It’s taken Cody Rawlinson two years out of his nine-year career in the tattoo industry to open his dream tattoo shop — The Old Crow Tattoo Parlour.
“I wanted to open a tattoo shop that was different, more of a ‘living room’ feel,” he says. The Old Crow Tattoo Parlour is situated in Bridgeland in a refurbished ‘40s-era house, with tattooing stations upstairs, and reception on the main floor along with an eclectic retail section.Rawlinson uses his shop as an outlet to sell his woodworking projects – the front desk and coffee table are among his handiwork – while also providing space for his fellow maker friends to sell their wares. Pyrography, gemstone jewelry, and Mammoth beard care products line shelves and tables. Lowen’s Natural Skincare products are also a prominent feature.
For those that think “The Old Crow” sounds familiar, Lowen’s collaborated with Rawlinson to create a tattoo aftercare balm of the same name. All four of the artists at The Old Crow Tattoo Parlour use the balm on their clients.
Working among friends is another key aspect to Rawlinson’s ideal tattoo shop. “I’d rather people work with me than for me,” he says. Sitting among Rawlinson, the other artists and their clients, it’s immediately obvious there’s a strong family vibe in the shop, while many other tattoo parlours take a strictly businesslike approach.
The walls on either side of the tattoo stations are lined with flashes of the artists’ work like a massive portfolio. Rawlinson specializes in elaborate, colourful pieces like peacocks, Buddhas, skulls, and the four horsemen (the latter two are both on Lowen’s founder, Chad Zelensky). Danny Mckay has a similar “illustrative” style, favouring line work. Megan Tews works exclusively in black, her portfolio stocked with mandalas and pointillism. Jesse Fisekci creates high-colour, detailed pieces – he was working on a woman’s first tattoo – a full-back dragon — upon our arrival.
“You always want to try other styles of art,” says Rawlinson. Between the four of them, The Old Crow Tattoo Parlour artists have over 20 years of combined experience.
“I’m just looking forward to working again,” he says.