92 33rd Ave S
St. Cloud MN 56301
“Tattoos are like graffiti on trains – a way to communicate messages that move to different places.”
Dark Matter makes up a majority of the structure of the universe, surrounding us and making us what we are. Shop owner Eric Noble kept that in mind when choosing the name for his tattoo shop in 2013, knowing he wanted something cosmic. Black and green fill the shop, a recognizable color scheme fitting for the space-themed tattoo shop.
Eric got his start tattooing in prison in 1997. The practice gave him something more productive to do, instead of turning to more trouble. He was taught by Dennis Cahill, and while the practice wasn’t professional, they tried to create the safest conditions possible at the time.
Without proper supplies at their disposal, prisoners had to get creative in making their tattoo machines. Walkmans and electric razors have small motors that can be used to power the machines. Even the ink must be manufactured by hand, using the carbon soot left behind from burning things.
Eric mentioned the challenges of finding the right people to pass the art of tattoo down to. He wants to make sure he is giving the skill to the right people, those who will hold respect for the field and be ethical. Those who won’t copy others’ work. He wants to transfer the same ethics and core values he learned from Branden to younger generations.
Much like a tattoo artist has respect for their mentor, that respect is passed further on to the person being tattooed. There is a tremendous amount of trust involved in the tattooing process. Tattoos can be incredibly personal, a journey the person being tattooed goes on. It is the artist’s job to guide them on that journey, and leave them with a tattoo they can be proud of.
Tattoo is very personal. He’s often dealing with raw emotions. The significance of a tattoo can be very important to a client and it’s hard to know this about a client at first.
Eric has very loyal clients/customers because they have developed a relationship. This isn’t just a business transaction. You have to provide good, solid technical work but you’re also building a relationship. This is another challenge with tattoo, connecting with people and developing relationships with clients.
When asked about the future of tattooing, Eric put an emphasis on finding more efficient, more eco-friendly, and less painful methods of tattooing. While tattooing has made leaps and bounds in the past centuries, there is always room for more improvement.
Beyond his work as a tattoo artist, Eric experiments with more permanent artistic mediums. While tattoos only last until the wearer dies, pieces like oil paintings can last centuries, and tell of the world as it was during the time of its creation.
Current tattoo artists at Dark Matter are Eric Noble, Jesse Stish, Mitch Marlow, and microblading artist Kimm Marlow.