Oak Creek Like everyone else who snuck out of the house and headed for the tattoo parlor at the tender age of 13, Lawrence Jaconetta's parents told him he'd have to live with his decision for the rest of his life.
"(Tattoos) were illegal in Massachusetts, so we had to go to Connecticut to get them," he said. "I got the usual 'It's your body : It's going to be there forever' talk."
Since then, Jaconetta has turned his passion for body art into a new South Routt business, O.C. Ink Drilling Co., on Oak Creek's Nancy Crawford Boulevard.
Jaconetta, who is a self-taught tattoo artist, said he began "self-inflicting himself" and tattooing his high school friends who "donated their skin" for him to practice.
"Luckily no one died," he said laughing.
Jaconetta has lived in the Yampa Valley since 1994, and opened O.C. Ink Drilling Co. in October. Jaconetta hasn't needed to advertise his new business, because he has been booked solid nearly every weekend since he opened.
"It's not just sailors and prisoners that get tattoos anymore. It's a lot of older people and a lot of moms," he said. "There's a lot of meaning behind a tattoo."
Doug Boatner has had three of his tattoos done by Jaconetta, including one on his calf that symbolizes Jaconetta's progression as an artist.
"I got my first tattoo from Lawrence in an RV. That was sweet," Boatner said Thursday as he prepared to get some work done on an existing tattoo on his left shoulder.
"He's getting better every time," Boatner said. "He's got good ideas and he's a good guy. He's a good friend. Plus, his hands have gotten a little lighter over the years, too."
"That's the best advertisement I've ever gotten," Jaconetta said, looking up from his colored ink palette. "Thanks, man."
Boatner said that old familiar flutter in the stomach was hitting him as Jaconetta prepared the needle, but it was worth it.
"Your body is your temple," Boatner said. "You should decorate it."
Jaconetta echoed Boatner's sentiment.
"I love it when people ask me if tattoos hurt. Yeah, it hurts, but you know what? Tattoos are forever, life isn't," Jaconetta said. "I like tattoos because they tell a story. They bring back memories of a certain time in your life - maybe you don't remember the day or the month, but you remember who you were dating or who you weren't dating at the time. You remember those special or not so special times."
Jaconetta said his prices are reasonable, and he is capable of working with a client on designing a custom tattoo.
Picking a rose out of a book won't fly at O.C. Ink Drilling Co.
"I haven't done a single tattoo from a book, which is sweet," he said. "I like people to have a sense of individuality, it's custom."
As for Jaconetta, he isn't nearly as tattooed as he should be, he said.
"I always knew that someday I'd be fully tattooed, so at 31, I figure I'd better get started."
- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail email@example.com