Ink Evolution – Flathead Beacon

For roughly three years, Wade Byrd hung out on the couches of various tattoo shops in the Flathead Valley, watching his mentors closely as they designed and worked on clients, creating permanent works of body art with ink.

After much persistence and dedication, Byrd finally earned a spot in the unorthodox apprenticeship program of the tattoo industry, quickly progressing to open his own shop, Artifaction Tattoo Studio, in Kalispell in 2017.

I remember I woke up one day in my apprenticeship and realized, Ive tattooed every day for six months straight,' Byrd said.

Byrds downtown shops offers a larger storefront and a better location that can accommodate an ideal number of employees, but Byrd says he had a hard time finding a space before securing the Second Street East spot, with many landlords who wouldnt allow a tattoo shop.

I knew I wanted to get back to a bigger downtown location, he said. And pick up where my dream left off.

Byrd currently has an artist and an apprentice working at the shop, Emilio Crispin and Emily Messerschmidt. Byrd recruited Messerschmidt over the summer while she was visiting from the East Coast and calls her a name to remember, as she quickly progresses.

A third artist, Mike Woods, is also on the way as he relocates from Texas. Woods was a guest artist at Byrds shop earlier this month, and soon afterward he decided to leave his 10-artist shop in Austin to work for Byrd.

Byrd says his background in bartending and construction work helped shape his work ethic for his tattoo artist career, and his dedication has helped him progress.

I never took anything for granted, Byrd said. I was always the hardest worker in the room and I will not let anyone work harder than me.

For more information, visit or look Byrd up on Instagram.

Originally posted here:

Ink Evolution - Flathead Beacon

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