For the last six months, tattoo artist Bill Schmidt and his wife, and business partner, Trish Schmidt have had their storefront in Ponoka and business has been good.
Nestled right along 50 Street, Wild Side Kustom Tattooz has been providing customers with eye-popping tattoos.
Schmidt says he has been tattooing ever since he was a teenager as he always enjoyed the art form. He has been tattooing privately for the last 10 years, but wanted to be able to have his own storefront.
At the time he started, tattooing was more underground, Scmidt explained, and the plan was to tattoo just himself. “For 28 years, I’ve got into this,” he said.
“I just got better and watched how it progressed over time,” he added of recent changes that has brought tattooing to a more mainstream environment.
Most recently, Schmidt has seen a trend in customers requesting memorial tattoo work on their bodies or quotes from books or movies. He suggests there are fads that occur over the years and quotes are big right now.
Getting a tattoo is not a decision that should be taken lightly and while Schmidt wants the business, if a customer has a request they may regret years later, he will work with them to change the design. “A lot of people make mistakes their first tattoos,” he explained.
“I’ve done probably 30 cover-ups (from different tattoo artists) in the six months that I’ve been here,” said Schmidt.
He added that while portraits are popular, Schmidt said those portraits will fade out over the years and people may end up with washed out portraits.
“If I know it’s a dumb tattoo idea and you’re going to regret it, I’ll refuse to do it,” he said simply.
While Schmidt will tattoo most of what a customer wants, he enjoys inking skulls and flowers on a person. There some things he just won’t do: “No hate stuff.”
Schmidt says some of the most memorable tattoos he has done have been after setting up shop in Ponoka. He enjoys when a customer comes in with a request to tattoo a family crest or have some historical piece on their body.
“It’s just a good decision,” added Schmidt.
For every 500 customers who like their Facebook page, Trish says they give away one hour of tattooing to a randomly picked customer. Wild Side Kustom Tattooz also does piercing.
The store is usually open Thursdays to Saturdays during the summer and Schmidt expects the hours to open up during the winter.