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Anchors End Tattoo opens in Hudson

Owners of Anchors End Tattoo in Hudson are Aaron Lassi, left, and Joseph Trowbridge. They are in the reception area which features granite and river rock. Co-owner Billy Mizejewski is not pictured. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl1 / 2
Jacob Buss waited six months to find just the right artist to create his three-quarter "sleeve" which is still in progress. Aaron Lassi is creating the tattoo for him. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl2 / 2

A third location for Anchors End Tattoo recently opened in Hudson, joining the original studio in Duluth and one in Central America. Located above the Dragon Pearl Restaurant, the business offers a custom designed lobby, a consultation room, two tattoo rooms each with four booths and a piercing studio.

"We are a customer based tattoo shop," said co-owner Aaron Lassi, who recently moved to Hudson from Costa Rica, where he had opened an Anchors End Tattoo studio six years ago. "People have personal reasons for getting a tattoo. Over all it is growing in popularity, in part because it empowers you to change your body the way you want to."

"I think people's perceptions of tattoos have changed," continued Lassi. "We have high school graduates, doctors, lawyers, even grandmothers who come in. We see a plethora of different types of people." You have to be eighteen or older to get a tattoo.

"There is a technical aspect of tattoo art," said Lassi. "It is one thing to draw something on paper and another to put in into the skin. You are not looking at just that image, but one you want to look good for 20 years." It is like taking a two dimensional work of art and making it three dimensional.

"The art design must go around the body so it remains aesthetically pleasing," said Lassi, who apprenticed under co-owner Joseph Trowbridge. "You start at the bottom. It is a four year apprenticeship. You learn the tools, how to make needles, pigments and machines before you start. Plus you learn how to lay down a design. Good apprenticeships are hard to come by."

"We came to town to set an example for the Hudson, the St. Croix Valley area and the Minneapolis area of quality customer service and workmanship," said Lassi. "We appreciate our clientele. We look up from our iPhones and say hello when customers come in. We are going the extra mile to make our customers satisfied."

Tattoos range from collector pieces, which can take as little as a couple of hours to big custom works that can take 15 to 20 sessions.

The process starts with outlining the design, adding the shading (black pigment) and finally adding the color.

"The art work is only half the battle," said Lassi. "The technical part of putting it into the skin is the rest. You want clean lines and smooth transitions between shades."

Co-owner and founder of the Anchors End Tattoo, Joe Trowbridge agrees with Lassi, who apprenticed under him.

"Opening the Hudson studio is a little like coming back home," said Trowbridge, a Twin cities native, who started to his career as a tattoo artist in 1997 and in large part wrote the licensing laws in the state of Minnesota. Both Wisconsin and Minnesota require that tattooists be licensed. Trowbridge was first introduced to tattoos when he was a military policeman in the U.S. Army, stationed in Panama.

"Apprenticeships should be hard," said Trowbridge, who has started many on their careers. "A true apprenticeship is a very difficult thing. They work up to 80 hours a week, seven days a week."

"As tattooists we are tradesmen," said Trowbridge. "We apply our art to our trade. It is more important to be technically strong. I would rather my apprentices be strong in line work and solid in colors because 85 percent of our clients already have their own art work."

According to Trowbridge, fads come and go. In the mid 90s everybody wanted armbands of barbed wire. Today, the fad is lettering, everything from the Serenity Prayer to poems and song lyrics.

"It is like the tattoo artist is a stenographer," said Trowbridge. "If you are technically strong you can make the lines required to write words into someone's skin." The three partners of Anchors End Tattoo, have a combined 32 years of experience. They are Joseph Trowbridge, Billy Mizejewski and Aaron Lassi.

Joining them are two apprentices Justin Stahl and Chaz Chaffee and a piercer Matt Anderson. They offer an assortment of jewelry for piercing including fossilize plugs from Costa Rica.

Anchors End Tattoo is located at 431 Second Street, suite 333, above the Dragon Pearl Restaurant. It is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call (715) 808-0221 or go to The Hudson section is still under construction.