There are people who tattoo and then there are tattoo artists.
There are people who pierce and then there are body-piercing specialists.
Wicked Tattoo and Piercing in Maple Ridge has three artists who have studied the art of body art and modification and are committed to continue their learning every step of the way.
"Once you stop learning and evolving you will become like one of those old scary tattoo shops," said Vanessa McNaughton, owner of Wicked, which opened on March 26.
"The days of picking [a tattoo] from a flash are over. We are not a pick-your-tattoo-off-the-wall kind of place," said McNaughton about the old-school way of looking through hundreds of pre-drawn tattoos and selecting a piece that has already been stencilled onto others before you.
"Copying is a huge faux pas these days. When the client walks away from Wicked they have a 100 per cent custom piece," said McNaughton's business partner Clay Welti, who added that he likes to collaborate with his client so that he can design something that they are "ecstatic" about.
McNaughton and Welti also work with Mike Grant, a body modification artist who is wellknown for his industry seminars.
Grant has just returned from Costa Rica where he was commissioned by four studios to teach and give training seminars on body modifications and techniques. While there he shared his knowledge of 3D modifications, scarification, and body art safety.
Health Canada is routinely upgrading regulations and generally looks to Grant and a few other prominent Canadian artists for health and safety advice in this field.
"The industry is very progressive, the art work is more dynamic, the implements and materials are more advanced," said Grant of the constant need for further education.
"Working on the human canvas is an honour. I feel privileged to work on people and make them happy," Grant said.
For more information about body art in Maple Ridge visit wickedtattoopiercing.com.