When you walk up to the storefront on East McMillan Street, you’ll spot a sign featuring crossed harpoons and sailors' knots hanging above the door. Upon entering the studio, you see two rows of tables with incredible artists working with clients. Then, someone at the counter greets you to begin the seamless process of getting your tattoo. You're immediately comfortable and excited to be there for your personal piece of art.
That comfort you feel was the whole intention when co-owners Jeremiah and Becki Griswold started White Whale Tattoo in 2007. Their mission was to create a space where artists can grow in their craft, to make everyone feel accepted, and to make a difference for as many people as possible.
Over the years they’ve worked to curate a studio of artists that dabble in different styles, with various levels of experience and unique backgrounds. “Our tattooers are first and foremost artists, and tattoo is their medium—by far one of the most difficult mediums to master," Jeremiah Griswold, experienced tattooer and founder of the studio, says. "They work together, helping each other with different concepts and techniques to make everyone’s work the best it can be.”
White Whale seeks to eliminate the taboo of tattoos by being a shop where everyone feels welcome. With artists who are willing to work with clients to create something even better than the client imagined, White Whale makes tattoos approachable and satisfying.
Having a global impact is another one of White Whale's initiatives. With a passion for art, literature, and social justice, the co-owners have ensured White Whale serves the communities they’ve once been a part of. While beginning his apprenticeship in Guatemala, Jeremiah worked to cover tattoos for former gang members. Now, the artists at White Whale travel to Guatemala annually to continue covering life-threatening gang tattoos and donate 10% of the proceeds from each tattoo to organizations that assist those in need in Guatemala. The studio is able to continue this work by means of funding from their widely popular flash days, which occur once or twice a year.
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Interested in realizing that tattoo you've always wanted? Check out White Whale's website for booking information, and their Instagram for examples of work from all their resident creatives. White Whale is located at 650 E McMillan Street (45206).