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Permanent marker: City tattoo parlor is all for the family

Published: Mon, February 4, 2013 @ 12:04 a.m.

A family-friendly atmosphere at Bitter Hearts Tattoo Studio


Nick West, another employee at the studio, gives 6-year-old Isaiah Howley a temporary tattoo of a skull on his birthday.




A child is probably the last person anyone would expect to see when you walk into a tattoo shop.

But on his sixth birthday, Isaiah Howley and his mother made a visit to Bitter Hearts Tattoo Studio, 2209 Mahoning Ave. While sporting a birthday crown, Isaiah picked out a temporary tattoo of a very angry-looking skull for his forearm.

In the next room over, Ben Moody is cringing while multiple wolves are tattooed on his body which, when completed, will cover the entire length of his torso.

A few feet away, a tattoo shop employee is sketching out a design, a woman is getting her belly button pierced, a group of friends are playing a round of pool and another employee is tattooing his first client.

A moment never passes by without the buzzing of heavy music in the background. Every turn of a corner reveals an entirely new scene with a unique activity being carried out and a different story being told.

Ian Simon recently moved his tattoo business from Liberty to the city’s West Side and hired an almost entirely new staff.

Even though this is a new gig for some, the group is never lacking creativity. Their bodies are covered with as much art as the walls in the shop. The group is family-friendly, and the environment is not intimidating.

It’s clear why 6-year-old Isaiah wanted to visit the guys at Bitter Hearts on his birthday.


1busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Wow, This deserves to be an article in the Vindicator? I heard you can tell when middle class areas are loosing their income levels do to hard times like we just went through, that left a lot of faimlies living on less, when you see all the dollar stores open up. They are like the buzzards of disparity. I think it is the same with tatto parlors. This woman is really showing her child the good side of life. I guess it would be all right if a father took his 6 year old son to a strip club, Oh that is right. He can see a lot of tattos there. Parents are supposed to lead their children to a better life.

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2DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Internet cafes, dollar stores, cash advance outlets and tattoo parlors are a sign your community is sliding.

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3maxborenstein(27 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Dollar stores generally locate one per 10-20 thousand people. I don't think that it has much to do with "hard times," but the changing retail dynamics. Walmart locates one per 100k population, so stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar fill in the gaps. I don't consider an area to be "sliding" when dollar stores open, but instead the retailers studying the market demographics and making investments. Now the other types of businesses mentioned by DwightK are signs that demographics are "sliding."

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4uetz(38 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

This poor child is doomed from the very start. He does not stand a chance for having a decent, normal life and I am sure will soon be permanently marked with ink he cannot erase all over his body and wlil grow to regret them and depise his parents for taking him down a path of unemployment and life as a joke.

I cannot take people seriously who have tattoos everywhere. I understand maybe getting 1 or 2 or maybe even a sleeve above the bicep where it is concealed a majority of the time, but beyond that and they are obviously trying to compensate for something they are not. Sure, it's "your skin", but it is no longer 'unique', and soon within 10-15 years, NOT having a tattoo will be considered 'different' and will make you a tough guy.

There once was a point when only people who were tough and rebels would get tattoos; now you go into any lower income area, dive bar, or fast food restaurant and you see your share of misguided people with their EX-girlfriend's name on their necks, and 'skulls and demons' on their arms ...

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5mauzy006(14 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

@ all 4 of you well opioinated blabber mouths you have not the slightest clue how that woman raises her children also the owner of the shop Ian has a beautiful girlfriend and 2 yr old babybgirl not to mention a nice clothing line hes one of the few whos bringing business back to this god forsaken hell hole i guess if he was out raping stealing and killing bieng a dead beat father and collecting a check (after all thats what you think goes on in the "GHETTO") it would be more acceptable EVERYONE cant be a doctor or lawyer after all you wernt! Haha what type of small business income or youth programs have you blabber mouths generated for the city you all soo love? @busyman guess your not to busy afterall lol what a joke! @uetz there once was a point when dinosaurs roamed the earth aswell times change having tattoos do not make you anyworse or less productive than a person without a little advice open your eyes and stop stereotyping it makes you all seem less educated than you are trying to portray to the masses!

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6busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Hey people!! Sounds like we hit a nerve with someone. I guess we can not express our 1st amendment right. Oh! And hows yous knows thats Iams nots a doctor or lawyer? Oh that's is right. I forgot to put the apostrophes to separate the words.

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7Loriah(1 comment)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Wow. The negativity the comment section generates on this website is ridiculous! Maybe that's a real indicator of how doomed this area is. Shame on the ones who made judgemental comments . I am proud of Ian! He's a young business owner, with a strong ethical and moral compass. Tattoos and/or piercings do not take away from one's character. Your negativity, however, speaks volumes about yours.

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8mustbethewater(1 comment)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Well that does it because Ian has tattooed me I have to quit my respectable job and start mugging the clergy. Or maybe I'll just keep working 60 hours a week and supporting my children and paying my taxes....good grief

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9chrisPbacon(1 comment)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

In my opinion, a temporary tattoo is about as taboo as a face painting, stickers, and glitter. It comes off.
If my child wants something to show off to his/her friends for his/her birthday, and if it brings a little support to Ian's shop, I'd do it in a heart beat.
To judge someone's parenting skills for a temporary piece of art is about as close minded as it gets in this thread. Children aren't doomed from having creative parents. They're doomed when mommy is a hooker or drug addict, so let's quit being so dramatic, folks.

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