Hold Fast Tattoo in Seaside is celebrating their nine-year anniversary this May, but Brandy Rea and Jennifer Knox have been tattoo artists in Clatsop County for years.
“I arrived in Clatsop County in October 1999,” the Oklahoma-born Rea said. “Tattooing was a natural for me; I majored in art in college.”
Rea and Knox met 20 years ago in a local tattoo shop. Long before they became business partners, the two became fast friends.
“I did my first professional tattoo in 1996,” Rea said. “It was a rose.”
Knox describes herself as the “dorky girl from California, always reading or doodling.” Both women enjoy interacting with clients to come up with the perfect work to indelibly mark their bodies.
“I enjoy people, although I am naturally an introvert,” Rea said.
Hold Fast Tattoo, at 611 Broadway St., is a large, wildly creative space. There is a 1,500-square-foot main lobby with high ceilings ideal for displaying artwork by local and regional artists. There’s even a movie screen.
Custom work is the studio’s main focus. Clients start the process by setting up a consultation with one of the three in-house artists. In addition to Rea and Knox, there is a male artist, Jeremiah Gingerbeard. A nonrefundable deposit starts your drawing; the artist will work with you on your piece until it is rendered just how you want it.
“We do photorealism, we do animal portraits, we do Americana, we do black and gray,” Rea said. “We love doing cover-ups.” She said when a client enters a tattoo studio, they’re not just buying a tattoo, they’re buying an experience and memories.
The name Hold Fast is an old sailor expression.
“Sailors would get the words ‘hold fast’ tattooed on their knuckles,” Rea said. “Meaning ‘don’t let go.’ It’s also a double entendre.”
She allowed that getting a tattoo isn’t a painless experience.
“It hurts, it feels like a cat scratch,” Rea said.
When asked if certain parts of the body are more painful to work on than others, she said it depends on the individual. Some areas of the body fade faster than others, such as fingers, or behind the ear. Also, very small tattoos don’t hold up as well as larger ones.
While the studio can handle walk-ins if an artist is available, appointments are recommended. To prepare for your appointment with the needle, it’s recommended being well hydrated. Eat an hour or two before your appointment and refrain from imbibing intoxicants for at least eight hours prior. The state of Oregon requires anyone getting a tattoo must be 18 or older and have a valid government-issued ID.
“Your tattoo process requires several steps,” Rea said. “Giving us time to work with you ensures what you get will be perfect.”For details about pricing and other pertinent matters, log on to holdfasttattoocompany.com or call 503-738-4055 to set up an appointment. Follow the shop on Instagram and Facebook.