“It’s a craft, people bring a lot of art into it,” he said. “Art’s got one thing but tattooing is a little different.”
UNC sophomore Annie Oommen got her first tattoo on her lower rib cage at Glenn's. She chose to get a tattoo that symbolizes the camp she works at during the summers because of the sentimental value it holds for her.
“Those summers I have had there, I am my best self when I’m at camp and it’s my happy place," she said. “Having a tattoo there in a close place to my heart is very sentimental, it means a lot to me."
Oommen paid around $60 for her tattoo, roughly a quarter of the size of her hand, of the logo of her unit at summer camp. She plans to get a tattoo with her mother in the next few years.
“They were so kind, they explained everything to me and made sure I was comfortable,” she said. “I never felt unsafe or anything like that, it was overall a great experience.”
Wilson has come a long way since opening Glenn's in 2001. He now also owns a tattoo shop in Wilmington, where he currently lives. He said working as a tattoo artist means respecting the self expression of the client.
“It’s kind of a combination of what art abilities the tattooer has along with the expression of whoever’s getting it and what they want,” Wilson said.
Bland said the industry has gained a lot of validity over the last two decades. He said Glenn's tries to combat the stereotypes that come with having a tattoo.
“On a larger scale from just more exposure, a little less prejudice, the idea that the person with tattoos isn’t the criminal, the biker, the prostitute,” he said. “Whatever the stigma once was, we’ve tried to foster that as much as we can through our own actions within the community, trying to be as charitable as we can be.”