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River Rat Tattoos Welcomes Soccer Moms, Bikers, and Everyone Else

By S. Mathur

Tattooing and body art depend to a very large extent on a relationship of trust between the artist and client. Not only is there a certain amount of pain involved, there must be agreement on artistic vision and design, since the tattoos will last for a long, long time. River Rat Tattoos acquires a lot of new clients through word of mouth recommendations, which speaks well for the trust they inspire.

Co-owner Tracy Burton says that they are in New Braunfels, TX to stay: "We opened almost 5 years ago at a smaller location. We were there for about 1 year before we were able to move to a bigger and better location, where we are planning on staying for a long time to come."

Burton says that she began life as an artist who found her way to tattooing by chance: "...although I really enjoy tattooing, I sort of happened into tattooing by accident. I have a degree in art, and I've always tried to have some sort of artistic outlet and tattooing totally fits for me."

Burton feels that River Rat differs from other tattoo shops because they welcome all kinds of people "I think the main difference is that we try to make everyone feel welcome here. We have a very broad range of clientele, from soccer moms to bikers. Many of the tattoo shops that I have been into seem dark and forbidding. Our shop is bright and open, not intimidating at all." Customers describe the shop as clean and well-lighted, and people often bring their children here to have their ears pierced.

Burton says that the various artists who work at River Rat Tattoos specialize in different types of tattoos: "There are several artists in our shop. Everyone has particular styles that they enjoy doing. Jessica loves doing cover-ups and nerd themed pieces. She also is our lead piercer. Jason is really proficient at many styles and really enjoys doing traditional and neo-traditional stuff.

Petra is pretty new at tattooing. She started as an apprentice with us about a year and a half ago. She's a very accomplished artist and is doing more and more tattoos. Petra enjoys doing traditional filler pieces and "spacy" stuff. She does a lot of the piercings in the shop as well. Myself, I really enjoy doing watercolor styled and abstract tattoos."

Even though individual artists have their own styles, Burton say that clients with their own designs and ideas are welcome. And if a client comes in with a general idea of what they want, the artists are able to design something specially for them: "Absolutely! We actually prefer doing custom designs. That way we know the art work is designed to actually be a tattoo and will work well within the parameters of what a tattoo should be."

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