Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Old soul makes modern art

By Emily Kim

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.-- Art can be a painting from Van Gough, a symphony by

Beethoven, splattered paint on the wall by a five-year-old, or ink tattooed on a person’s

back. People have different perspectives on what art is, and for Kristen Neverett-Brown,

tattoos are a form of endearment.

Brown is the owner and tattooist at In Living Color Tattooing and Body Piercing,

located on 85 Margaret St. Plattsburgh, New York. Opened for 22 years, this is one of the

oldest tattoo studios in the area.

Brown had gotten her first tattoo with her then girlfriend and now maid of honor.

Her maid of honor had given Brown the idea to open up her own business after their

disappointing experience with their first tattoos. Her maid of honor thought that Brown

could have done a better job than the tattooist they had went to, and she was right.

“She really took the time to center my tattoo on my body and it came out

beautifully,” Michelle Chiudina, a customer of Kristen’s said.

Meghan Riley is the body piercer at In Living Color and has been working

alongside Brown for 9 years. Brown has been tattooing her since she was 17, and ever

since she was younger, Riley knew that the place to come was here.

“She’s one of the oldest around so she has a really good client based and she has

people that have been coming here for a long time,” Riley said.

Customers continue to come back to Brown not only because of her obvious skills

in tattooing, but because of the way she is able to make customers feel while getting their

tattoos. Her personality and support creates the magic behind the scenes. There is a

certain aroma to the environment that she has created. The easy sunlight beaming through

the second story windows and the warm colors covering the room give off comfort and

safety to everyone who walks into her studio.

Justin Paolicelli, a customer of Kristen’s said, “She's a very down to earth women

and she definitely knows how to make you laugh, which made me feel comfortable

getting a tattoo in that type of environment.”

 Brown has the success that she does because she is good at being a tattooist, but

also because she is passionate about tattoos. She finds meaning and joy in the art of

branding your body.

“It’s a way to individualize yourself. Most of the time people go through

something catastrophic or wonderful and want something to depict that event in their

life,” Brown said.

She takes her time to make sure that the customer is aware of the process and

what is happening every step of the way. Brown recognizes that tattoos can be a personal

and emotional work of art. She makes the process very personal and her customers are

able to easily trust her.

“I was tearing up through the process because the tattoo hurt like crazy, but right

before Kristen finished, she said, ‘Grandma's gonna give you a hug and a kiss and then

you're all done,’ and at that point I just burst out in tears,” Chiudina said.

Everyone has a different story, and whether there’s an emotional connection,

meaning, or it was a spontaneous decision, there is no one reason why anyone gets a


“I think people exploring this art tend to gravitate towards it cause it gives them

some sort of outlet some sort of joy,” Brown said.

The people of Plattsburgh have been coming to Brown for the past 22 years with

new and returning customers every day. People walk into her studio disappointed to find

out that the next available time would be no earlier than a month.

“Just recently I got a tattoo and was planning on going back, but I called and she

was all booked up till May,” Paolicelli said.

Brown is booked up because she is fair with her pricing and creates a fun

atmosphere. She knows what she is doing and customers come back because they know

that they will get what they paid for. No one will have to experience what Brown and her

maid of honor experienced with their first tattoos. She’s a tattooist that understands the

quality and meaning of tattoos.

“I love the art. For me it’s an endearment,” Brown said.

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