Does your monkey say, Aloha? Well it should…

I have been hoping to put some badass blog entry together, in hopes that I would hopefully make a good impression, or at least not harsh the vibe…

Four SIX attempts later, I was sitting where I usually am: The Tattoo Shop.

Only this time I found myself in Minnesota! Yes it was 11:04pm, not too late then, it was 9 degrees outside, a nice 68 degrees inside The Aloha Monkey Tattoo shop in Burnsville, Minnesota, a small town on the south end of Minneapolis…

Where a lot of History, Art, and LOVE come together like a Beatles song…

So… If you didn’t know the following: you soon will.

The Aloha Monkey got its name from an old Sailor Jerry tattoo design, which is fitting as Mike Malone, the original tattoo artist that founded this shop worked for Norman Keith Collins AKA Sailor Jerry for a pretty good chunk of time, took over when Collins passed, Malone moved around a lot, but he’d always revisit Sailor Jerry’s Shop out in Hawaii.  Well Malone has passed on, but the Monkey is still here, only Josh Arment has been passed the torch, and it’s a new flush of different generations making this place vibrate nowadays.

We only got to hang out with Arment for like an evening because he was heading to Milan to work the Convention…  But, it’s always a good reminder when you realize damn, I missed this dude, Richard said he didn’t get enough time to chill with Arment, so another trip is in order… But when it’s warmer riding weather…. I agree 100%!.

I often talk about magic, the magic within a tattoo shop, I mean a shop can look cool, and feel pretty, but the vibe has got to be there, and there has got to be a funk about the place that leaves a lasting impression on the taste buds of your psychy… And this place has the magic. It was a good night. I had never been to the “Monkey”, but it like a handful of other truly unique places, like: Spotlight Tattoo in Hollywood, or Electric Ladyland Tattoo in NOLA, or Jinx Proof in DC, or Rock of Ages in Austin… I could go on and on….

We have been on the road on and off since we got married in 2010. Yikes. I am amazed I still manage to put make up on. Sometimes I want to curl up and die, but… I’m not that much of a pussy. So back to ALOHA… It has that magic.

Wednesday Feb. 8th, was supposed to be our last day in B-Vegas, we were supposed to be heading south towards Dallas. However a tattooer from St. Paul came in early in the afternoon and was wanting to get a back piece started by Richard, and he could come in on Thursday the 9th… We’re pretty flexible as long as we’re not flying…

Another extra night in another motel, 15 hours of drawing, little sleep, junk food, coffee, and another 2-3 hours refining the piece, prepping a stencil, set to go… Two hours into the buzz, then… Guerilla back piece, not our first, not our last, but god damn it’s a lot of work, but not as much as a one shot back piece.

Been there done that too…

It’s not a walk in the park, it’s a bit nerve-racking, and an intense amount of pressure.  Which meant we spent another day in bed recovering the next day from the vampire hours in order to get on the road at a good time, as to not catch too much hesitation on the highway… With the freedom of the open road, comes a lot of responsibility… It’s not a freeway fun day for months on end. It’s a double-edged sword that’ll fuck you up if you ain’t watching…

Gypsy Living My Ass…  I get an email once or twice a month from someone asking me how they can get “Out There”? They want to learn? They want to go from shop to shop…. I will say this, I lucked out. Richard is a 35 year overnight success… I grew up in his shop, and even though it hasn’t always been a joy ride, we stayed in touch. When we got together and really became a team, I merely applied my bullshit corporate PR skills, and hard-earned geek knowledge to his already badass repertoire, and we were back on the same team, just like the old days, only better because we could have sex…

Since the beginning of last December Richard and I have been on the road, we packed our entire life/household/shop into storage… Loaded up a couple of motorcycles, packed our road gear to tattoo and paint, and hit the pavement in our truck on a quest to make enough money from what we do to put it into hopefully the very last tattoo shop we build ever.  I am still taken aback sometimes by being in constant transition, once the place becomes familiar or comfortable it’s time to move to the next place.  But… There are upsides to being on the road as well. . .

Richard: “It’s become the same, most places are alike, you can find comfort in the fact that you will know what to expect after a while… But it’s the people in the places that can truly set it apart from anywhere else in the world… Good or Bad, the people set the tone for a place, and there’s so many people who are good, really… Like good people, all around, it’s a good feeling to have good people around you…”

I will say: There is always a balance…

For as many great people who are out there, there are a minute portion of folks that are down right evil, and the tyranny the bad people deal out however small can be huge; affecting the big group of the good. That is what makes them the negative, they appear to have that power, but they truly only appear to have it, because the majority that is pushing the good vibes around can acknowledge the negative, even address it, but positive people tend to neutralize the negative, or sway it to the Light…While the “dark side”, is simply seeking attention or a “rise”….. It’s not about the message it’s about the underlying agenda for stirring the proverbial shit pot.

Richard: “One of the saving graces of living a life on the road is this”… ” Drama is everywhere, but about the time the manners wear off, and people get comfortable and want to drag me into something, or try to get me to take a side, ESPECIALLY when it was none of my fucking business”… “You know it was time to hit the road, and it always made it easy to leave when something like that popped up… ”

But sometimes it made it that much harder to leave a place, cause there are a few people that you just don’t want to tell goodbye….

Like this guy: Joshua Palmer, he always has a smile, and a warm welcome… He’s what I like to call a “shiny happy people” character, he keeps your mood up, and if he’s talking to you about something, or asking a question, it’s nice because it doesn’t feel like filler conversation someone is just talking at you to fill the silence between the songs… He’s a genuine guy with a new hottie wife;

that can draw, tattoo, and is becoming a well rounded painter… I eyeball his stuff every show he has paintings setting out.

So I will leave you with a few photos… Josh Palmer works full time at The Aloha Monkey Tattoo and Piercing in Burnsville, MN and has been tattooing over eleven years…

13716 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville, MN

(952) 882-8868

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