“Living Canvas” by Rachel Johnson

Laura Marika is the owner of Mr. Shorty’s Tattoo Emporium, in Lexington, SC, which opened in 2006. Mr. Shorty’s focuses on building strong artist-client relationships that center around producing unique, personal, and beautiful art, which makes every tattoo appointment different. The artists at Mr. Shorty’s believe in creating pieces that speak to the souls of the individuals who wear them and in honoring the sanctity of human skin.

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Here, Laurna works on a back piece for returning customer, Jeremy Smith.

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Laurna Marika chats with potential new customer Chris Fowler about options to cover up an old tattoo with something more meaningful to him.

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Laurna Marika, a lifelong artist, free spirit, and traveler found a passion for tattooing late in her life. She decided to open this shop with her daughter to showcase beautiful artwork through tattooing.

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Gaia Marika, daughter of Laurna, committed her life-long career to tattooing after opening Mr. Shorty’s with her mother. Due to her husband’s job, Gaia has since left Columbia and now tattoos at a shop in Reno, NV. Gaia raffled off her last tattoo at Mr Shorty’s to her frequent customers, which was won by Billy Rogers.

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Billy Rogers won Gaia Marika’s last tattoo appointment, which awarded him a Deadpool tattoo in any location of his choosing. Rogers squeezes the shop bear while getting the tattoo onto his lower back.

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Mr. Shorty’s Tattoo Emporium creates custom tattoos for every client that comes through its doors. After meeting with their clients to discuss what they’re looking for, Laurna Marika and the other artists sketch up tattoo options before the client comes in for their appointment.

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Mike Sutton, the newest addition to the artist team at Mr. Shorty’s, specializes in blackwork and dotwork tattoos. For some clients like Ashley Velazquez who was getting her very first tattoo, he is trusted to stylize some of his original artwork to meet their particular wants and needs.

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Mike Sutton, a charismatic and personable artist, always builds deep relationships with his clients. He prioritizes making great tattoos, but never fails to share a laugh and memorable conversation with his clients.

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Mr. Shorty’s Tattoo Emporium sees customers of all paths and backgrounds walk through its doors. Courtney DeLaughter, a mother of two living in Lexington, SC, gets an old tattoo touched up by Mike Sutton after finishing her scheduled appointment.