By JEFF KAUFFMAN
The Daily Times of Salisbury
FENWICK ISLAND, Md. (AP) — Once considered a radical branding that would make a parent cringe at the sight, tattoo prevalence has grown tremendously through the years.
Since gaining in popularity and relative social acceptance, tattoos have turned to more of an approachable form of self-expression than a violation to the skin.
Although he claims his craft is continuously being honed, many customers will testify that artist Todd “Noble” Holloway has mastered it.
The Salisbury native and graphic design graduate from University of Maryland Baltimore County has been tattooing for more than 20 years.
“I did my first tattoo on a friend in Seattle in 1992,” he said. “I decided to move back to the area here and started an impromptu apprenticeship that lasted for about six months.
“I didn’t really know the realm of tattooing until I started, but once I really got into, it I found that it’s all-encompassing, and from there I focused on how to get better at it and continuously hone my skill,” Holloway said.
In 1997, he opened a tattoo parlor of his own, Independent Tattoo located in Selbyville, where he worked until he sold his portion of the business in 2007, he said.
From there, Holloway opened Black Cobra Tattoo in Salisbury, which he still owns today with a few close friends and fellow tattoo artists.
His most recent business venture came in 2010 when he opened the doors to Right Coast Tattoo in Fenwick Island.
Throughout the years, Holloway’s notoriety has grown much bigger than he ever expected.
“I had no idea you could reach that kind of level of notoriety in tattooing,” he said. “It was never a goal.”
However, he said, the success came with hard work and, just like any craft, there’s no shortcut to getting good at it.
Holloway’s popularity continues to grow past the local and even national levels, with customers traveling from cities along the Eastern Seaboard, California and even parts of Europe.
Recently, Holloway headed to international tattoo conventions in Belgium and Paris. In the past, he’s visited Denmark, Germany, Spain, England, Switzerland and Italy for both projects and expos.
Delaware resident and fishing aficionado Phill Blush chose to work with Holloway for a nautical-inspired full sleeve tattoo on his right arm, which is nearly complete and should be finished by early summer.
Blush drew inspiration from his grandfather’s tales of time spent in the Navy, accompanied by photographs of sailors covered in tattoos.
“I fell in love with the old style of thick lines and deep, bright colors,” he said. “I was hooked on the art at a young age and finally started getting my own last year thanks to Todd.”
“I went with him because of his sheer skill, knowledge and experience with traditional tattoo styles,” Blush said. “He also has a way with planning where certain tattoos should go and what will work best with specific artwork.”
Holloway said he draws interest from an array of artists in multiple types of mediums.
“Whether it be a comic book artist, illustration artist, oil paintings — whatever triggers my interest, that’s usually what I draw,” he said.
Along with Holloway, Right Coast Tattoo offers the skill of Jeff Brown and Sean C. Rhodes.
Information from: The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md., http://www.delmarvanow.com/
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)