The images from the past of a tattoo parlor may be a bit of a cliche, but those sometimes come from a place of reality. Past visions tended toward that of a dark room, mysterious shopkeepers and a seedy crowd of bikers and other rough customers patronizing the establishments. But the times, as they say, are a-changin’.
The newest tattoo parlor in Maricopa, Satyr Moon, combines custom-designed skin art with a use of color not found from most artists, a creative and supportive environment, a hint of mysticism and even some faerie dust.
The owners, Troy Talmadge and Brit Zane, moved from Massachusetts to be closer to family in the region.
“We had been looking at Maricopa for quite a while since we have family in Mesa and Sun Lakes, and we wanted to be close to both,” Zane said. “Maricopa seemed like a great combination of a growing city and rural environment. We moved here in April and really like it. We wound up staying with parents for a while then got into our own place in June, and we just love it.”
Talmadge, a tattoo artist with decades of experience, and Zane, who handles business operations, opened their new shop at Stage Stop Marketplace in late November. According to Talmadge, demand has been strong.
“A lot of people were curious about who we were and there seems like there’s lots of word of mouth through the marketplace,” he said.
Zane said he believes there is good reason for the notice they are getting.
“Our website showcases a lot of Troy’s art and makes it apparent how our work is different from most other artists,” Zane said. “We use a lot of color in our work; lots of others seem to use a lot of black and gray in their work. With 30 years’ experience, Troy has the colors down.”
‘I WANT EVERYBODY’S TATTOO TO BE THEIR OWN’
But Talmadge said it’s more than color that sets his work apart. Many clients come in with an idea of what they want in a design but have difficulty bringing that idea to fruition. Others simply ask for suggestions based on a theme they have in mind. Either way works for Satyr Moon, he said.
“The final work is usually a combination of their idea and suggestions we make,” Talmadge said. “Most people have a basic, raw idea in mind of what they want, but if they don’t have images for us to work from, I can create something custom for them. I don’t like to copy artwork to put on someone – it makes it less personal and seems more retail-oriented. I want everyone’s tattoo to be their own.”
That level of customer care permeates all that Satyr Moon does. For years they have been helping breast cancer survivors in their recovery by offering areola and nipple tattoos as part of their healing process. Indeed, when a woman has a mastectomy, the reconstruction does not include a nipple, so a realistic tattoo can provide another step in their recovery.
“The way we work is helpful in this area as well,” Zane said. “We’re private – there is only one client in the room at a time since we work by appointment only. It’s very Zen-like and calm. The studio has bright colors, and really helps put people at ease.”
He said the feeling of helping those recovering from a traumatic event like a mastectomy is extremely rewarding.
“We love being able to use tattoos to help someone reclaim themselves,” Zane said. “We love having the ability to help people with self-harm scars, or mastectomy scars for breast cancer survivors. Troy uses flesh tones and shading in his tattoos to create illusion of a 3D nipple. It’s just amazing the effect it can have on people to see that.
“It really is personal for both of us. We both have friends and relatives who have suffered from breast cancer, and we’ve witnessed their struggles.”
‘MADE ME FEEL PRETTY AGAIN’
Their work definitely helps, according to Lindsay Northrop, a customer who worked with Satyr Moon to have tattoos done on her breasts after a double mastectomy. She didn’t want traditional areola and nipple tattoos, she wanted seashells, and Talmadge and Zane helped her get the results she wanted.
“When my doctor told me that saving the nipples wouldn’t be a priority, it was pretty deflating,” Northrop said. “After the surgery, every day I was looking at these scars and feeling defeated. …. I didn’t really understand how transformative it would be for me to get this done. It made me look at my body in a different way and made me feel pretty again. It was very healing, and frankly it was the last piece I didn’t even know I was missing. It was transformative and helped me take back my body a little bit.”
Northrop runs a support group for young women in her area and shares her experience with them and how it helped in her recovery, and many of them have gone on to have this kind of work done at Satyr Moon. Talmadge and Zane also do a lot of what their customers refer to as tattoo therapy — especially for those looking for memorial tattoos.
“Lots of people (look) to us for those types of tattoos because we present a very safe and nurturing environment where they can be OK with their grief,” he said.
To further explore the mystical angle and learn more about the origin of the shop’s name, customers can visit the website and find artwork, clothing and home decor featuring a variety of Talmadge’s original art.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Satyr Moon is not taking walk-in customers; all visits are by appointment.
Hometown: I grew up on the shoreline in Branford, Connecticut.
Family: Small, close family; I am the youngest of three. My parents are deceased.
Years as a tattoo artist: I have been drawing tattoos since my young, teenage years and tattooing for close to 30 years.
Artistic inspiration: Being more of a visual artist I tend to be inspired by many different creative people throughout time from Renaissance artists through the modern age.
Most common tattoo I do: My most common tattoos are memorials, designs that speak to someone of a loved one, a pet portrait or paw prints, and ribbons for awareness.
Favorite tattoo color: I have to laugh because some people would joke and say I tend to match the colors that they wear while I’m tattooing them. But typically, I find a person’s chosen colors also reflect what they wear!
Before coming to Maricopa: I’ve wanted to be in the desert since I was a small child, so I believe I was always heading toward Maricopa. I started my career nearly 30 years ago along New England ocean towns. Starting in Connecticut, my home state, I moved north to work with my dear friend and spiritual sibling Juli Moon. We worked closely together, finding we made a fantastic duo with corny jokes and great personalized tattooing. We shared a wonderful work ethic and pulled inspiration from each other. We worked a lot in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts for 20 years.
Tattooing philosophy: Tattoos for me are alive, a living piece of body armor that we get to wear. They tell a story, we can hold them close to us, they can protect us and guide us.
This item appears in the February issue of InMaricopa magazine.