68 E Broadway
Little Falls, MN 56345
The art of tattooing runs in the family at this local tattoo shop. Established in by the family patriarch, Anthony Elliott Sr. (AJ), Elliotts has been tattooing in Little Falls since 1990.
AJ first moved to Little Falls from Winnipeg as a child, and later stayed after starting a family and establishing himself as a tattoo artist. Over the years, Elliotts Tattoo has been housed in various locations around town until finding its current home on Broadway.
AJ’s fascination with tattooing came from his father, who was in the Royal Canadian Navy and had a tattoo of a ship on his arm. Originally, he thought that tattooing involved magical ink. At 13, he learned that needles were involved in the process, and that solidified his decision to become a tattoo artist.
He learned how to do tattoo from a girl who did stick-and-poke tattoos with India ink. He had to wait until he found tattoo equipment and had to write a letter to get that equipment. This was at a time when places that sold tattoo equipment would place small ads in the back of adult magazines, so it was difficult to get a hold of equipment. He felt like he was breaking the rules in doing tattoo because he was never an apprentice. He just practiced tattoo and kept it quiet.
AJ’s son, Anthony, followed in his father’s footsteps starting as a teenager. Naturally artistic and constantly seeking improvement, he turned to his father for guidance in his art. AJ never glorified the profession, but supported his son’s decision to pursue tattooing. He took him on as an apprentice, having him clean the shop and do smaller tattoos after months of practicing by copying flash work.
The two now tattoo alongside each other, and have made a name for themselves in Little Falls for their unique, vibrant designs.
When AJ started tattooing, there were only 9 colors to choose from. Though there are many color options to choose from when getting a tattoo, now more than ever, not all pigments are created equal. Browns and yellows will start receding into the body after 15-20 years. Some tattoo techniques won’t last in terms of how they appear on the body. Is a tattoo readable; does it make sense; will it last forever? These are the things Elliotts considers for its tattoos.
Standing by the idea that “bold will hold,” the Elliotts often tattoo bright, vibrant tattoos with solid lines and colors they know will not fade over time. With proper care, the designs can stay just as vibrant as the day they were tattooed.
AJ and his children—Anthony Elliott II and Jessica—all tattoo at the shop. As of this publication in 2020, they also have an apprentice named Adam Bleeker.
See more photos from our visit to Elliotts below!