Three partners open tattoo, piercing shop in Southside Mall

Allison CollinsArtist Jess Schneider tattoos 19-year-old Davenport resident Shaelah Butler at Something Wicked Tattoo in the Southside Mall last month.

Something wicked has come to Oneonta’s Southside Mall.

Tattoo artists Jess Schneider, 47, and Hannah Spring VanArsdale, 39, with piercer Michaela Huffman, 25, left Main Street to launch Something Wicked Tattoo at 5006 state Highway 23, next to the Southside Cinema, in mid-December. The three previously worked downtown at Indelible Ink, which has since shuttered.

Schneider, 47, said the three women welcomed the chance to create something of their own, while continuing to collaborate.

“I’ve been tattooing forever and I moved up here from Queens about five years ago to answer an ad to run the (Indelible Ink) tattoo shop,” she said. “I bought a house and settled in and then the opportunity presented itself to open our own shop, and we took it. I’d always wanted to own my own shop.

“I built up a really good clientele here, so the thought of leaving that behind was like cutting off your nose,” she said. “I wanted to make it convenient for my clients to still come and see me, but in my own environment and with our own aesthetic.”

By offering distinct styles and services, Schneider said, she, VanArsdale and Huffman can “cover everything that comes in the door.” Schneider said piercer Casey Galli, 34, is also apprenticing as a tattoo artist.

“We each have our own favorite, but my personal favorite (tattoo style) is photo-realism and black and gray,” she said. “Hannah likes big, bold color, so it works out that she has her thing and I have mine. And Michaela likes to be creative and she’s really passionate about (piercing). She offers the option for people to do something that other people aren’t doing, like different angles or a different part of the ear, and she uses all titanium, so it’s hypoallergenic.”

Schneider said, for her, tattooing satisfies a creative bent in a way other medium can’t.

“I was always an artist and, at first, I thought I’d be a graphic designer,” she said. “I thought that was my calling until I got my first tattoo and it clicked. It was just something about the environment, the process, the smells — it was all very enchanting, and I was hooked.”

While the situation is somewhat unique, Schneider said, clients familiar and new are embracing Something Wicked.

“The second we were in there, we were working; we really hit the ground running,” she said. “All of our clients are over-the-moon excited for us, really supportive and just so excited that we got to have this new fancy space.

“A lot of people are surprised that we ended up in the mall,” she said. “This is a smaller town and not something that’s ever been done here before — though in larger cities it’s not uncommon to have a tattoo shop in the mall — so most people are super-excited for us and also like, ‘This is really good for the mall.’”

Clients, Schneider said, represent “a huge mix.”

“I’ve tattooed everybody from college-aged people to somebody who’s gotten their first tattoo at 75,” she said. “It’s just a gamut, really.

“A large amount come from Oneonta, but I have clients that come from Cobleskill, Sidney, Norwich, Delhi and Maryland,” she said. “If they like your style and they’re willing to travel, you can get (clients) from pretty much anywhere, but I do mostly local.”

Schneider said she hopes to see her art and the industry continue growing.

“I suspect we’ll need more space in the future and I might hire more people,” she said. “It’s not one of those things where people are going to stop getting tattoos. It’s not a trend and I don’t see it slowing down; I think it’s going to keep growing.”

Something Wicked Tattoo is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 353-7057 or find “Something Wicked Tattoo” on Facebook.

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