Head tattoo artist DJ works on tattooing a customer Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at Irezumi Tattoo Parlor in Peru. (Olivia Doak)
A tattoo parlor in and of itself is unique to Peru.
Co-owner Mike Lock, 22, opened Irezumi Tattoo, the first tattoo parlor Peru has seen in decades.
A Japanese pop culture theme, however, gives the parlor an even more unique atmosphere.
In the two months since it opened, Irezumi has been fully booked each day it’s been open. Lock said the Japanese pop culture theme sets his shop apart from other tattoo shops in the region.
“(The theme) is something all of us and the artists can agree on and enjoy,” Lock said. “It brings something new to the area when really the only thing that’s relatively close to Asian culture is restaurants. It brings in people who like getting tattoos … and people who just want to come in and check it out.”
Cat, one of Irezumi’s artists, works on a tattoo with customer Theresa Love at Irezumi Tattoo Parlor in Peru on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (Olivia Doak)
Despite already having a full-time job, rental properties, a clothing brand and working as a DJ, Lock said he wanted to add something else. Michael Wollack and Mike Pizano are the other two co-owners of Irezumi.
Wollack is Lock’s boss at his full-time job as a shipping manager in Princeton for Promier Products and handles many of the financial aspects of Irezumi. Pizano is the father of Mike’s best friend who died, and Lock said starting a tattoo parlor would’ve been something his friend would’ve loved, which is why Lock asked his dad to be a co-owner.
Lock met DJ, Irezumi’s head tattoo artist, while getting his own tattoos for the first time at age 20. Lock and DJ became friends and talked about opening their own tattoo parlor, until they decided to turn their talk into fruition.
Each tattoo artist specializes in their own personal style and brings their own unique skill set. Customers are paired with an artist based on their vision for their tattoo and who’s the best fit to execute it.
“They’re all good at everything,” Lock said. “They all customize, draw, they’re legit artists.”
Because of the need for city certificates, Lock went to the city of Peru for approval of the new tattoo shop. Mayor Ken Kolowski said he can’t remember the last time there was a tattoo parlor in Peru, and said the city had to draft a new ordinance for it.
A photo of Irezumi’s “sticker wall” on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Each customer signs and places a sticker on the wall to celebrate their new tattoo. (Olivia Doak)
Lock said Irezumi’s atmosphere is focused on making people feel comfortable, especially because he said a lot of people come in for their first tattoo. He also said pricing is done per tattoo instead of per hour compared to other shops.
Irezumi recently raised $1,250 for a suicide awareness fundraiser in September.
“Our shop is very local, we have a nice atmosphere and all our artists do quality work and can bring you any type of tattoo you’d like,” Lock said. “Everyone is genuine, they have a lot of experience under their belt. And we have snacks, Japanese snacks.”
Irezumi Tattoo Parlor is located in Suite 199 in the Westclox building, 400 Fifth St. in Peru. For more information, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IrezumiParlor or call 815-780-1960.
Copyright © 2022 Shaw Local News Network
Copyright © 2022 Shaw Local News Network


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