A few weeks back, January 30th to be exact, I published a post about Dog Ears Bookstore. When I shared it on social media, not one, but three people contacted me and told me about a fundraiser for Dog Ears that their tattoo artist puts together. That tattoo artist is David Jednat, owner of Grey Havens Tattoos (the name is a nod to Lord of the Rings) on Seneca Street in South Buffalo.
I was intrigued. So I contacted David and went over to see him a couple of days ago. My first thought as I parked and approached was ‘What a cool building…’. You all know how I love a good building. And it’s right between two of my favorite South Buffalo bars, Hopper’s Rush Inn and Blackthorn Pub. I’ve got a good feeling.
As busy as everyone in the shop obviously was, David immediately came over and greeted me at the custom made curved counter with a unique penny motif. I’ve heard of people doing the penny counter thing, but I’ve never seen it done. I found out later that David and Kody, one of the other tattoo artists, built the counters here. They’re impressive. Especially since they worked with no plan. Just sort of made it up as they went along. Nice.
Grey Havens Tattoos
As David get’s ready for his first client of the day, he chat’s easily about himself. He’s been a tattoo artist for nine years now, two of those years here in his own shop. He opened the shop in December of 2017. There are five tattoo artists here, including David, each one their own boss. David explains that the artists are contractors and they rent space from him, much like hair stylists. They have their own following, set their own prices, etc. David also brings in guest artists on occasion for events, or if they just happen to be in town.
Tattoo artists also travel to conventions all over the country. I’m told that these events can be both fun and lucrative. Interesting. This is a whole new world for me. You see, I don’t have any tattoos. Yet.
In case you’re one of those people who worries, tattoo artists are required to be licensed by Erie County, and this includes guest artists who are only there for a day. The Erie County Health Department Permit is right up on the counter for all to see, as required by law. The artists here are taking care of business, and after watching the prep involved, it certainly looks as though everyone here knows what they’re doing. Rest assured, this place is clean and the regulations are being followed.
The shop itself is spacious, eclectic, and well, laid back. There’s a real relaxed atmosphere here. Artists and clients chit chat while fantastic art is being made. The work they do is incredible. I’m amazed. I mean, we’ve all seen beautiful tattoos. But I’ve never sat down and watched the process. These artists are talented! I’ll show you more of their stuff later.
What Else is There?
As if tattoos aren’t enough, in the adjoining space, there is a piercing shop called Moria’s Piercing and Jewelry, also owned by David, and also a Lord of the Rings reference. 😉 Jess runs the show over there.
What Does All This Have To Do With Dog Ears Bookstore?
Good question. While living on Normal Street, David and his wife Melissa (then girlfriend) would head over to the Blackthorn Pub and have dinner on Friday nights. When a tattoo artist friend suggested they go for dessert at Dog Ears Cafe, they figured why not?
They fell in love with the place, just like I did. Not just for the delicious vegan baked goods (David is not vegan), but also for the books. It’s of course, all about the books at Dog Ears. So, the Blackthorn, Dog Ears for dessert and the books became their new Friday night tradition.
Hanging out at Dog Ears, they got to know Tom McDonnell, the owner. David tells me the story of how he was searching for a hard to find book on tattooing. Tom McDonnell knew a guy who happened to have one and he bought it, and gave it to David for the same price he paid. That’s, I’ve learned, who Tom is.
The Jednats became friends with Tom McDonnell. Tom not only helped to find hard to get tattooing books, he also helped set David up with a tattooing apprenticeship. He was even the minister at their wedding!
Time to Give Back
David explained that when he opened his own shop he was looking for a way to give back. That’s the thing about Buffalo business owners that I love the most. The willingness to share, pay it forward, and give back. To the people who have helped, to the community, and to the city.
In David’s case, when he decided he wanted to give back, he thought of Tom and Dog Ears. A worthy cause for sure. Dog Ears Bookstore has helped so many people through the years. Read about Dog Ears here.
So that’s how the fundraiser came to be. And it’s been a huge success so far, they’re coming up on the third annual (Sunday, March 8 at noon) and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. $50 for select tattoos, discounts on piercings, a basket raffle, pizza… you can read more specifics at Grey Haven’s event on facebook. It sounds like fun, and it’s for a great cause. They’re looking to do 100 tattoos this year! So if you were thinking about getting one anyway…you might want to check it out.
Some Photos of Tattoos in Process
I was really grateful that everyone was fine with me walking around snapping photos of their works in progress, both the artists and the clients. And they were so nice about it!
And Some Finished Artwork
One of David’s clients, Mary Kate, was kind enough to let me get some shots of her tatts. She’s living up to the message she wears on her right bicep. Thank you for that Mary Kate.
And it’s good to know someone’s taking care of the sidewalk.
And Some More From Facebook and Instagram
My Impressions of Grey Havens Tattoos
So I mentioned earlier that I don’t have any tattoos. Not yet. I can tell you that when I do get one, and I will, it’ll be at Grey Havens Tattoos. The high level of professionalism, along with just the right amount of personality is a good mix here, in my opinion.
It’s nice to see good people, doing good things for other good people. We all have something to give, and as for Grey Havens Tattoos and Dog Ears Bookstore, they’re both giving generously. This is the type of thing that makes Buffalo great.
So, on March 8, between noon and 8pm, head over to Grey Havens Tattoos at 2116 Seneca Street in South Buffalo. Get a tattoo, buy some chances on the raffle, or just donate. It’s what Buffalonians do. Can’t make it on March 8? They’re open everyday, noon – 8, except Sunday and Monday. Oh, and when you’re there, ask David about his ‘thing’ for human bones…