Bob Garrity, a tattoo artist and Class of 1991 Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate, is relocating his tattoo parlor, Ink-N-Um Tattoos & Body Piercing from Calumet City to the Southgate Shopping Center in Homewood. The move comes after Ink-N-Um has been in Calumet City for 26 years.
“I always wanted to be in my hometown, closer to home, and opportunity arose,” Garrity said, referring to the recent change in zoning codes that now allow for a tattoo parlor to open in Southgate with a special use permit. “A lot of people, including the mayor, knew that I wanted to open in Homewood. And it’s happening.”
A few years ago, Lassen’s Sports Bar & Grill asked Garrity to paint two murals for them in their basement. Both are black and white. One mural has the words “Eat Drink Love Laugh” surrounding a painting of a filled glass and silverware. The other has paintings of trees and the words “Beer: Good Idea.”
Garrity also painted the Vikings logo and symbol on two wooden signs for the stands of Homewood-Flossmoor Park District’s Ice Arena.
While tattoo art in particular wasn’t always his dream, Garrity said that since he was a kid, he “wanted to do something in the arts.” As a teenager, Garrity skateboarded in downtown Homewood, and he enjoyed drawing on skateboards, he said. When his friends started getting tattoos, he said this motivated him to pursue tattoo art as a profession.
“I was like, ‘Hey, I can totally draw on you. That’s something I need to learn,’” Garrity said. “You don’t want to be a starving artist, but you also want to do something fun with your art. And tattooing was definitely something I was interested in.”
Garrity went into the tattoo business shortly after graduating from high school, he said. Before running his own tattoo parlor, Garrity worked at a shop in Gary, Indiana, and another in Calumet City.
A lot of Garrity’s clientele are repeat customers. Garrity said he has clients who travel to him from “further out Indiana” and Chicago.
“People travel for tattoos if they like your art and if they like you personally,” Garrity said. He said this is not only because a tattoo is on your body permanently but because getting a tattoo requires spending a lot of time with the artist while it’s being done.
Garrity is currently the only tattoo artist at Ink-N-Um. He said he plans on eventually hiring a tattoo apprentice and tattoo artists with an existing clientele.
In addition to tattoos, Ink-N-Um does body piercings. The shop stocks H2Ocean Aftercare Spray, a product used to prevent adverse reactions in the weeks after getting a piercing, according to its website.
Ink-N-Um will be at 18661 Dixie Highway. It will be the second tattoo parlor to open in Homewood since Big Brothers Tattoo opened in April.