Where were you born and where are you from?
I was born in a small town in
way back in 1967. The only child of Sherry and Butch McCleaf. My father was a painter, so I get my creative side from him. Pa.
How did you get introduced to the tattoo culture?
A friend of mine had started his apprenticeship and offered to tattoo me. The place he was working at offered me an apprenticeship and at the time I was leaving my career in Advertising. So I thought why not? Tattooing found me.
When did you get started?
Do you remember the first tattoo that you did?
The first tattoo I did was recoloring some roses on my boss, the 2nd tattoo was on my younger brother. He didn't really want a tattoo, but as all older sisters know, brothers are helpless and they do what you say.
How would you describe your style of tattooing?
I specialize in Japanese work, but I think it's not fully traditional Japanese so I like to call it Neo-Japanese. I also do
, Portraits and semi-traditional. I really keep my options to any style. I don't like to be limited, or to limit my clients. New School
What were you doing before you got into the tattoo business, and what made you change?
I was in Advertising, designing corporate logos and working for a Marketing Agency...BORING! Tattooing found me, I loved everything about the art form. It's the one art you can't sell to someone else, or throw it in the attic when it doesn't match the sofa anymore. And it's never been out of style or lost its power over people.
What influences your artwork?
Everything! The artists that I gravitate to are, Horiyoshi lll, Sabado, Filip Leu, Shige, Luje Atkinson, Andy Warhol, Tommy Wong and many many classic painters throughout the centuries.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get their first tattoo?
Research, Research and more Research. DO NOT SHOP BY PRICE, you will regret it!! Find an artist that speaks in a language you can understand, not someone who speaks only English, but that can translate your thoughts into reality. Don't limit yourself to "good enough" and never think just because someone says they can draw means they can tattoo, those are completely two different things. Look for the quality of their line work, the dimension of their shading, does it make sense? Can you tell that the panther is a panther and not just an odd looking lizard?
Do you see your self doing anything other than tattooing?
No, never, I will do this until I die. It's just as addictive making a tattoo as it is getting a tattoo.
Where do you see the tattoo culture 10 years from now?
It's change a lot since I started, more main stream people are getting tattooed, because more talented artists are starting to tattoo. Being tattooed is a part of being human, it can be traced back to caveman, it's only natural. We are the only creatures on the planet that aren't spotted, striped, feathered or scaled. We have always been tattooed and we always will. I would like to see more eco-friendly tattoo machines for us old timers and always to see the tattoo community shrug its bad practices and really make its artists stand up to higher standards. There is always room for improvement!!
Anything else you would like to add?
I love what I do, every day I look forward to going into my studio and working with my staff and my clients. It's something new everyday!! It has been the most changeling art form I have ever learned, and I'm still learning, I think the day someone thinks they know it all is the day someone should go up to them and slap them into reality.
I just passed my 20 year Anniversary and it's all been unbelievable. I have met some of the best people in this industry and some of the worse, but the good times and the good people have certainly out-weighted the negative. My studio is coming up on it's 17th Anniversary and what a ride that's been. I love my tattoo family, they have been with me through thick and thin, they've always got my back.
My clients are the best, they give artistic freedom to do what needs to be done, they trust me and they're serious. I have fun every day, even when it's time to dust, vacuum and mop, it all goes hand in hand.
My studios name is Chrome Gardens Body Arts
We're located at:
147 York St. Gettysburg PA 17325
Phone Number: 717-337-3725
Studio website: www.chromegardens.com
Personal website: www.tattoosbystacy.com
Studio Hours: Tues. through Sat. Noon to 8pm
We take walk-ins when we can, but I'm by appointment only. As I am usually booked 3 to 4 months in advanced.