BENTON PARK – If you’re on Jefferson with some free time, why not stop in for a tattoo?
Arch Nemesis Tattoo at 2909 S Jefferson Ave had its Grand Opening on Saturday, celebrating with a flash sale for walk-in tattoos. Run by Valenica Miller and Nikole Knebel, the shop offers tattoos alongside permanent make-up services and piercings.
Miller said that she and Knebel wanted a space where people can feel comfortable, especially when it comes to seeking out permanent makeup services. These include things like permanent eyeliner and eyebrows.
Aaron Wall, one of the tattoo artists employed at Arch Nemesis, said that he got into tattooing because he was “a rowdy little kid and I got into a lot of trouble and tattooing was cool. And I never stopped.”
He said he’s done tattooing for about fifteen years, previously working in Alton, IL.
“I learned the unconventional way,” he said. “I’m self-taught. Not super admirable in the industry, but growing up I didn’t have the opportunity… So I just taught myself. Books, internet. When the internet started coming around, I was able to get information off of that and I just learned that way. Scratching on my friends, messing up a lot.”
Owner Valencia Miller began her life as a tattooer about eleven years ago in Hawai’i, where she settled as a teenager after moving around due to her father’s military service. Miller is currently getting her MFA from Washington University, and she said that the flexibility of owning a tattoo parlor is something that was appealing to her.
Of the tattoo world, she said, “My favorite part about being a tattooer is how grateful I am that people will allow me to put my artwork on their bodies for the rest of their lives and that people will trust me to do that… And then also getting to know my clientele. You know, people just want to talk to someone that they’re trusting to put something permanent on their body.”
In contrast, she also added that the most bittersweet part of the tattoo world “is when I’ve tattooed someone so much there’s literally nowhere left to tattoo them.”
Miller, who specializes in realistic portraits, said she finds she gets a lot of repeat clientele. Her favorite past tattoos have been a portrait of Edgar Allen Poe that she did for a co-worker and covering the name of a client’s former abusive boyfriend.
“When I do cover-ups like that, it’s like the best feeling,” she said.
Arch Nemesis Tattoo is open seven days a week starting at noon. Check out some of their work on Instragram @archnemesistattoo.