Placed neatly at 704 N. Ashley Street, across from the Dairy Queen, is a large gray building renovated into Valdosta’s newest tattoo parlor and gallery, The Brass Quill Gallery.
Tattoo artist and owner, Bob Laynes and his wife created the idea, and with them, they brought in two Valdosta tattoo artists, Jacob Walsh and Ben Stubbs.
“I just wanted a place where I could do what I want, whenever I want, and for my friends to work there,” Laynes said.
Laynes was an artist as young as the age of five and began tattooing in 2004.
“I never really considered being a tattoo artist,” Laynes said. “I just needed a job one day and a local shop was looking for a receptionist. I applied for the job and ended up being hired as an artist because of my portfolio.”
All three artists hold interests in music, art, tattooing, piercing and antiques, hence The Brass Quill Gallery houses these and more.
“The Brass Quill is all about quality art,” Walsh said. “We hope people see that when they come in and they feel comfortable being here. Tattoos are with you for life. We want to make sure people get quality art and fond memories.”
The shop had been in preplanning for some time.
“We worked together before and the three of us really got along,” Walsh said. “[Laynes] was working at a different shop when he called Ben and me with his idea. We just kind of went from there.”
Laynes spent about an hour finding and securing a location after their financial benefactor, Jim Roeder, instructed them to do so.
“It took about five months to renovate the place,” Laynes said. “We still have upstairs to do. I want to add a few more stations up there, but only when the time is right.”
Both Walsh and Stubbs were ecstatic to be part of Laynes’ idea for a new place.
“First it was the fact that it was gonna be a small group of good friends working together,” Walsh said. “That sounded really fun. Then Bob found a building and when we saw how amazing this place is inside, that was it.”
Walsh, a fairly new tattoo artist of about two years, loves to get tattoos just as much as he loves to give them. He also paints and enjoys most art in general.
His station is covered in his paintings and with his infatuation with dinosaurs and sharks.
“I feel that this place offers a more personal approach to custom tattooing,” Stubbs said. “Here, we have no flash. We can work hands on, on designing a fully custom, one of a kind tattoo that the client can have for the rest of their life. Plus this place is awesome.”
Stubbs has been working as a tattoo artist for a few years and loves it. Walking into his station, one will find his past art everywhere—whether pictures of tattoos or just random pieces of work he has done himself.
“Tattooing is a way to express my art to the world,” Stubbs said. “I love being out in public and seeing my work on someone. It’s an awesome feeling to give someone something that they help create and that they will have forever.”
The first few weeks of business for The Brass Quill Gallery have been busy—full of photographers, interviews, clients coming in and out and an overall satisfaction with the work they have done.
“It’s so good to see everyone’s reaction when they first step in this place,” Walsh said. “The three of us have loyal customers and that’s a really great thing. We’ve seen many old and new faces in our first few weeks. It’s great that so many people have taken a liking to The Brass Quill.”
All three artists have high hopes for their budding business, and the three are working on some big plans in the future to get the word out about what they do and who they are.
“I hope that customers who come into the Quill will feel welcome as friends as well as clients,” Laynes said. “I want them to see that anyone can make a living doing what they love to do and I intend on helping them do that if it is within my power.”
“I see our business being on the tips of everyone’s tongue in a year,” he said. “We don’t only cater to tattoo fans, but pretty much whatever our interests are.”
The Brass Quill Gallery gives military and VSU student discounts; the crew hopes to start raffling off gift cards and tattoos soon.