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I’m in Love With This Anime-Themed Tattoo Studio

A tattoo artist wearing a grey beanie works on someone
Tattoo artist Moss touches up a shopper’s tattoo. (Julia Glassman)

1Up Ink West, a tattoo studio nestled between a gourmand ice cream store and a psychic reader on third Road in L.A.’s Koreatown, is decked out in Funko pops, motion figures, and popular culture memorabilia. Shoppers watch anime on wall-mounted TVs as they get characters from Demon Slayer and Assault on Titan inked on their legs and arms, whereas artists loosen up on the sofa between walk-ins. “This place is a haven for folks like us,” says Moss, 1Up’s lead artist.

1Up Ink West opened in Los Angeles in 2021, after its proprietor, Pnut—an artist and entrepreneur whom Moss describes as “one of many pioneers of anime tattoos”—determined to broaden the unique 1Up Ink studio in Dallas, Texas. Artists moved to L.A. from all around the nation to arrange store within the new location.

“We’re thrilled to be welcomed into Koreatown,” says co-owner Cheech, who sees the studio as a “protected house for all walks of life.”

Why dedicate a tattoo studio totally to anime and popular culture tattoos? Moss explains that if you wish to get an anime tattoo, an artist who’s truly conversant in the anime itself will do a greater job. “You see somebody drawing or portray who loves the subject material, and then you definitely see somebody drawing like they’re simply portray the wall,” he explains, giving an instance of an artist capturing the essence of the Third Hokage in Naruto. “A love of anime and popular culture is a necessity. It’s a must to adore it, as a result of your love goes to point out within the art work.”

However the studio can also be about discovering group amongst fellow popular culture lovers who could not have slot in after they have been younger. “We have been dorks,” Moss says. “We have been nerds. We have been the outcasts. We have been the individuals who bought made enjoyable of and bullied. However by means of anime, popular culture, and video video games, we noticed mutual understanding in one another. A yr or two in the past, I didn’t know any of those folks”—he gestures on the artists round him—”however they’ve turn out to be a household to me.”

Artist Enzo Ferrari realized about anime from his brother, and tattoos from his greatest pal. “[My best friend] would do customized tattoos like Goku sporting a Gucci belt,” Enzo says. “I assumed that was cool, as a result of no one was getting anime tattoos 5 – 6 years in the past. Then he handed away, and I picked up his machine and ran with it from there.”

Whereas he talks, Enzo works on his shopper Chris, who patiently waited for Enzo’s books to open so he might are available in. Chris is getting a tattoo of “Goth Mikasa,” a semi-canon model of Assault on Titan character Mikasa Ackerman. “I just like the character within the unique collection,” Chris explains. “However this design is a nicer tackle her than Assault on Titan. It’s a reasonably merciless world in that anime, so this design appears just a little extra lighthearted.”

Cheech explains that whereas they fight to not flip anybody away, 1Up most likely isn’t the perfect place for folks seeking to get non-pop tradition tattoos. “It relies on for those who’re keen to compromise with our fashion,” she says.

However for those who’re itching to get your favourite anime or comedian guide character inked, then this cozy store is the place you’ll discover your folks.

1Up Ink West is situated at 4355 W. third Road, Los Angeles, CA, 90020.

(featured picture: Julia Glassman)

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