And though the guys at Stevie's are always happy to stick some old Renaissance fresco on your thigh, they're quick to tell you that their real passion is for custom work — a concept they approach with a wide-eyed sense of happy adventure that is entirely refreshing and very nearly unique. They know that being an original is way more exciting than being a print.

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