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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

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In Marketplace

Saints and Sinners: Ken Faught and Mallory Klunk. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

In Marketplace

The shop is comfortable and colorful. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

In Marketplace

These guys pull in a lot of business. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

In Marketplace

"All saints have a past and all sinners have a future." (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

Saints and Sinners provide quality tattoos for the masses


Two-and-a-half years ago, Ken Faught opened Saints and Sinners, a tattoo and piercing shop at 1225 E. Brady St. This is Faught's third tattoo shop and, it seems, it has the charm.

Faught's first two shops were in Illinois and, basically, these businesses taught him what he didn't want in a tattoo shop.

Faught opened the first place as an investment, but once he was in the environment, he realized he wanted to learn the art form, too. His staff, however, wasn't supportive of the idea. They didn't think he could master drawing and tattoo artistry as an adult.

"I never drew as a kid," says Faught, 36. "But I'm one to take the hard road. I got to where I could hold my own (with tattooing) and I found a new crew who really helped me progress."

Faught opened a second shop in another Illinois town. Eventually, he decided he wanted to spend all of his time tattooing, not running a business, so he closed the second shop to focus solely on developing his skills. He went to work at shops in Illinois, Florida, North Carolina and Eye of the Dragon in Racine.

After 14 years, he decided he was ready to own a shop again and was very clear on what he wanted and what he didn't.

"I wanted to drop the attitudes," he says. "I wanted to open a place where anyone, from all walks of life, could be comfortable in a room together."

Faught says he picked the name after considering pages and pages of other possibilities because "all saints have a past and all sinners have a future." This ties into his mission for his shop: a place without judgement, where everyone is welcome.

These days, Faught says there are fewer trends in tattoo imagery. Whereas 10 years ago, arm bands and tribals were popular, today it's more about where one puts their tattoo – and ribs are very popular.

Faught says he doesn't have a particular personal style of tattooing. Instead, his style is determined by the the customer.

"If you have a 'style' you're backing yourself into a corner. It's about being able to do everything for anyone who walks through the door," says Faught. "We want to give them a better tattoo than they thought they'd get."

There is not any flash (tattoo options) on the wall at Saints and Sinners, because Faught – and full-time tattoo artist Mallory Klunk – prefer to create original art for their customers. But that doesn't mean they won't give a tattoo of something that's brought in by a customer.

"Nothing is beneath us," says Faught. "All tattoos are equally as important. Who am I to judge?"

Klunk, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, started tattooing when she was 16 years old. She is a versatile artist whose work ranges from extremely detailed – including portraits – to sharp and simple.

"I like custom work, but I can replicate anything someone has seen," says Klunk.

When Faught's not tattooing, he's doing one of his many hobbies, which include building cars and motorcycles. He also describes himself as a "geek" who collects masks. Hence, Saints and Sinners' walls are lined with masks, including Darth Vader, the Green Goblin, Predator, Rocketeer, Jason, Michael Myers and more.

Saints and Sinners currently has two apprentices. An apprenticeship for tattoo artists does not last a certain amount of time. Faught says they are ready when they are ready, and that both talent and drive are needed to move on.

When asked which tattoos that he's given stand out in his mind the most, Faught says it's the people who stand out, not the art. Recently, he tattooed a phoenix on the back of a woman who beat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Another woman he clearly remembers came in to get an American flag and the words "My hero" in honor of her son who served two years in Iraq and returned with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Faught has also given free survivor tattoos to women who beat breast cancer.

"These are the tattoos that really mean something to me," he says. "But no tattoo is too big or too small or too stupid. We welcome everybody."


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