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Body branding tattoo
Rose Tattoo
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Hi! I’m the owner of Body Branding Tattoo Emporium in Naples, Florida. Established in 1994, I have been affiliated with the National Tattoo Association since 1997 and am also a member of the Association of Professional Piercers since 1999.

I would say my interest in tattoos all began in 1976. It was in Stamford, CT. where I was friends with Tony Esposito who was just getting started with tattooing. I decided to volunteer my arm and so wound up with my first tattoo. I watched him tattoo lots of people, well into the 80’s, paying close attention the whole time. In 1977 I also wandered into Big Joe’s Tattoo Parlor in Mount Vernon, NY. Although I had no real thoughts of being a tattoo artist then, “The Experience” I had there had always made me say to myself “I’d like to have a place like this someday. Chick’s, Tats, bikes and everything I liked, what can I say?

In the late 70’s to early 80’s I was collecting tats and paying attention to the artist. In those years I studied several people tattoo. “Shorty” from Port Chester, NY., a woman known as Lee Kutamsh in Bedford, NY., and of course, my friend Tony Esposito in Stamford, CT.

As the years went on, I had gotten lost in life. I had been riding with a club back then. I got married in the mid 80’s and had two kids. At that point I realized my kids would be in school soon and the schools were not very good in that area. I was also working for the city of Stamford as an Incinerator Operator breathing in dust every day. I wanted something different as far as a job. So, in 87 we loaded up and moved to Naples, FL., sunshine and palm trees.

Soon after arriving here I started a bike shop called “Jimbos Hog Parts”. Little did I know divorce was right around the corner, which had forced me to close my bike shop. However, sometimes a bad thing is really a good thing in disguise. I had to move out of the beautiful house I just had bought a year and a half earlier. The ex got it. Meanwhile I met a girl who I became good friends with, Suzy, who was a person you could just talk to. Well one day Suzy said, “Jimbo, you’ve talked about the experience you had with tattooing in the past, do you thing you could teach me what you know about it if I buy the proper equipment?” So naturally I said sure. She went out and bought the Spaulding & Rogers deluxe set-up with tattooing A-Z, Sterilizer and all, we even got the Revolution Machine. Thank God we had an orange tree in the backyard. We tattooed 500 times more oranges then we actually ate off the tree.

As time went on friends that seen the oranges all over the house started asking for us to ink them up. We followed Hucks Spaulding’s Book (Tattooing A-Z) like it was a bible. Local artists we studied like A.J. Johnson, now owner of Looking Glass Tattoo in Bonita Springs, FL. And Ed “Cash” Coventry would come to Naples and do tats at Mickey’s Place, it was always a treat to watch him tat. He was definitely one of my inspirations, to aspire, to truly commit myself to this trade. Along the way I also met Deano. At this point Suzy wasn’t keeping up or being serious about tattooing so I palled around with Deano for a while. I had set up a studio in my house and got a few machines from Big Joe. While Deano did the party scene, I didn’t like to move around as my set up was all in my house studio and sterilization in one of my biggest concerns.

During the day I had a pressure cleaning business and nights were spent in the studio tattooing. We were doing lots of work, but one night, out at the bar Deano said to me, “I bet you a dollar your couldn’t open up a legitimate tattoo parlor in Naples.” It was widely believed tattooing was illegal in Naples but I took the bet. It took me almost two years of researching State tattoo laws as well as local ordinance on tattoos and fighting the county commission, but eventually I got the call saying my license had been issued and I could open the first Tattoo parlor in Naples. That was in 1994.

Then the ball really got rolling, and I was open for business legally and still operating the pressure cleaning business. After four months I realized I couldn’t be out all morning doing the cleaning thing and then coming to the parlor. I sold the cleaning business in 95 and strictly did tattoos from then on. A year or two later I met Todd Vargas. He needed to work a little while he was visiting a relative in Naples. So I gave him a chair to work in. We got talking about National ne day. I wanted to become a member so he put the call in for me while he was here. One of the other challenges I was up against was the growing demand for body piercing. So as fate would have it Nemises, a piercing shop owner from Seattle, WA. wandered into my shop and wanted a place to start out. So we made a deal. I would learn piercing from him while he got established in the area. After a year or so I felt comfortable with the body piercing and a shop came open in Ft. Myers Beach, so Nemises moved on.

Shortly thereafter I heard about the Association of Professional Piercers and the strict criteria they have. I always like to be in the forefront of the field especially when it has to do with sanitary issues of this trade. I forgot to mention we got the name for the shop because I was doing a little research on Branding. It wasn’t really popular in the early 90’s so I thought what a great name of the shop as I suspected the trendiness might catch on the East Coast. I have done quite a bit of it, but to this day it is not a mainstay of our operation. And by the way, Deano finally ended up back in Florida and paid me the dollar bet made in 1992 in 2015 and now has a chair in the shop that came about all on a Dollar bet.