Manahawkin Tattoo Parlor: All About the Art

Customers from the area and beyond wait as long as three months for an appointment.

As a child, Ty Pallotta was infatuated with his father's military tattoo.  He got his first tattoo -- Spiderman -- when he was 17.  And, in 1998 he left his home in Toms River for a tattoo artist apprenticeship in Austin, Texas.

Pallotta, the owner of Premium Blend Tattoo, 777 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, said after his apprenticeship he worked in Staten Island and then came back to New Jersey, finally opening his own shop in 2004.

"What people seek me out for are the realism tattoos," said Pallotta.  "There are not a lot of people doing that type of work around here.  You see it more in the cities."

Pallotta said he is well-rounded, but has a knack for photo realism -- reproducing a photo on the body.  He has done Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali; he has tattooed the opening scene from the Quentin Tarantino movie, "Reservoir Dogs" and "The A Team's" Mr. T.

People are willing to wait to get these stylized tattoos: Pallotta said there is about a two-month wait for an appointment, and lately it has gotten as long as three and a half months.

"The people who are informed and want quality work seek us out," he said.  "We tattoo people in their eighties, every walk of life, every age group.  It's a lot more accepted than it used to be."

Pallotta said tattoos are beautiful art, as long as the content is acceptable.  He said people can't be turned down for jobs because of their tattoos and even police departments allow their officers to have them.

It can take three to four hours to get a tattoo, said Pallotta, who charges $125 an hour.  He cautioned people to think long and hard before getting a tattoo because it is permanent.

"Stay away from something that's trendy," he said.  "Get something that's timeless, tasteful and a good quality piece of artwork, not a word or phrase you will regret."

Pallotta said right now, the trend is feathers turning into birds.  Past trends include Chinese characters, dolphins and the phrase, "Live, Love, Laugh."  He still gets a fair share of dragons and hearts with daggers.  Some of his most unusual tattoos include a portrait of Jimmy "J.J." Walker and a mermaid with a green fly head.

"If someone has a bad idea that they wouldn't want on their body for the rest of their lives, I talk them out of it," he said.  "People also will price shop.  Tattoos are a very specialized service and if you're going to price shop, you shouldn't get a tattoo."

Fellow Premium Blend tattoo artist, Robyn Pallotta, said there is pain associated with getting a tattoo, although it is more of an annoyance.  And, she said, people should use sunscreen on their tattoos to help the colors stay fresh and moisturizer to keep the tattoo bright.

While Premium Blend has clients from all over, they have a very responsible client base of locals from 18 to 80 years old.

"It's popular everywhere, but people in this area really like tattoos," said Pallotta.  "Maybe it's because we're close to the beach area."

Pallotta said, in the future he would like to stay focused on large-scale work.  He also is working on a street-wear clothing line with his original artwork.

Premium Blend's hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  To see samples of Ty's and Robyn's work, visit their website or their Facebook page.

Eric Thomas June 15, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Mutilation of the human anatomy is "art"? Rembrandt is rolling in his grave! Can't wait to see what these "works of art" look like when people are my age. Probably a resemblance to a stale prune. Some of the tattooed and pierced humanoids running around unchained make me wonder if the Martians have landed. To each their own. Just know that many of us who "admire" your necks, arms, legs ( and dream about places still camouflaged by clothing) are laughing at those of you who have yet to realize these "works of art" are forever and do not come off. It's your body. Desecrate it if you choose.
Beach Girl June 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
This tattoo artist is phenomenal!!!!! Tattoos are works of art and, for some, have special meaning. Having a portrait of your child's face tattooed on your body or a remembrance of a loved one is very special to some of us. Because you dont have any tattoos, don't knock the people who have them. And as far as getting wrinkly ...... Who the hell cares. Everyone gets old and their skin wrinkles. Even yours. Tattooed or not! Keep living in your cave.
ConcernedMom June 16, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I personally do not have any tattoos but my father was in the Navy and I remember admiring his tattoos as a child. I remember him telling me that men would get them because they would tell a story of their life. I was taught as a child never judge someone for how they look because looks are always deceiving. Even though I would not get a tattoo myself I do believe that people have a right to express themselves without being judged by th way they look on the outside. I have met some beautiful looking people on the outside but they were the ugliest people on the inside. I have found that the people who insult and judge people for how they look are usually the ones who you have to watch out for. So I say to all of you who wish to express yourself in untraditional ways, GO FOR IT. Never worry about what others think of you it only matters what you think of yourself.
George Ronald Adkisson June 16, 2012 at 01:58 PM
It's still ok not to get tattoos...tattoos do not desecrate the Body of Christ. And it is ok not to get any at all...and keep the cosmetic appearance of your physical self as you wish...especially mentally I am sure good people have tattoos...and we could have never made it this long upon Earth without them. Everyone have a wonderful day there in New Jersey.
Eric Thomas June 16, 2012 at 01:59 PM
By no means do I live in a cave, madam. Frankly, I get a true hoot out of observing those misguided mutants who have ruined the body their parents created for them. And all you gals who have adorned your "protuberances" with "ink," given the breast cancer realities, you need to be a grade-A fool to do something like that. So keep inking, piercing and pinning bones into your nostrils, eyebrows and wherever else you might choose. Ringling Brothers made a fortune with a freak known as "The Tattooed Lady." You all are giving the same show away for free!
Eric Thomas June 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Ms. O'Grady, first, thanks to your patriotic father for his service. There is a difference between what your dad did and the knuckleheads who have "flames" sprouting from their buttocks, etc. This is not "art," it is a spectacle. A silent cry for attention from those who have a void in their lives. Quite pathetic.
Eric Thomas June 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM
How, in the name of common sense, can you say: "and we could have never made it this long upon Earth without them. " Surely you are doing satire. Yet, I agree that one's body is their own to respect or desecrate.
Paige O'Grady June 16, 2012 at 07:33 PM
If I may be so bold as to speak freely, Mr. Thomas, I do believe that everyone has their own right to an opinion and in saying that, while I respect your opinion, I must also state that it is rather chauvinistic and judgmental. My mother raised me to be kind to everyone, regardless of where they are from or how they look. You believe, in more simple terms, tattoos are an abomination. That's true to many people, not just you. But there is no reason to speak out of line and hurt the feelings of others. In my opinion, judgment is far worse than bodily desecration. Tattoos themselves, and I am excluding complications from them, have never killed anyone. How many young men and women have recently committed suicide due to judgment and bias from others? Maybe you should take that into consideration before you throw your opinions around so freely.
Eric Thomas June 16, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Speaking one's mind is not "bold," Ms. O'Grady; it is simply an exercise of constitutional liberties. Are you a self-anointed jury of one? Whose feelings did I hurt via my candor? And please do not attempt to "simplify" my words. My words are for interpretation as written. We disagree. Fine. Chauvinistic to care about women taking risks as concerns breast cancer? Surely you jest. And I do not think any rational human being is planning suicide because I voiced my opinion. If anyone is, it will take far more than a tattoo or my silence to cure what ails them. I respect your opinion too, Ms. O'Grady. Not only its' substance, but your unabashed right to speak it in what ever forum you choose.
Bob Wise June 16, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Mr. Thomas, I think the 'Mr. T" tat pictured above speaks for itself. It proves your point as a picture is worth a thousand words.
Beach Girl June 16, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Obviously you know nothing about tattoos Mr. Thomas. Tattoos in no way contribute to cancer of any kind. The ink is under a few layers of skin and in no way reaches the bloodstream. And tattoo parlors are strctly mandated with regard to stere techniques. You don't like tattoos ... Fine. Don't call the people who do "freaks". There are many good, educated people out there who have tattoos. Doesn't make them less intelligent! For peats sake ... Its only ink.
BeyondReality June 16, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I love tattoos and think they are a beautiful art. And this link is in no way associated with this tattoo artist. It is just to funny not to share. http://tatopia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/tattoofail.jpg
Eric Thomas June 16, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Ms. Beach Girl, please quote wherein I called anyone a "freak." If you revisit what I wrote, you would see that I referred to "freak" as what The Ringling Brothers used as billing for the legendary Tattooed Lady that was once a midway attraction in their circuses. So far as "what contributes to cancer," please tell us that basis of your knowledge. I am always interested in new perspectives. The fact is that indelible ink and human cellular structure might clash in a most devastating manner. I do not care what you or anybody does with their body because it is just that - - their body; not mine. So ink yourself, pierce yourself or do whatever else you please. I sincerely hope you do not suffer any negative consequences over the course of your life as a result. And to make it perfectly clear, the basis of my comments have nothing to do with the proprietor of the Manahawkin shop. It makes no difference to me how a person earns their living so long as it is within the law. You know, like the former Barnegat mayor who peddles cigarettes. The ones with the surgeon general's warning emblazonment on every pack. Legal? Yes. Potentially cancer-causing? You betcha!
STEFANIE ROSE June 17, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Mr. Thomas, I understand that we are all entitled to our "constitutional liberties" and I am going to exercise mine. If you don't care what we are doing to our bodies, why are you continuing your rant against tattoos? I consider myself to be a very respectable person and I have a few myself. I have work on my body from both Ty and Robyn of Premium Blend and I assure you that they are works of art. Some people like to hang artwork on their walls, I prefer to carry mine with me at all times. Tell me this.... If i were a doctor: Would you care about my tattoos if I were saving your life or one of your family members? You need to be more open minded. All I can ask is that you look at the art aspect and truly appreciate what tattoos mean to the people that have them, not what you portray them as.
Paul Berge June 17, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Oh my god, this thing isn't going to come off in the shower? If I would have only read this comment before it was too late.
Eric Thomas June 17, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Ms. Rose, I continue or discontinue what I choose. Permission, approval, disapproval, etc. is irrelevant. Your "assurance" about the craftsmanship of the tattoo "artists" you name is also irrelevant. I am certain they can paint-a-portrait to the liking of their paying customers. Please do not purport to know about anybody else's "open mindedness." I consider issues on their merits. I am not on a crusade to end tattooing. I have my position that has been memorialized above. That I choose to silently ridicule some of the individuals I see tattooed, pierced, etc., from nose to toes is my affair; I consider it great comedy. Tattoos on a doctor mean nothing to me. And I do not ask for another table if my server is festooned with "ink." But I would not deal with a banker, attorney or other such professional whose necks might be adorned with lightening bolts, serpents and the like. Just my choice, not a judgment on their competency. Tattoo to your heart's content, Ms. Rose. Art is like pornography - one knows it when one sees it. Tattoo to your heart's content!
STEFANIE ROSE June 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Then ridicule silently! You're contradicting yourself.
Eric Thomas June 20, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I am not ridiculing you, Ms. Rose. If you comprehend what I have written, my remarks clearly indicate that any ridicule, re this issue, would be based on a tattooed, pierced, etc., person';s appearance. And since I do not know what anybody who has chimed in looks like, I am not "ridiculing" anyone hereon. Now am I?
STEFANIE ROSE June 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Please accept this invitation to stop into Premium Blend any day that you would like and see the type of shop we run and the people that we are. I assure you that you will rethink your prejudice against tattoos because you would never have any idea that a few of us here even have tattoos.
Rory Hamill June 21, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Last word!
Megan Keller June 22, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Great article!!!! Love you guys!! Xoxo
Eric Thomas June 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Ms. Rose, thank you for being gracious. I am certain the establishment is well managed and operates within the law. My comments were never directed towards this company. One last time, I do not care if a person placards themselves from nose-to-toes. Their body to do with as they choose. If a person frets about whether I or anyone else approves of their "art" is an issue far beyond the "ink." I hope the shop you name prospers; I truly do. I am confident the owners made a hefty investment and have a dream. I am not "prejudiced" against tattoos. But when something appears funny, absurd or ridiculous to me I am as entitled to my sentiments as another person is to their "body art." Best of luck to you.
STEFANIE ROSE June 26, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Thank You


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