Louisville Magazine

JUN 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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14 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 6.19 THIS IS AN AD Buddy Wheeler spent hours at his dad's tattoo studio when he was a kid, and when it was time to get his first tattoo, Buddy knew just which one he wanted. "My favorite is my first tattoo, which my dad did when I was 22 years old," says Wheeler, owner of Tattoo Charlie's. "It's a lost soul design. It's on my left forearm. Dad had the same one on his right forearm." Like father, like son. Buddy's dad, Charlie Wheeler, started the tattoo studio in 1973. Buddy took over the business in 2007, and owns two locations. Preston Highway in Louisville and on New Circle Road in Lexington. Buddy now has numerous tattoos including a big chest piece, colorful sleeves on his arms and large tattoos on his legs. He also has a real sense of the history and meaning of tattoos and has watched the artistry change over the years. "We really pull from ages 18 on up," Buddy says of his clients. "From airline pilots to zookeepers – A to Z." While in the 1940s and 1950s tattoos of military designs, roses and hearts with banners were popular, the tattoos people choose these days are more diverse and individual. "Years ago, people would flip through a design book or look around our walls and pick something," Buddy says. "Now, 80 percent of people bring in pictures or ideas of their own. Tattoo designs ebb and flow with time." These days, lettering is very popular as are water color designs and anything started by a celebrity trend. Lettering often includes Bible verses, children's names, and handwritten letters from parents or grandparents. "We've also done spouses names," Buddy says, "and we have a pretty regular business of covering those up." A small tattoo can take 30 to 45 minutes to complete and cost $70 - $80. Very large tattoos can take multiple sessions of 4 to 5 hours each over several months and range in price from $2,000 on up. "We've definitely seen an uptick in the larger tattoos like a full-arm sleeve," Buddy says, adding that even women are opting for bigger tattoos. "There used to be a bigger diœerence in the size of tattoos men and women would get. Women used to traditionally get small dainty pieces. Not anymore. Since the mid-2000s, they're getting big ones, too." Tattoo Charlie's employs seven artists, four piercers and two counter staœ. Appointments are recommended for very large tattoos but walk-ins are also welcome. A Conversation with Buddy Wheeler, owner of Tattoo Charlie's By Rachel Reynolds tattoocharlies.com

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