Community: Close Up
The Gazette, Sat., July 8, 2006
C.R. tattoo artist leaves his mark on the masses

Who gets tattoos, in terms of age, gender, income, education, occupation? Is tattooing/body piercing increasing?

Probably the majority, 55 to 60 percent, are women. They pick out smaller tattoos in more concelad areas. Agewise, it runs 18 to 79, and a lot of 'em are in their 60s. I've done a lot of "Red Hats." Them women are funny. Men, it runs 18 to 65.

Tattooing has been steady for the last 12 years; body piercing has picked up a lot. Older women are getting their belly buttons pierce. A lot of the piercing is students.

Tattoos in women are more married/working women. Overall, I tattoo more working-class individuals.

What do you like most, least, about your work?

Most: The people, (for the) different outlooks they have.

Not two customers get the same thing and the way individuals react the first time ranges from euphoric to utter fear.

Worst: When a person comes in withat a botched-up job. It always seems to be a woman who got talked into a tattoo done by a scratcheer -- a non-licensed person who tattoos. I have to tell some of there's nothing I can do to make that look good. The tears in their eyes are horrendous to see. Others I can ... fix what they've got.



Name: Greg ArBuckle
Address: 99 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
Occupation: Co-owner, ArBuckle's Tattooing & Piercing Emporium
Hometown: Cedar Rapids
Education: Bachelor's degree in business by mail from Canada
Family: Wife, Sherri, co-owner of emporium. Son, Cyprian, 34, Cedar Rapids


You know what's coming when they preface their story by saying "I was really drunk and got this tattoo ..."

If you could visit with three people from history, who would they be?

Mr. Bever (Bever Park), Judge Green (Green Square Park) and Mr. Sinclair (meat-packing), )the city's) founding fathers. I'd like to find out what went wrong from then until now. Those men gave freely of their time and money to do the right things to develop what they thought Cedar Rapids should become. No "I thinks this is a good idea, let the taxpayers pay for it." That's why they were movers and shakers.

What's good and bad about Cedar Rapids?

Good: its small-town nature. Bad: the overly large amout of ground owned by tax-exempt businesses that do not pay for the infrastructure that they use.

  Tattoo Artist Greg ArBuckle works on a client in early May at ArBuckle's Tattoo and Piercing Emporium, located in Czech Village in Southwest Cedar Rapids. The purple hat? "It's just me," he says. He and his wife own the business. He pines for the times when he says city leaders were altruistic "movers and shakers."

Your "best book"?

A toss-up between "Second Amendment Primer," by Les Adams, or "Illustrated Man," by Ray Bradbury. The primer is the right to own arms. Every society that has taken guns away has enslaved those in it. "Illustrated Man": Tattoos tell a story, just like a photograph. You can look at a person's tattoos and see where they've been, and sometimes, why

Your biggest life lesson?

Never trust a politician you don't own. Because if you don't own him, somebody else will. Makes no difference the party or Independents



Your most embarrising moment?

Giving a talk to some businessmen when my zipper was down and my shirttail was out. I wondered why they laughed so hard at my jokes.

— By Shirley Ruedy

Grge ArBuckle tattooing a customer. ©Sherri ArBuckle