Andrea Lynne, founder and owner of Kollective Studio, has been devoted to opening Tremont's newest tattoo shop for some time. She opened shop June 1 after moving locations twice, and renovating the old food joint at 1112 Kenilworth Ave. with her own hands. Specializing in Americana-style tattoos, this chick has been inking people all over the US for nine years, and decided to make Cleveland home. She sat down with us at Scene to talk about her story, her new shop, and all the painfully inspiring spots for your next ink endeavors.
How did you get into the business?
I started getting tattooed when I was 19 by a couple of guys in Dayton. I moved to Columbus, and I met this guy named Greg D., who started tattooing me. He knew I could draw and he got tired of hiring people that never worked out. He thought, "I should teach you how to tattoo because its easier than hiring people who don't show up to their job."
Did you always see yourself opening your own shop?
It was never my intention; this whole thing kind of all fell together. I never thought that I would be where I am right now.
So when did you open Kollective?
In 2011, originally started in Cleveland Heights. In 2013, we moved to Tremont and were on West 14th until June.
Would you say you get some pretty good foot traffic here in Tremont?
We get a decent amount of foot traffic. The other location was a little slower. Before we were a destination; now we have a lot of people who just happen to be walking by.
What do you think is your favorite part about your job?
For me, it's creating something. I like the whole process of working with the client, seeing their idea, vision in my head, and putting it together.
Who is the most famous person you have tattooed?
I had no idea who he was, until he left, and I looked him up. I thought this guy is so hot, so English, and amazing. He gave me ID, email address, phone number, the whole bit. He was Matthew on Downton Abbey. I spent 45 minutes trying to put an "A" perfectly on his ribcage. He was super specific about where he wanted [it] because it was for his son. It was really hilarious.
Why was he in Cleveland?!
He was filming a movie with John Travolta, just walking by and wanted to get his son's initial tattooed on him.
What are the weirdest, and also most common tattoo requests you've gotten?
Infinity symbols are the most common. Its very Pinterest; we get a lot of those. An infinity symbol means a lot of different things to a lot of people so I totally get that. The weirdest? No one is getting really random stuff anymore. Its all very: flowers, birds, that kind of thing. I think the weirdest tattoo I ever did was of the word "tattoos" with a big red "no" sign over it. The guy wanted to tell people he had no tattoos. It was so random. I didn't know if he was making fun of tattoos. The more I thought about it, the more odd it was.
Have you seen or done any Cleveland-themed tattoos?
Oh yeah, the Ohio with the dot for Cleveland, or the brownie. I'm so sports-stupid though. So, I learned about it, but if there is somebody in the studio who is generally more into sports than I am, I'm like, "Please take this tattoo, because you actually like sports and know what they're talking about." I try to steer clear of those. Cleveland skyline is a popular one; I've done that a couple times.
Have you ever had someone screaming their head off while you were giving them a tattoo?
Once, a long time ago, she was flailing around screaming. People are pretty composed now, and I've figured out ways to calm them down. I think a lot of people know how to adjust their head and calm down, but she did not.
Do you mind sharing your first tattoo experience?
Yeah! The guy is actually about to be on the next Ink Masters. His name is St. Mark. If he knew that I was telling you this, he would probably be really embarrassed. He wanted to learn how to tattoo, so he started tattooing in the back of his airbrush studio. I wanted this "X" with letters above and below it and I wanted it on my shoulder. He was like "OK," and put it together. I didn't know anything, it was my first tattoo. I remember sitting in a chair reading comic books thinking, "This isn't that bad." I thought it was going to be a lot worse. When he got done, I [thought] wow, I want more tattoos. It was very uneventful but it was basically an illegal shop. I think it was in '92, and now he is going to be on Ink Masters, which I think is hilarious.
What would you say is the most painful part on the body is to get a tattoo?
Palm of the hand, fingers, underside of the fingers. Closer to the nail bed on fingers is pretty bad.
What's the wrist like?
It's really pinch-y. It like a rubber band is snapping at it really hard. Closer to the armpit is really bad.
Ribs and stomach are notoriously tender. If you think about an area of your body that gets sunlight, or you bang it a lot more [those are easy]. Outside the arms are easy, its fleshy. Legs [too], until you get to the back of the knee, which hurts badly. Its one of those things where you sit for an hour and it feels like a sunburn; its hot, but after a while you're like "meh, its not that bad." If you can handle womanhood, you can get any tattoo. That's what I tell everyone. That's 100-percent true.