FLINT, MI — Tim Legendary has been drawing and painting as long as he can remember. But being an artist doesn’t always pay — especially in Flint. May as well put cars together — after all, thousands of other Flint natives had been providing for their families that way for years. When his Chrysler coworkers recommended that he get into tattooing, he resisted.
But once he got experience under his belt and the clients started rolling in, he began to see that tattoos were a staple in Genesee County.
"When I got to a point where I was making more in one day tattooing than I did at Chrysler for a whole week, I knew it was time to go," said Legendary, 43, while sitting in his Legendary Tattoos shop in Flint and reminiscing about his earlier tattooing days.
He admits that his experience is unlikely for most people, but he isn’t alone in his quest to capitalize on tattoos in Flint. Genesee County has the highest number of licensed tattoo shops per capita in the state, according to documentation from the Michigan Board of Health. Genesee County has 35 licensed tattoo shops, with an estimated population of 418,408.
That’s approximately one shop per 11,954 people. More than even Wayne County, with 48 shops, with about one for every 37,333 people, according to state and U.S. Census records.
Unofficial online lists with sites such as Today.com and Buzzfeed.com list Flint as the fourth-most tattooed city in the U.S. based on the number of shops in town.
Joel Rash, director of Red Ink Flint, said that there is a strong historical connection between Flint’s tattoo culture and music scenes. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when bands used to perform at the Capital Theatre, members of several rock bands started their own tattoo shops downtown. Corey Robinson, who was in a band called Ninja High School, founded Consolidated Ink & Steel, while Matt Brinks and Brady Duncan co-founded Almighty Tattoo. Brinks was in […]