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    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine.
     

    While most tattoo artists use a multiple-needled tattoo machine, Ben Naiser, who works at Infinite Electric on South Hurstbourne Parkway, often uses just a single pinprick. In three short years of tattooing, the native Louisvillian has mastered the art of fine-line, tiny tats. He started using the technique when he realized he could make outlines with the small needles typically used for shading. “Once I figured that out, it was all gung-ho from there,” he says. “Finally, I had a tool within tattooing that I could achieve that same level of detail as with a mechanical pencil.”

    His Instagram page (@benaroundtheblock) shows examples of this work, including a two-inch-long arrow with dot shading, and the stages of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon in the space of an inner forearm, all the lines thinner than the mark of a ballpoint pen. On the inner arm of one client, Andrew George, is an exact replica of the Harry Potter Hogwarts castle — every single window and column distinguishable — inside a thin-lined diamond, maybe five inches from top to bottom.

    Naiser is inspired by everything from modern cartoons to Renaissance painters, and especially likes tattooing intricate flowers and “anything pirate-y.” “I like making stuff look as realistic as I can,” he says. His detailed style comes with its own set of obstacles. For example, if he presses too hard? “It’ll just turn into a blob,” he says. But if he goes too lightly, the small needle won’t inject ink deep enough into the skin to leave a lasting mark.

    Naiser says Louisville is home to a unique tattoo community. “I’m not going to say we’re with L.A. or New York, but we’re towing right behind them,” he says. “Clients aren’t asking for infinity symbols or silhouette birds. Clients are asking for little single-needle stuff.”

     

    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. Read more.

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    Photos from @benaroundtheblock

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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