FIRST PLACE: Best Tattoo Studio
RUNNER-UP: Best Tattoo Artist (Tugboat Johnny)
Tattoo Archive is one of those singular gems that makes Winston-Salem the city that it is. But in fact, it was begun in Berkley, Calif. by Chuck Eldredge, who moved the operation here in 2007 after decades of operation on the West Coast. The archive is a museum, with rich texts and artwork culled from centuries of the practice, and also an education center, with knowledgeable experts on body art. The website is also trove of knowledge, with indexed histories of tattooing and tattooists. The shop itself acts as a gallery, with an ever-changing array of tattoo-inspired art and vintage curiosities. And it’s also a full-on tattoo studio, where Tugboat Johnny plies his award-winning skills for the past six years.
“All the shops I worked at before were all like street shops,” Johnny says. “You just do whoever walks in off the street. [At the archive,] even before the pandemic we were more appointment based. It’s nice having that space, and to work with Chuck, pick his brain about anything tattooing. He’s seen so much….” (tattooarchive.com)