Inking out an existence
Tim Holland and Café Tat2
I know we’ve all been asking ourselves the same question: Where can I get a great latté, view art, listen to comedians and get a tattoo, all at the same time? Tim Holland, owner of the newly opened Café Tat2, is giving Renoites an answer to this question.
Holland, who has been a tattoo artist working in Reno for the past 12 years, says the atmosphere of tattoo parlors limits their patrons. With clean-cut reddish-blonde hair and a trim mustache, Holland says many people are surprised to find out he has tattoos that sleeve his arms—that he doesn’t look like the type. He is the type, however, and he believes more people would be the type if they had a place to go that was classier and more inviting, something the Reno area has been missing.
“I want to create a place I want to be in,” Holland says. His easy posture and attitude suggest he would be comfortable almost anywhere, but that comfort seems especially pronounced as he leans back on the empty glossy wooden stage in the café. The only thing that upsets his relaxation is his excitement about what he’s creating around him: a mellow environment where people can come to talk, listen to music and, if the feeling strikes them, get a tattoo.
“This isn’t going to be a regular tattoo parlor. I want to get away from that tattoo parlor look,” Holland says. The flash-art tattoo samples, instead of covering the walls, have all been put into a computer, along with the tattoo artists’ portfolios for the customers to browse. The entry portion of the café/parlor is a clean, white-walled space for paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography from local artists. Currently, there are some mural-sized paintings on the walls, as well as some nipple-like sculptures. Holland is looking for more art.
The two tattoo stations are a separate environment from the rest of the café—soundproofed, with their own ventilation systems and an intercom system. Each station is walled off by glass so that onlookers can watch the tattoo process from outside the room. However, for those who want privacy while getting inked, they can turn on the water, and bubbles will cover the glass.
The main area of the café is light and roomy, furnished with cushions and couches. The stage sticks out with its red-lit waterfalls, and fountains run around it like a moat.
“I don’t want to create another dive bar,” Holland says. “Reno has enough of those.”
Holland’s goal is to make everything top of the line, from espresso to tattoos. The parlor reflects his personal flavor, while also catering toward every individual who walks through the doors. He encourages patrons to bring their own music to listen to while getting a tattoo, or to request certain food items that can be kept in the cooler and served up later. He also wants artists of all media and creeds to feel open to experiment on his walls and the stage, which he hopes to keep active every night with music, performance art and comedy.
“I don’t care if you do cockroach art," he says. "If you want to get up [on stage] and do mime, I’ll let you. … I want artists from every walk."