The 11 Best Tattoo Shops In NYC

Posted by SCOTT HEINS on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 @ 03:03 PM

KINGS AVENUE TATTOO: The first time I walked into Kings Avenue Tattoo "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" was playing on the shop speakers and you could see the sunset streaming in through the windows—which is to say, the vibe here is just right. Their second-floor loft boasts 10 tattoo stations, and the staff has held itself to high standards of kindness and expertise ever since their Manhattan location opened in 2011. Mike Rubendall, famous for his Japanese full bodysuit work, is the marquee artist here, but no matter who's tattooing you at Kings, you'll walk out with a beautiful new work. Plus, the shop's windows look out on the famous 190 Bowery, so you'll be able to ponder the buffing of decades of graffiti history as you add a little ink to your own skin.

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Kings Avenue is located at 188 Bowery between Spring and Kenmare Streets in Nolita, (212-431-5464,

Tags: Mike Rubendall, Art, nyc, bowery

2nd Annual Thom DeVita Art Show At Kings Avenue Tattoo N.Y.C

Posted by Jennifer DeSantis on Fri, Jan 03, 2014 @ 03:13 PM

Thom DeVita
panther art


“1,000 Pieces of Original Art”

Tattooer and Artist Thom DeVita to stage Bowery

exhibit featuring five decades of artwork

(Newburgh, NY) Today, the 81-year-old tattooer and artist Thom

DeVita announced that on January 10th, 11th, and 12th, he will

participate in “Odd Art,” his second solo art show and sale at

Kings Ave Tattoo in New York City. Within the increasingly diverse

tattoo community, DeVita is consistently held up as an innovator,

responsible for bridging the gap between tattooing’s military- and

biker-influenced “old school” and its stylistically all-encompassing

present iteration. On display for the first time ever will be some

of his earliest known paintings: three watercolor and ink drawings

dating from the late 1950s.

DeVita was born and raised in East Harlem, and began tattooing on

the Lower East Side in 1961, the same year that the New York City

Health Department banned the practice city-wide. He worked illegally

for four decades, receiving customers in a converted apartment on a

drug-ridden block deep in Alphabet City. In 1991, he relocated to

Newburgh, New York, just six years before the tattoo ban was lifted.

In 2003, DeVita stopped tattooing professionally, shifting his focus

to what he calls “creative rubbings”—acetate tattoo stencils placed

under thin paper and rubbed over with a dry medium. Borrowing from

the visual chaos of his urban upbringing, the kinetic execution of

mid-century painters like Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline, and the

simple, iconographic style of American tattooing, DeVita continues

to apply his designs to any surface that will take pigment—including

the floorboards of his Victorian home—enabling the show’s claim that

there will be “1,000 pieces of original art” for sale.

He’ll also be showing some of his most unusual work: the original

pieces of “flash,” painted in the 1970s, that hung on the walls of

his studio, illustrating for his clients the types of designs he

could apply. Traditionally, tattoo parlors display this imagery in

the manner of an art gallery—framed, and printed on archival paper—

but DeVita’s prized flash was painted on wooden slats salvaged from

discarded fruit crates.

This will be DeVita’s second show at Kings Ave. (His first show,

in January of 2013, was his first ever in New York City, and the

artist sold a total of 85 pieces to fellow tattoo artists and art

enthusiasts alike.) The tattooers Scott Harrison of Portland, OR,

and Bubba Reeves of Los Angeles, CA, will be accepting walk-in

tattoo appointments during the show. The show was organized by Chris

Grosso, a video producer at Vice, who profiled DeVita in several

episodes of the online channel’s “Tattoo Age” series.


Odd Art

Kings Ave Tattoo

188 Bowery, Second Floor

New York City

(212) 431-5464

January 10th, 12 - 9 PM

and January 11th and 12th, 10:30am to 9pm

Curator: Chris Grosso

Links and further reading:

“Tattoo Age” with Thom DeVita

Thom DeVita’s online catalog

Essay by artist Nick Bubash


nyc art show

Tags: kings avenue tattoo, Mike Rubendall, Art, thom devita, bowery, 1, 000piecesoforiginalart, oddart, Scott Harrison, Bubba Reeves, Chris Grosso

Recent Work From Kings Avenue Tattoo

Posted by Jennifer DeSantis on Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 02:52 PM

Another day on the Bowery. Fortunate enough to keep doing this thing we love. Thanks to all our clients, that allow us to live the dream, tattoo New York and do it on one of the most historic blocks in the city. Feel free to visit us and get a taste of why we love it so much down here. Just a few of the recent pieces, from the last couple of weeks, that makes it all possible.












Tags: kings avenue tattoo, Grez, justin weatherholtz, nyc tattoo, jason tyler grace, Phil Szlosek, bowery

Kings Avenue Tattoo - Chris Odonnell and Paul Dobleman

Posted by Jennifer DeSantis on Thu, May 02, 2013 @ 03:14 PM

It has been a great week at Kings Avenue Tattoo. It's been great having Paul Dobleman doing a guest spot with us. He's a talented and fun guy, that seems to have brought a little of that West coast weather with him. We are going to miss you sir. Make sure you come back soon.
Paul Dobleman 
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Paul Dobleman2 
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We are also glad to have our dear friend and amazing artist Chris Odonnell at Kings Avenue NYC on a regular bases. Getting the opportunity to watch this guy work day after day, week after week is a true blessing and an inspiration to everyone. 
Chris Odonnell 
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chris odonnell1 
chris odonnell 3
chris odonnell4 


Tags: kings avenue tattoo, guest spot, nyc, chris odonnell, bowery, paul dobleman

Proud to be on the Bowery

Posted by Jennifer DeSantis on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 05:17 PM

     Area's are constantly changing in the city. The poet James Merrill once wrote "As usual in New York, everything is torn down before you have had time to care for it." These words ring true for so many parts of this ever changing city and The Bowery, New York City's oldest thoroughfare is no different. The Bowery has seen many changes through it's rich and diverse history. In the early 18 century, before there was even a Broadway or a Lafayette, there was the Bowery and it was the very symbol of wealth and elegance. From the Bowery Theater and it's neighbor the Bowery Amphitheater, to it's strip of mansions and opulently designed banks, (like the Bowery Savings Bank and the Domed Citizens Savings Bank which still stand today,) the Bowery catered to the rich and powerful. In a city that would become the gateway to the world, the Bowery was it's crown jewel.

      It wasn't until the Civil War that the Bowery began it's transformation. The expensive shops and opulent mansions were replaced with common man concert halls, brothels, bars and flophouses. The Bowery was beginning to look and feel more like the area it would be known for, all the way into the late 1990's. It was becoming a home for the counter culture and less fortunate. In 1880 the Bowery Mission was founded, and in 1909 it moved to it's new location on 227-229 Bowery were it stands today. It was also at this time that the Third Avenue El ran above the Bowery, darkening the streets and making it a perfect home for it's prostitutes, gambling houses, tattoo studios and the sailors that flocked to them (many of which would stay for good). The Century Magazine wrote in 1919 "Here, too, by the thousands come sailors on shore leave, notice the studios of the tattoo artists, and here most in evidence are the down and outs."

The Bow’ry, The Bow’ry!
They say such things, and they do strange things on the Bow’ry

—Harry Conor, from the musical A Trip to Chinatown, 1891

     As time went on from the 1900s all the way into the 70's the Bowery was New York's skid row, but it was not just the impoverished that lived here. The Bowery was also home to a growing art culture. Miner's Bowery theater often featured performers like Harry Houdini, Al Jolson and W.C. Fields. Modern artists, Roy Lichtenste and Mark Rothko called the Bowery home. Poet Walt Whitman often said he loved what he called "Bowery slang" and would often use it in his work and Allen Ginsberg's masterpiece Howl was partly inspired by life on the Bowery, the words as raw as the streets themselves. In the 70's the Bowery would also be home to the legendary CBGBs which saw the beginnings of rock greats, like the Ramones, Patti Smith and the Talking Heads. With such a spirit of originality it only makes sense that tattooing also was a large part of the Bowery's history. Legends and innovators in the field such as Samuel J. O'Reiley, Charlie Wagner, Bill "Jonsey" Jones and Willy Moskowitz all called the Bowery home. O'Reilly opened up Black Eye Barbershop at 11 Chatham Square and it is where he first patented the "modern-day" electric tattoo machine. He worked there with his apprentice Charlie Wagner, who after O'Reilly's death in 1908 purchased the shop and along with his good friend Bill Jones carried on the legacy, and they were not alone. Another good friend of Charlie Wagner's was Willie Moskowitz and they quickly learned that they could make a living in tattooing. Charlie taught his friend what he knew and shortly after Willie opened up his own tattoo studio in the basement of his barbershop at 4 Bowery. These men were pioneers in our industry and their stories remain things of legend to this day. The late night fights, drunken brawls and rough and ready clientèle were at the very essence of the Bowery. It was these men's dedication, innovation and exploits that helped to make our industry, art form and livelihood what it is today and it was the Bowery that provided the perfect backdrop. For this we are forever grateful.

     Things continue to change all over this great city and the Bowery is no different. All of us at Kings Avenue Tattoo are proud to be on such a legendary street. We feel it everyday when we walk down the street and see the history just outside our window. We are glad to be here doing what we love, and following in the foot steps of the great men that have come before us. So things may change but if we continue to respect history and those who made it, we can keep the very soul of the Bowery alive and well. It is not just a skid, a row, it was not just a home for the homeless, it was a place for people who wanted to be free, take chances and think outside of societies norm. It is at the very core of what made this city great and for that matter tattooing also. For a city that sets the bar and makes the trends, at it's heart is the Bowery and we can think of no better place to call home.

Written by..John Foscante

Tags: kings avenue tattoo, nyc, bowery

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