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Lori Todd

Chicago Tattooing Company

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Just saw on Instagram that both Mario Desa and Nick Colella are leaving CTC for what appears to be a new venture in Chicago, possibly together.

Not really trying to speculate the whys or what they're up to, as they both said they'd announce more soon.

CTC has a solid spot in American tattooing and I know many of you have been tattooed there over the years. Perhaps here you can share your CTC stories :)

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@Dan S I think you've mentioned in other threads that most (or maybe all?) of your tattoos were done at CTC, will you follow Nick to his new spot or start getting work from another artist at CTC? or do both?

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I'm pretty happy with Nick's tattooing, so I will stick with him, as long as he doesn't move to frkn Paris or something! I would never rule-out having work done by the other tattooers at CTC, they are all first-rate.

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This really caught me off guard. I saw the Mario post and wasn't too shocked, as he has moved around a little bit before landing there, but my jaw dropped when I saw Nick's post. I love Beatdown, Frank William, Jelena and everyone else's tattoos there, but to me Chicago Tattoo Company is Nick Colella. On the other hand can't wait to see what he has planned, and hopefully I have some space left next time I head back.

I have a few guesses to what is going to happen, but don't want to put stuff out there that is just specualtion.

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Frank Williams is well on his way to being a first-class tattooer, for sure.

As to what they have planned, I'll ride with @David Flores on this and wait to see, but I think I can safely say that Nick has a HUGE collection of tattoo history, including what is probably the largest stash of Cliff Raven's work extant, so I know that wherever they land, the shop will be exciting, historical, and au courant. Their styles compliment each other, and Mario and Nick are both Masters of the trade, and artists to be reckoned with.

Hang on, kids, this promises to be exciting!

Just as a kinda closer, my oldest has booked what I believe is Nick's last opening at CTC. The ink-pig!

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I was also shocked (and don't want to speculate, as I don't think Nick or Mario would want that).

I'm kind of sad to see that group breaking up. I know @Dan S said that Nick and Mario's styles compliment each others, but I always felt that Nick and Eric's styles complimented each other more (and while I don't know for sure, it seemed to me that they had a long history of knowing each other too). Everything changes, and people and their relationships change. I guess I just hope that this change is positive for all parties involved.

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slightly off topic but did anyone else see Nick on HGTV's Kitchen Crashers?

I watched it last night. I love that shirt with the Rollo eagle he was wearing. I think it was funny how the show was trying to play up the tattoo vibe, like it was rebellious or even taboo, but Nick just comes across as a regular dude. but Kitchen looks amazing.

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I watched it last night. I love that shirt with the Rollo eagle he was wearing. I think it was funny how they were playing up the tattoo vibe, like it was rebellious or even taboo, pretty cheesy, but Kitchen looks amazing.

For a few seconds I thought he was actually going to tattoo the host at his kitchen table then I realized it was just a marker holder that looked like a machine.

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I wanted to address the forum as to not let speculation get to out of hand. I am actually amazed that anyone is concerned about me leaving Chicago Tattoo and the amount of support and well wishes i have received is very humbling. I want to thank everyone for reaching out. I spent ALOT of time at CTC ALOT! from the first time I walked in at 15 with Erik Gillespie and was promptly told to leave to the last 18years (almost half my life) I have been in awe of that place. In awe of the history, the stories, the people, the friends, the tattooing, the flash, the neighborhood. Everything was just amazing to me. I always wanted to be there. Always. I treated it as my own and most people didn't even think otherwise.

I have met some of my dearest fiends through there and through tattooing and I owe a lot of gratitude to the institution that I believe I helped build and to the owner Dale Grande. Like all people my needs started to change, my family started to grow and my career really started to get in a great groove. It seemed like the hardwork I had put it was paying off but there where issues that needed to be addressed at the shop that couldn't be resolved. I've sat on this decision for quite some time actually over a couple years. I've done a lot of soul searching and confided in my closest colleagues and friends and especially my wife on what to do and I came to the decision to leave Chicago Tattoo. I wanted to move on still in love with tattooing still in awe of the history and still amazed at 18 years of amazing times some great some not so great. I have a lot of things in the works. Nothing to crazy or unexpected but I can say that I will continue to stay to true to tattooing and what got me to where I am without tattooing I couldn't say where I'd be.

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Looks like Frank is out too. Big things must be happening in Chicago, really hoping for an update soon.

I don't think we will ever know what is really going on, as whatever it is will mostly likely stay between the people involved, but I will say it sucks that so many people have left in the last few months or even year for that matter. I wish the best for everyone and also I hope Chicago Tattoo Company finds some good tattooers that will help keep that shop what it has been.

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Dale will keep the shop going strong, for sure. Mike Dalton and David McNair are two of the most prolific and least talked-about tattooers on the scene today. Both have been at the shop for many, many years, and I sure doubt they'll be going anyplace soon. If you've never seen their work, you should definitely check it out.

As for the rest, I said it before, hang on to your hats! Nick's new shop will be opening fairly soon, and in the meantime, he is laying down excellent work per usual in guest-spots around town and out of town.

And he and Mario will have plenty of other talent with them.

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