GALLERY: Local tattoo artist turns art fascination into successful business with a twist

Local News

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVLA/WGMB) “Economics is all about supply and demand. If you can supply a great product or a quality experience the demand for your expertise will always be high.”

For artist Jared McGee understanding the impact supply and demand can have on your business is what has brought him success as a tattoo artist and has his clients returning for more.

McGee says, “What’s a business without clients? Customers are for the moment, clients are forever.”

Before he was “Art by Jared” Jared McGee was a kid who grew up in Clinton, La. Raised by his grandparents after his mother died from polymyositis (a rare muscle disorder) when he was 10, he was a carefree kid who was absorbed in sports and spending time with his family. But little did he know that it was his love for art that would ultimately change his life.

It was a cool day when we sat down with Mr. McGee. The only light in the room was the sunlight from the open blinds. As he gathered his thoughts, he grabbed some strawberry frooties out of a glass on the shelf. He walked over to his seat and sat down. Once he spun around on his tattoo stool and crossed his ankle over his knee he was ready to talk about all of the things that have led him to this very moment.

As a graphics design student at Southeastern University of Louisiana, McGee knew he’d need to earn a few extra dollars just to make it by. After a job on campus turned out to be a dud, a friend suggested he turn his love for art into earning an income. At age 21, he began tattooing peers on campus as a means to earn an honest living.

Critical of his own art, Jared wasn’t completely satisfied with his work even though people were lining up to receive new ink. He searched high and low for an apprenticeship ultimately finding someone to work under. While consistently practicing, he sharpened his skills and became obsessed with details.

McGee became popular in several shops across the city. He spent a year at Art Addiction in Prarieville and then he landed a gig at Leviathan Tattoo Studio. While there, he often gave private sessions after hours for the clients who preferred fewer people around and a more relaxed environment. After a year there, it was time for him to spread his wings and open his own tattoo shop.

“The biggest pride is ownership. There is nothing like owning your own business and building something you are proud of,” says McGee

Wanting to continue the idea of giving clients a uniquely private experience, McGee opened “First Class Private Studio”. It’s a relaxed venue with a warm and inviting atmosphere. Clients can indulge in great motivating conversations while listening to the music of their choice.

The best part of the entire experience is that your session is completely private. You control who is in on the session and set your own vibe. There are never multiple clients in the shop at once which allows even the shyest client to be a little carefree during their session. Soon clients will be able to grab coffee from the in house coffee bar and a complimentary cocktail from the bar while receiving tattoo services.

“I believe in motivating and uplifting everyone around me. When you are in my chair think of it as your therapy session. You can bounce ideas off of me or even just talk about things you’ve been facing. The time with my clients is as much for me as it is for them. My clients are my network so we build and grow together.”

One of the biggest things McGee wants to change is the negative stereotypes that often plague tattoo artists and shops. Things like drugs, loud music, red paint, and a wildly intimidating environment are often associated with businesses like his. He’s also not one to let his success allow him to forget where he came from.

“I still print cards and walk around passing them out on the college campuses and in the mall. That was how I started. People are able to be face to face with the artist and ask questions. I love being able to interact with potential clients.”

There’s no telling how many people McGee has inked in the last 5 years but what we do know is that last March he inked 75 people during the course of the month, making it his busiest month of the year. He says he’s humbled that so many people in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas trust him with their skin.

“There are a lot of people tattooing and it’s an honor every time someone chooses me. I’m able to give each person a piece of me by giving them a custom permanent art piece of high quality. I spent a lot of time studying my favorite artists and I still invest in myself by attending tattoo workshops and seminars all over the country. I take everything I learn and add it to my art cookbook and make mean pots of gumbo every time the needle drops. “

Are you intrigued enough to pay Jared a visit? You can contact him at (225) 244-4884 or email him at artbyjaredtattoos@gmail.com. You can even make an appointment by clicking here.

Find Jared on Instagram @_artbyjared or on Facebook at Jared McGee.

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