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The following article was published in The Gateway
Posted 09/17/04
by Danelle Petersen

Omaha tattoo shop does everything right

Viva la revolution: Local tattoo artists join together to conquer the city with color

The doors to a new revolution opened Sept. 1, literally.

Revolution Studio, located at 50th and L Streets in Omaha, opened its tinted glass doors to a new tattoo studio and new dreams.

Dreams of making the city more colorful, one person at a time. Dreams of being their own bosses. Dreams of doing what they love, creating human art.

The revolution was started with one common mission: to revolt against the system. The system being their jobs with bosses telling them what to do. They were tired of being held back from their careers as artists.

Lenny Renkin, Rob Pace, Isaac Armas and Chad Elsasser are all tattoo artists. They have come together from different tattoo studios to start their own.

Their art is people. Pace has been tattooing for hire for six years, while Renkin, Elsasser and Armas started their tattooing careers more seriously two years ago.

"We've been artists our whole lives, tattooing is just another medium," said Renkin.

Some may argue that tattoos aren't fine art, but these guys are ready to prove those people wrong. Elsasser, a junior in the UNO College of Fine Arts, is one of the artists at Revolution.

"It's hectic juggling school and work at the studio, but it's kind of a cross curriculum," said Elsasser. "I'm glad I can bring the fine arts into tattooing and the tattooing into the fine arts world. It's hard in the academic world to show them just how much of a fine art tattooing really is, but I'm glad I get to do it."

Pace is just glad that he is able to own part of his own studio. He had a lot of things to say about owning his own business.

"In one simple word, freedom. Plain and simple," said Pace. "I have worked for people in the past and it was a disaster, an absolute disaster. Friends become enemies. So in one simple word, freedom."

Freedom to make their own schedule and freedom to work at their own pace. Freedom to have their own goals.

"My mission is to only create 100 percent the best of my ability over anything just to create art. Creating human art, like tattooing, is by far the greatest mission," Pace said.

Armas said his goal is to "be the No. 1 store in Omaha. Not in dollars, but in artwork put out into the city."

While Renkin wants to "be a household name and constantly improve and not move backwards,"

Elsasser tied it all together with his goal to "have their work be all about the art."

They are also doing what it takes to have their art be safe.

"There are hundreds of things that we do that the client probably never thinks of. Everything is disposable," said Pace. "Tools that are not disposable get a liquid sterile then get hand scrubbed and (are sanitized) through autoclaves."

They don't mess around with that one bit. "This is the peoples' coming into our shops lives we watch out for, but it's also our lives," said Renkin.

It takes a lot of work to open your own business. "Besides your having your business licenses, tax I.D. numbers, your rent spots, advertising and common sense things, it takes pure perseverance and an insane drive to conquer," Pace said.

When asked about any fears in opening their own business, Renkin simply replied, "We have no fears about opening the shop. If we did, we wouldn't (have) open(ed) it."

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