Veteran inkers open shop in the heart of midtown
Two Way Cool tattoo artists are ready to make an indelible imprint in the Yonge and Eglinton area.
George Brown III and Matt Ellis spent seven and 10 years respectively at Way Cool Tattoo Uptown and have decided to spread their wings and open their own parlour.
Wanting to grow in their craft, the two created Seven Crowns, a name that, to Ellis, is apropos of their industry.
“Seven and crowns are both things that are involved in tattoo imagery since forever, especially the older sailor stuff and the sort of rock and roll, gambling lifestyle,” he said. “(And) seven crowns have a lot of religious connotations attached.
“It just hit home on a lot of different topics.”
Ellis said he has no worries about moving into the Yonge and Eg. area, which is packed full of young families and urbanites. The many traditional tattoo nooks throughout the city have also become gentrified, he said.
“We just didn’t want to do the clean-street thing, which 10 years ago, if you were to open a tattoo shop, the obvious choice would have been Queen St. or somewhere close because that’s where that sort of element is in its majority,” Ellis said.
Anthony Stephenson’s opening of Way Cool Tattoos Uptown in North York broke the tradition, he added.
“Things can only be appropriate to the areas that they’re in,” Ellis said. “And our place being sort of secluded, … tucked in the back of a private studio, I think is perfect for this area.”
People curious about having Ellis or Brown leave their mark on their flesh needn’t worry. Ellis assuaged sufferers of trypanophobia — the fear of needles — to talk to an artist because “a needle a doctor gives you is not even close to the same thing as a needle that creates a tattoo”.
He added the industry has a strict safety policy.
Tattooist Ace Daniels, who opened the first Way Cool on Queen St., was instrumental in getting the health board involved in the industry.
“Nowadays, unless you are getting tattooed in a basement — not to put down basement tattoo artists — there really isn’t that much concern,” Ellis said. “It’s almost hard to work dirty these days.”
And the two men aren’t just restricting themselves to inking human canvases, either.
“We’re doing a lot more artwork as well and plan on having small gallery shows in the future,” Ellis said.