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Body artists
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Contrary to some public perceptions of tattoo parlors, Tiki Tattoo Studio offers a clean, sterile and spa-like atmosphere to all who come through its doors.

Shop owner and tattoo artist Beth Rockzmore said she has been happily surprised at how busy her shop has already become in its first month of business.

"It just took off really fast," Rockzmore said of her shop's warm reception from the community. "I think the reason we're so successful so fast is because we try to put the customer first."

Rockzmore said she puts the customers first by providing them clean private rooms sterilized just like a doctor's office in which to get their tattoos done and by working closely with them to find just the right tattoo.

"We try to have a spa-type environment," Rockzmore said from behind the counter of her airy tastefully decorated studio on Pace Street. "We cater to them. We always try to have everyone leave happy."

While Tiki Tattoo has a large stock of tattoo designs to choose from, Rockzmore said she has been surprised at how many people have come through the door wanting custom tattoos which form a large chunk of the shop's business.

After custom tattoos, Rockzmore said she sees many people coming into the shop wanting names, hearts, stars and butterfly tattoos.

With five years experience tattooing, Rockzmore is joined at Tiki Tattoo by fellow tattoo artist Mike Loveless who brings with him 17 years of experience, two apprentices and her husband Ricky Smith, who helps out behind the counter.

"We're a very close-knit tattoo family," Rockzmore said. "We have a lot of fun."

Added Tiki Tattoo apprentice Mike Leone, "People here are just easy to talk to."

Rockzmore described her style of tattooing as "new school" with thinner line work and bright, bold colors and described Loveless' style as more "old school." Between the two of them, Rockzmore said there aren't many ideas that they can't handle.

After an apprenticeship in Conyers and three years at a private appointment shop in Lilburn, Rockzmore said she decided to open up a shop in Covington because she had grown up in the area and liked the people but also because she was attracted to Newton County's strict EPA guidelines regarding tattoo parlors mandating two yearly visits as well as surprise inspections.

"I wanted to be somewhere there are guidelines," Rockzmore said adding that she makes it a point to keep Tiki Tattoo as sterile and clean as possible.

There is a $50 shop minimum on all tattoos, excepting monthly specials, said Rockzmore. Custom tattoos are usually more expensive than stock tattoos with a $120 an hour rate for particularly large and detailed tattoos.

Tiki Tattoo is currently featuring a special on name tattoos, with up to nine letters for only $40 during the month of July.

Tiki Tattoo has twice been featured on Inked Nation, a Web site that Rockzmore describes as the Myspace for tattoo artists.

"You have to have a serious amount of creativity," Leone said of making it in the tattoo business.

Added Rockzmore, "Everything about the industry is improving - making it easier to practice and to paint art on people's bodies."