Local body art technician wins award during Philadelphia convention

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Little Falls body art technician, Anthony Elliott II, better known as a tattoo artist, was honored in Philadelphia, Pa., May 10, with the Tattoo of the Day award.

During a convention promoted by Villain Arts, Anthony decided, at the last minute, to tattoo his father, A.J., with a skull, horns, a hat with lots of eyes and a beard. That design won the award.

A.J. Elliott, left, and his son Anthony, owners of Elliotts’ Tattoos in Little Falls, attended a tattoo convention in Philadelphia, Pa., in May. With his original design, Anthony won the Tattoo of the Day on the first day of the convention, over nearly 100 other seasoned body art technicians. The winning design is pictured at right.

A.J. Elliott, left, and his son Anthony, owners of Elliotts’ Tattoos in Little Falls, attended a tattoo convention in Philadelphia, Pa., in May. With his original design, Anthony won the Tattoo of the Day on the first day of the convention, over nearly 100 other seasoned body art technicians. The winning design is pictured below.

“Anthony was judged by his peers,” said his proud father. “They said he was better than many older and more established artists.”

For the honor, Anthony won a trophy sporting a sailing vessel and A.J. received a plaque for being the one who sat for more than two hours to receive the tattoo.

The convention, similar to an arts and crafts fair for tattoo artists, was held in the historic section of Philadelphia on the warship Olympia, the oldest warship in the world still floating. It was first launched in 1892, and now sits at the Independence Seaport Museum.

The theme of the May convention was old-school tattooing, similar, yet updated, to what sailors may have got more than 100 years ago.

“It’s sort of neo-traditional,” said Anthony, who has been drawing since he was 8. “The convention offered something for everyone.”

Anthony, 22, grew up in his father’s tattoo business. A.J. has been creating tattoos in Little Falls for more than 20 years. The business is now located at 122 East Broadway, across from Pete and Joy’s Bakery.

tattoo“I got into the business mostly because of fatherly influence,” said Anthony. “I would watch dad tattoo others for hours.”

While attending high school in Little Falls, Anthony took all the art classes he could.

“I would even skip lunch to hang out with the art teachers,” he said.

A.J. said Anthony did his first tattoo on him when he was just 15 years old.

“Now he is creating award-winning designs,” said A.J. “Anthony also creates water color and acrylic paintings, he sketches, does prints, designs T-shirts, does mural work and is a graphic designer. He also does commissioned work, including tattoo portraits from photographs.”

Anthony said one of the best parts of being a tattoo artist is being able to create his own artwork.

Plus, the conventions give Anthony, and his father, the opportunity to mingle with other artists, learning about new tools, pigments, supplies and designs. They said they learn from others and trade ideas.

In 2011, Minnesota required both tattoo establishments and the artist to be licensed. It was in 2011, that Anthony became a licensed body art technician. Requirements included working in a parlor under supervision for 200 hours.

The Minnesota Department of Health inspects tattoo establishments often. Each business license is good for three years and each artist’s license is good for one year.

Annually, each artist must be tested for bloodborne pathogens and the autoclave, or sterilizer used by the business, must be tested every 30 days with records kept on site for anyone to view.

For more information, call Elliotts’ Tattoos at (320) 631-0070 or visit on Facebook. Walk-ins are always welcome.

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