If you’re gonna get inked up in the Slope, The End Is Near is the place to do it. Though my body is a blank canvass, I can tell this place is the real deal. I recently sat down with owner Craig Rodriguez to discuss his vision for the shop, the celebs he's worked on, and the bad-ass guest tattoo artist they've got in the shop through the end of the month.
At forty-six years old, Craig’s been tattooing people for twenty years. His body appears to be enrobed in tats, and he reveals that the very first one was a falcon’s head on his shoulder, and the first tattoo he ever inked on someone else was the Harley Davidson emblem.
Though Craig opened sister studio Hand of Glory thirteen years ago, his vision has always been The End Is Near: an intimate space for tattoos, piercings, unique and beautiful jewelry that seconds as an art gallery complete with regular shows.
So what’s trendy in the world of tattoos? Lower back tramp stamps are out (and have been for a long time), and inner wrist tats are in -- kind of like the one that walking train wreck Lindsay Lohan has that reminds her to "breathe." And speaking of celebs, Craig has a somewhat impressive resume of Hollywood flesh under his belt. He once had to close the shop for Meg Ryan they could mark something cutesy and forgettable like a shooting star shitting hearts on her forearm. They've also worked on some Law & Order leads AND Steve Buscemi's son.
One of my favorite moments during the celeb convo was when Craig and his colleagues tried to recall the “super famous pop star” they tattooed. Her name might begin with an R… or an S… or wait, maybe a W. So began the guessing game that led to nowhere. They claim they’re not into pop music so can’t remember. I found this a little weird. I mean, I could give two shits about Star Trek but when someone told me that Patrick Stewart moved to the neighborhood I was able to say, "Oh right -- THAT'S THE GUY FROM STAR TREK." (OK, so maybe Craig had to explain to me that Stewart played Jean-Luc Picard and not Captain Kirk as I had assumed, but whatever.)
In addition to to tatting up famous people now and then, The End is Near also has their own celebrity guest artist working in house; a man named Futoshi who is visiting all the way from Japan. Apparently he's a big shot there and does some crazy-great work. When talking about his guest artist, Craig says, “Forget shows like Miami Ink. There are so many talented people out there who blow those guys away and are quietly masterful.” Futoshi is working at the shop until September 29, so if you want to get in with him you better book now! And if you're looking to get something festive in the month of October, think about stopping by during Halloween Geek Week, where you can score original ghoulish tats from the sick minds of the artists (customized cat buttholes and ghost boners, anyone?)
The End Is Near is located at 465 7th Avenue (at 16th Street). Their hours are Monday-Sunday from 12PM-11PM. Ph: (347) 335-0846