By Seb Peltekian
Brothers Michael and Lex Valadez work from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays. However, despite the eight hour shift, the brothers’ work is anything but normal. The Valadez brothers are tattoo artists and body piercers at B City Ink.
B City Ink is located on 813 East Grand Ave. in Beloit. It opened over the summer of 2011 and shares a building with Pretty Boy Studios. The inside of the building is dark with red walls covered in posters of notable musicians such as Bob Marley, The Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as sports jerseys and other clothing. Metal music plays throughout the building.
Michael Valadez, who also works at Pretty Boy Studios doing sound work for events ranging from the Beloit International Film Festival to symphonies, stated that B City Ink “started out small, [but] like anything you want to define your product and your customers.” Valadez continued by saying that he is looking to “find the best way to target the product at customers…it’s all about the customers and the product.”
While Michael Valadez feels that he is “an underdog,” he and his brother have a strong sense of community and responsibility. They say they want to “establish a relationship [with the community], be more known, and help with the community.”
Lex Valadez, who has only been working at B City Ink for two months (prior to getting hired there, he was working out of his house near the Beloit College campus) said that B City Ink’s mission is to “turn the community around. It was on its last string. The environment will be flipped to open it to the community and get rid of the bad crowd that hangs out here at night.” He added that he and his brother are “trying to revolutionize” the way people look at tattoo parlors. The Valadez brothers hope to establish a ustream, a website for live video streaming, out of the basement of the building for local rappers. Some other ideas that the brothers have are digital frames to show off tattoo work and airbrushing in the front of the store for people on the street to see.
The Valadez brothers invite all to come to their tattoo parlor, saying that B City Ink is open all the time and that walk-ins are welcome.