Support us with Kachingle!
April 5, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Upon entering the narrow office space of Stone Crow Studio, an odd juxtaposition of colorful, hand-painted high heels and dark skulls and grim reapers meets the eye. An imposing, tattooed, goateed figure in dark clothes enters the room, but rather than advance menacingly, he smiles broadly and extends his hand, jovially greeting any newcomers.
Located near the northeast corner of Columbia’s city limit, Stone Crow Studio Tattoo and Fine Art, owned by Jon Stokes, is a modern tattoo parlor and art gallery in a small, slightly rundown strip mall. Some dark imagery lines the small studio, but the overall tone comes across as sleek and contemporary, and every room has an emphasis on art. Murals of Heath Ledger as the Joker, the 1930s film version of Frankenstein and the 1940s film version of the Wolf Man hang on the gray walls of the studio. Painted kitten heels are displayed in glass cases.
Where: 5695 Clark Lane
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 12-8 p.m.
Email for appointments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aside from tattoos, customers can commission virtually any kind of art project. Stokes paints murals, draws caricatures and even carves wooden Santa Claus figurines in the winter. He says providing other art services helps broaden his clientele because people who would never ordinarily come to a tattoo parlor can still visit his shop and have a positive experience.
Stokes has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Iowa Wesleyan College, but art has been in his life since seventh grade when Stokes sold custom-designed T-shirts door-to-door. Before becoming a tattoo artist, he was a kindergarten art teacher and also taught art at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. He was interested in custom tattoo art, though, and ended up working with Kevin Smith, the artist who gave Stokes his first tattoo.
When Stokes’ wife, Cassandra, who is also an artist, got a job transfer to Columbia in 2010, Jon decided to set up a studio here and become a
Due to his background in art, Stokes says he is able to design more custom tattoos as opposed to using templates. He says he most enjoys designing tattoo portraits, and his website shows examples of
photo-realistic images of Sweeney Todd and Captain Jack Sparrow, with intricate work such as 3-D shadowing and detailed textures. He also has a certain affinity for zombies, which is shown by the mural of Uncle Sam as a zombie in the tattoo room.
Also featured in the studio is artwork created by Cassandra, including a vividly colored sunflower painting, pinup art and the hand-painted shoes.
Stokes says he hopes to one day expand his office space to include room for other local artists to display a variety of art work.
Stokes’ outgoing nature adds to the welcoming atmosphere of the studio, and it’s easy to get caught up in a conversation and suddenly realize an hour has gone by. Professional piercer Dickie Poynter says they often sit around and discuss comic books and art. Repeat customer Ryan Payne says for the past nine or ten months he has been stopping by the studio on a weekly basis just to hang out.
“When you walk into Jon’s shop, you know it’s not a seedy place,” Payne says. “He’s a nice guy, and you’ll feel welcome there.”