Hungarian tattoo artist Kristian Weber works on a tattoo for a client yesterday. Mr. Weber is one two European artists that Serenity Tattoos has brought to Bermuda so far. 
Photo by Leah Furbert
Hungarian tattoo artist Kristian Weber works on a tattoo for a client yesterday. Mr. Weber is one two European artists that Serenity Tattoos has brought to Bermuda so far. Photo by Leah Furbert
Running your own business isn't easy. It's even harder when you're in the business of changing people's appearance - permanently.

Tattoo artist Mark Hall, owner of Serenity Tattoos, is learning this lesson now, but says he's still determined to provide a top-quality service for Bermudians.

His shop is on the second floor of a building near the corner of Reid and Court Street, Mr. Hall's shop is just three small rooms - one for sterilizing the equipment, one room where the tattoos are actually done, and a waiting room. Nearly every inch of wall space is covered with drawings of tattoo designs and photos of tattoos that have already been created.

Mr. Hall opened the business in August of last year with one other person, who no longer works for him. Since then he's brought in two European tattoo artists at different times to work for him.

"It's been slow," he said. "I don't know why … it's not easy, you start a new business and it's not easy.

"Some months I may make $600 to $700 … it's hard sometimes," he said.

Although he is still learning how to do tattoos himself, Mr. Hall brings in more established tattoo artists to help grow his business.

He currently has in Hungarian Gyula Kristian Weber, who has been tattooing for nearly 15 years. Hall also plans to offer body piercing in the near future.

He feels the difference between a good tattoo and a great one is love.

He said he hasn't seen this calibre of tattooing in Bermuda before, regardless of the tattoo artist.

"[These tattoos] are love, that's the only way I can explain it," he said.

He says his shop's tattoos are truly custom-made, and not just stencils. The customer comes in with an idea, and Mr. Hall's artists draw the idea to the customer's specifications, meaning that no two tattoos are ever alike. "Bermudians don't know these things," he said. "Custom is drawn and that's the service we're trying to provide."

He adds that his prices are not expensive - tattoos begin at around $70, with prices at $150 an hour.

The first thing customers usually worry about is the price, he says, but they should always make sure the equipment is properly sterilized before they allow a tattoo artist to work on them.

It's also important to look at the artist's portfolio to ensure they have the skills.

For his part, Mr. Hall has to wait for his work to speak for itself. He only hopes that his customers will tell others where they got their tattoos done.

Serenity also specializes in cover-ups - covering up a previous tattoo or a scar. They also fix tattoos to make them brighter or more prominent.

One customer, who has had the six most recent of his 11 tattoos done at Serenity, said, "These guys are different … I don't have any [complaints]."

The image of a quality tattoo shop is coming, however slowly, Mr. Hall said.

"It's just trying to build up that reputation. The first year is the hardest."