Local tattoo shop squashes stereotypes

Astoria’s Body Language Tattoo is on the cutting edge of the ink scene

As Body Language Tattoo approaches the anniversary of its grand opening last summer, owners Nicole Palapoli and Rafael Jose are reflecting on the trends they’ve noticed during their first year in business. And the findings are encouraging for these ink enthusiasts. According to Palapoli, also known as NYNic, people are spending more time and effort on their body art than ever before. “The scope of the types of people [who get tattoos] is growing tremendously,” she says.

Although body art was once most common among the younger set and blue collar workers, stereotypes are quickly becoming history in the tattoo business. There is no longer a profile that fits tattooed individual, as people of all ages and professions are seeking to express themselves through body art. “Artists are representing their art and personality style through tattoos and creating identities,” says Palapoli. “Clients are becoming fans and giving artists more trust and freedom.  This leads to less spontaneous tattoos and more thoughtful ones.”

Body Language tattoo celebrates the tattoo artists that they employ by showcasing each one’s talent on their website. This allows current and prospective clients to select an artist whose designs resonate with their desired aesthetic. “People have a faster and more in-depth way to do their research and they are more prepared when they walk through the doors of any tattoo shop,” explains Palapoli. “We are living in an era of self expression”

In addition to Palapoli’s talents, the shop is also home to Russian artist Rain, who holds a degree in illustration from the School of visual arts; Brooklyn native Cris Element, who has a passion for color and realism; and Japanese artist Nasa, whose talent in fine art stemmed from her love of anime and magna. Clients can view in-depth profiles and examples of each artists’ work at www.bltnyc.com.

As an additional service to customers who are spending more time researching and preparing for their ink, Body Language Tattoo offer online tutorials about how to prepare for your tattoo in advance of your appointment. Body Language Tattoo aims to ensure that each client is well-prepared, healthy, and safe before getting inked, so the owners take care to advise clients on essentials, such as drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated in the days leading up to their tattoo, keeping skin moisturized and avoiding prolonged sun exposure, and avoiding alcohol and drugs, which can thin the blood and make for a more difficult tattoo application.

All of these measures impact the general shift in opinion about the tattoo industry. “Whereas when I first started doing this people used to give me a hard time, I think people are now more accepting and respectful of what we do. We want people to realize that tattoos are for everyone now, and they’ve come out of the underground and become more mainstream,” notes Palapoli.

Body Language Tattoo is located at 3202 34th Avenue in Astoria, Queens and more information can be found on its website, www.bltnyc.com. It also offers consultations, and appointments can be set up by calling 347-808-0497.