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Twisted Image Tattoo & Body Piercing, Cambridge, Minnesota

Back in August, I visited Vikingskipshuset, a Viking burial ship museum in Oslo, and I was utterly enchanted. I was captivated by the wood carvings that I saw there and I knew immediately that I needed to make them part of me, somehow.

I approached Jak at Twisted Image about drawing a couple of new tattoos for me, based on the carvings that I had seen. I knew that it was Jak I wanted to design them for me; from her art and previous work, to her experience and intuitive understanding of what will work in ink, to her passion about tattooing and piercing, to her professionalism and care about doing everything right.

I sent her a couple of photos that I had taken while I was in the museum, explained roughly where I wanted them, and left her to what she does best.

When I arrived at the studio itself, I was impressed on a number of levels. It was warm and clean, as you would expect, but it was also inviting and comfortable. It completely lacked the ‘dentist’s waiting room’ feel, the clinical and impersonal veneer that a lot of the places I have been to before seem to deliberately aim for. Also, Twisted Image is purely a custom tattoo shop, so there were no soulless catalogues of cheeky red devils, Crayola coloured dolphins, and generic tribal bicep bands. There was a very personal and friendly feel to the place and I immediately felt at home.

Each of the artists that works there has their own station which has been personalised to give a clear snapshot of their own diverse styles. It was really nice to be in an environment where everyone clearly brings so much of themselves to work.

Something that I hadn’t seen before, and was impressed by, was a big flat-screen TV and DVD player. Another touch that shows a gearing towards the customer experience – you’re likely to be there for a long time, probably in a reasonable amount of discomfort, and what better way to pass that time than being distracted by a film? (I personally managed to get through Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Tropic Thunder and Shaun of the Dead during my session and it really did help).

There was one significant thing to note from my perspective which speaks volumes about Jak’s skill and experience. I have an exaggerated physiological response to needles and other medical procedures which causes me to pass out. I have had a doctor explain it to me once while it was happening; basically, my body detects an attack and diverts my blood to my legs so that I can run away, to the extent that you can no longer detect a pulse in my wrist. Unless I am lying down, not enough blood can get to my brain and I black out.

I explained this to her in advance (partly because it’s only fair to warn someone, and partly to explain that I’m really not a wuss, honest!) and absolute credit to her light touch and management, I didn’t even feel light-headed. That has never happened before and testament to her as a professional artist.

Jak’s bandaging technique and aftercare guidance were also superior to anything that I have ever experienced before.

As for the tattoos themselves, here are the two pictures that I sent to her;


and here is what she created for me;


I am absolutely delighted with my new tattoos, and spent a humorous amount of time flipping in a 180 in front of the mirror trying to see them both at the same time.

In summary, I cannot recommend Twisted Image enough, and my eternal thanks go to Jak for doing such an amazing job and providing me with such a good experience.