Talk About A Show Stopper

How do we handle controversial tattoo requests?

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Sometimes, a person requests what some might consider to be an outlandish tattoo idea.  As artists, it’s our job to help navigate the how’s and the why’s of these requests. For example, here at Cardinal Tattoo, we have a “no hate” policy with regard to the tattoo work that we provide. No swastikas, or hate speech, no gang tattoos, we won’t even do your girl’s or boyfriend’s name, it’s just not a good idea.  

Another symbol that we won’t tattoo is the Confederate Battle flag.  It means a lot of things to a lot of different people and while we recognize that not everyone who flies the flag is racist, we also understand that the meaning of symbols change and out of a sense of responsibility to our younger customers who may not fully understand the impact of their decisions, and to those professed white supremacists, we make a clear stand...Cardinal Tattoo will not tattoo Confederate Battle Flags.

But what if the tattoo request isn’t a “hate” tattoo?  What if it’s a tattoo with taboo connotations? In plain speak...what if it’s naughty?  And possibly needs to be censored for view? How do we respond to that request? Simply by listening to our customers. It is not unusual for us to have a solid rapport with our clients - we quite prefer it - and in the case where a request for an explicit tattoo is made, we have to rely on that relationship as well as have the conversations surrounding the desire for the tattoo.  We understand that tattoo regret is a REAL THING and we do not want to be factoring contributors so WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO if we determine that the request is frivolous and without thought or meaning.  

Which leads us here...what did Will tattoo at the Pit Row Expo in Atlanta?  A very large thigh piece of a woman performing fellatio and y’all, there was nothing left to the imagination.  This was not the first piece for this particular client that is sexual in content. He has a sleeve on his arm that pays homage to the BDSM lifestyle that has grown meaningful to both he and his wife.  Which is exactly why Will did not have a hard time making the decisions to do this particular tattoo - he knows his customer and realizes the significance.

Would people disagree?  Possibly. But tattoos aren’t for other people.  They are for the ones who wear them. Would tattoo colleagues disagree?  Once again, possibly. But for us at Cardinal Tattoo, a new idea is exciting because we like to be challenged and honestly, new ideas can be refreshing.  And the tattoo certainly got a reaction. People actually stood in line to take pictures of it. It was posted on several social media accounts as well as talked about throughout the entirety of the convention.  Because while it may have been a shocking tattoo to some, artistically, which is what the artists were judging, it was flawless. A large black/grey piece that literally STOPPED. THE. SHOW. not only for the content but because of the Artist’s ability to bring a picture to life.  This one will go down in the books as controversial for sure...but worth it. Well worth it. A happy Customer + A happy Artist = A Win in our Books.   



We are seeking a new addition to our tattoo family!!

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Artists, have you ever wanted to go on vacation without taking your equipment with you? No more zero days? What would it be like to thrive in a professional, family-oriented culture that encourages each artist to be the best they can be - and is willing to do what it takes to see that happen?

Well, look no further.  Cardinal Tattoo is just the place for you!  We are a busy, community-focused shop with a passion for the industry. We provide a service for some of the greatest customers on earth and hope that you will share in that belief.  We put our Artists and Clients first in all of our decisions. We believe in the Golden Rule and have earned all of our customers the old fashioned way- by adhering to that standard and simply doing good business.  We currently handle both custom appointments as well as walk-in traffic and are seeking a qualified Artist to join our dedicated team. The requirements for consideration are as follows:

  • A Tattoo Artist with a minimum of 3 years licensed experience

  • An Artist with a willingness to travel.  We do multiple shows a year in which all expenses will be paid and 100% of your earnings go in your pocket.

  • A drama free professional that is friendly, has a strong work ethic and motivated.

  • Excellent customer service skills 

  • Desire to do your best in all things

  • Strong Portfolio

Serious inquiries only.  Please submit your portfolio or links to your social media with a resume and/or information about yourself and shops you have worked with to  ATTN: CASI needs to be placed in the subject line.  

We look forward to hearing from you! 

New Piercing Policy Begins October 1

 All single-hole, above-the-waist piercings are $30.  Dermal anchors are $40 and genital piercings are $80.  All prices include the initial piercing jewelry.  Piercing is performed from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM seven days a week. Additionally, we offer a window for piercing at 1:00 pm daily, these early piercings are by-appointment-only and if they are not booked in advance starting promptly at 1:00 pm the window will be closed for the day.

Piercing Club Membership cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on all piercings except dermal anchors for the duration of their membership (usually 90 days). Any client who spends more than $100 on a tattoo at Cardinal Tattoo will be given a Piercing Club Membership card. Lifetime Piercing Memberships will be offered to the people we really like or anyone who asks nicely enough. Piercing club discounts will also be extended to the minor children of the cardholder.

We strongly (STRONGLY) recommend making an appointment to get a piercing. It’s quick and easy, just call the shop and set it up, and it will makes sure you receive timely service! We will accept walk-ins between 5:00 and 8:00 pm, but people with appointments will be given priority.

Minors must bring a parent or legal guardian and both the child and parent or guardian must bring a state-issued, photo ID, as well as a birth certificate (as documentation proving the relationship of the parent/guardian) in order to get pierced. The last name (and address if using an ID) of the child must match the last name (and address if using an ID) of the parent, or a divorce decree/marriage certificate must be included (in order to explain the name discrepancy).  If the minor does not have a state issued ID we will also need some form of photo identification corresponding to the child's name i.e. a yearbook photo with their name or and ident-a-kid card, in addition to the other materials listed above.

We will pierce children’s ears of any age as long as they can sit still and not cry (too much). We recommend very small children (under 7 or so), go to the Gallatin Children’s Clinic for ear piercings, they are better equipped for children so young. We will not pierce babies and if you ask us to pierce your minor daughter’s nipples you might just get punched in the face (it’s happened people, no joke).

Pit Row Expo In Atlanta

Atlanta, here we come!! We will be attending the First Annual PIt Row Expo presented by The Marked Society.

We are super excited to be attending this event! This Exposition will be held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and will offer more than just awesome tattoos. There will be a car and bike show, a corn hole tournament with a guaranteed pot of $1500.00 going to the winner, live music from artists such Carnival of Crue, Nightrain International and The Casket Creatures, and last but not least, Horror celebrities including Captain and Maybelle, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman and Michael Berryman just to name a few.

Will and Tasha will be among almost 100 artists tattooing at this convention and we are eager to follow their journey throughout the weekend. There is never a dull moment when those two are involved so aside from producing some killer tattoos, we know fun will be had!!

We are also eager to see if they enter any contests (which they usually do) and see what they win (because once again, they usually bring home an award - or two- and sometimes, even armloads full). Contest Categories for the Pit Row Expo include:

- Best of Show -  Best of Day - Best Traditional -

-Best Small/Medium Black & Grey -

- Best Large Black & Grey - Best Small  & Medium Color - Best Large Color -

- Best Automotive /Hot Rod Theme - Best Sleeve Arm or Leg - Best Chest/Back -

This will be a crazy week as we are gearing up for the trip. If you are in the Atlanta area, give us a shout! We would love to see you there!!

More information regarding the Pit Row Expo can be found at

You Spoke, We Listened

After our recently posted survey about piercing hours and costs, we have learned a few things.

  1. Our clients are some of the most reasonable and loyal in the industry

  2. Some people, who are not even our clients, feel like they should be able to dictate how we do business

When we began offering piercing at Cardinal Tattoo it was as a simple courtesy to our customers. We wished to provide safe and affordable piercing to our tattoo clients and their families. We kept prices ridiculously low, in fact, the shop has never made money on piercings, we merely paid the piercing fee to the piercer and the rest went to cover costs. All of our piercers are either tattoo apprentices or want to become apprentices and this was a way to make them some money and take some of the workload off our more experienced artists. It has the added benefit of introducing our newer staff and allows them to improve their customer service skills. However, due to the increase in our popularity, it has become more difficult to sustain the capability to offer timely walk-in piercings all day long. We experimented with offering piercings for three hours a day and all day on Saturday for a couple of months now and we have asked you, the customer, to weigh in. The results of that experiment are as follows:

Effective October 1st, Cardinal Tattoo will be doubling the cost of all piercings except for dermal anchors which will remain at $40 apiece. -The reason for this is it has become obvious to us that some people are willing to complain about anything and we’d rather not listen to it unless we’re getting paid to. It’s no fun going to work just to listen to a bunch of people who want something for nothing bellyache about how long it’s taking, or the wait times, or the fact that we ask you to make appointments, or that you need ID, or you have to prove you’re a minor child’s parent or legal guardian. Just wait, it gets better.

We have also become aware that some people who patron Cardinal Tattoo for piercing are not our loyal customers. These people have been sent by our competitors and have exhibited bad behavior or poor treatment of our staff. This will not be tolerated. Our services are for people who value what we have to offer and for those who offer us loyalty in return for our faithful service. For us, tattooing isn’t just about dollars and cents, we put a bit of our heart and soul into every tattoo we do and if you don’t understand that, we don’t want to be friends.

Thus, anyone who has been tattooed at Cardinal Tattoo in the last three months can come by during the month of October and pick up your %50 piercing membership card! This personalized membership card entitles the customer to an unlimited number of piercings (except dermal anchors, which are not going up in price) at half price for 90 days. This offer will also be extended to the minor children of our tattoo customers. Anyone who spends more than $100 on a tattoo will receive one of the cards, which will be good for 90 days, from now on. We’re not trying to raise the price on our existing clients…

Simply put: We’re trying to weed out the refuse. Cheap piercing at Cardinal Tattoo is for our loyal tattoo family only. If you want to get tattooed somewhere else and get pierced here, or if you just want the convenience of getting pierced close to home, you’re just going to have to pay for it.

Some of you aren’t going to understand this.

Offering a discount to our tattoo clientele only makes sense, it’s the very purpose behind our offering piercing in the first place. With the piercing membership card, we can continue to reward loyal customers. By raising our price for others, it will allow us to continue to offer affordable, convenient piercing to the greater Gallatin area. Otherwise, it’s simply not worth it to continue to offer piercing. We hope you understand, but if you don’t, you’re part of the problem and we don’t care.

To our loving family of dedicated tattoo and piercing clients: We love you and thank you for your support while we make the changes we need to be able to better serve you. We have some very big things in the works for Cardinal Tattoo and we can’t wait to include you in all the fun!

To the people who have a problem with it, go fuck yourselves.

Fun Times At The Gathering

It was a whirlwind weekend in North Carolina but both Will and Tasha enjoyed themselves and met some really cool people.  We took lots of pictures and will post them throughout the week but these are a few from last Friday night. Be on the lookout for more to come!  Special thanks to Carolina Tattoo and Arts Gathering and Lenoir, North Carolina for being so welcoming.  

Be sure to click on each picture so that you can see the slideshow. Also, stay tuned to check out the cool awards that we won this past weekend!!