There are many ways to approach a career in art, and artist Tiger Mike Schroeder has tried many of them: sign painter, commercial artist and fine art painter. His latest incarnation, however, may see him through to retirement.
Schroeder opened Crescent City Tattoo Co. (4800 Magazine St., 269-8282) six years ago and never looked back. "When you tattoo someone, it's a permanent thing, and you make friends for life," he says.
Most of the shop's business, he says, comes from repeat customers and those who recommend Crescent City Tattoo to their friends. To celebrate the parlor's sixth anniversary, Schroeder is inviting the city to his annual July 4th party at the shop, which features members of the The Atonement Tribe, who will be suspended from hooks by their chests, backs and knees in front of the shop.
"(Every year) we have a big, big party with food, drinks and people suspended from hooks," says Schroeder. "There will be people breathing fire, putting hooks through their cheeks; it's all just part of the show for the party."
Crescent City Tattoo artists can give customers any kind of tattooed body art they desire, whether it's one of the 80,000 designs already available at the shop or custom artwork. "We're a no-nonsense tattoo shop," Schroeder says. "We'll do big, gigantic pieces, then turn around and do a name through a heart. We're not into the whole rock-star tattoo syndrome; we're just a working-artist street tattoo shop and proud to be one."
Customers range from 18 years old to 80, a fact he attributes to the burgeoning popularity of tattoo art and a change in attitude about the art form.
"Tattoo art has been around since the dawn of time," he says. "About 15 years ago, people started accepting it more. It doesn't seem like it's peaking out; it's just growing."
Besides tattoos, Crescent City performs body piercing and sells a range of pierced jewelry. It is open from noon to 1:30 a.m. seven days a week, but artists often stay later to complete works in progress. Customers don't have to worry about health concerns either, Schroeder says, as his shop is certified by the Louisiana Health Board and is visited by a health inspector every few months. "The health board standards are fairly new, and it's pretty strict," Schroeder say. "Every needle is brand new and all the equipment and stations are sterilized daily. "
Best Face Forward
Makeup can play up the drama of a person's assets or downplay certain flaws. The secret is how you apply cosmetics and what products you use.
Robert Hudson of Makeup by Robert Hudson (603 1/2 Metairie Road, Metairie, 837-0905) is a master of the art who has extensive experience not only in New Orleans but across the country. He established himself as a local makeup artist, then for four years worked with M•A•C cosmetic company as a trainer then as a makeup artist who worked on special couture events in such destinations as Milan, New York and Miami. He returned to New Orleans in 2002 to re-establish his business in the city he loves.
"This is home," says Hudson, who took the position with M•A•C to make contacts in the industry and a name for himself that would allow him to work in a larger market and on the international stage, opportunities he likely would not have gotten from a base in Louisiana. "Now I can do those things again from here, because I have my connections."
His passions are making people look their best and finding ways to match how they appear to the outside world with their personal aesthetics and their moods. "I'm a firm believer that makeup should be an extension of a person's personality," he says. "There's beauty in really simple makeup and in really strong makeup. It all depends on how you want to accessorize yourself."
At his business, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment, Hudson gives customers makeup lessons as well as applying cosmetics for special occasions.
"I have customers from 12 (years old and up)," he says. "I'm now working on the second and third generations of customers who have come to me for years." He suggests that customers return for additional applications or makeup lessons periodically as their tastes and faces change and to brush up on techniques.
"As we grow, our faces change, so maybe what you learned to do 10 years ago may not be your best choice or your only choice," Hudson explains." He also likes to show people how to apply makeup in different ways for different occasions or varying fashion looks. "For a special occasion, you should not look like you do every day. And makeup, like hair and clothing styles, is always updated. If your makeup still looks like it did 10 years ago, then something is off in the total picture." Hudson also offers cosmetics from makers such Lip Lingerie, Longcils Boncza (which offers a mascara invented especially for Marilyn Monroe), Keromask masking cream; and Lucky Chick body products.
- The artists at Crescent City Tattoo: (back left to right) piercer Erik Clemmer, owner Tiger Mike Schroeder and his son, Nicholas Schroeder, (front left to right) Matthew Turpen, Kelli Wigginson and Cornbread.