Walking Art Tattoos was founded in 1998 by Mike Medrano. He was inspired by his love of art. Originally located in the northwest side of Chicago, Mike moved to the Minocqua a few years ago and has expanded TWICE!
Michael Medrano Sr.- Owner/artist
“As far back as I could remember I’d like to draw. When I was about 8 years old I went into our bathroom, and began to graffiti my brothers name on the wall in hidden places. I thought everyone would think it was him who wrote it and I would get off the hook. Him being five years my senior, Mom didn’t fall of it. She knew right away it was I who took a number 2 pencil and found unusual small places to write “Joe.” My favorite spot was on the wall behind the toilet paper that was dangling on the back underside of the roll. I didn’t stop writing on the walls in the bathroom instead I began writing on the underside of the coffee table. I got a clear message from dear old Mom and took my creativity outside. Since we were living in a neighborhood where graffiti covered almost all the garages down the alley, I figured nobody would care if I added a little myself. I began doing what my friends and I started to call “decorating.”
As for tattooing, again, my brother Joey influenced me. One day, sometime around 1975 he came home with some India ink, tied some thread around the tip and tattooed himself on the hand. I followed his lead and did the same. Before you knew it I was tattooing all of my friends. Fast forward, to real machines and a love for the art. I stopped doing tattoos sometime around 1985, became a chef and worked in the hospitality field since. There is where I learned my customer service skills. I started tattooing again in 1998.
I believe if we want this art to blossom and be recognized by society as a whole as an art, and let the old stereotypical tattoo taboos die we must advance in our customer service skills. We must treat this like an art and our customers as messengers for our art. Many times I have visited tattoo shop hang outs, artists that pay little or no attention to the customer and artists who believe they are doing the customer a favor by tattooing them.
The industry has grown leaps and bounds since the eighties but there is still room for growth. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of clean customer service oriented shops and ours is one of them.
So I made it my goal to provide real customer service. I will not make promises I cannot keep. And if for some reason I cannot fulfill a promise I will contact the customer ASAP and communicate the timeline change. I make every effort to provide non-rushed, caring, attentive service. I do not tattoo only for the money, I do not rush my clients and that is why repeat and referred clients are the foundation of my business.”
Dave – apprentice
“Hi everyone! About a year and a half ago I walked into Walking Art Tattoos for the first time. I have been getting tattoos for nearly 20 years, but after meeting Mike, my love for (and addiction to) body art really took off. I have always been a big supporter of no-holds-barred-self-expression, and the idea of telling your personal story upon your very own human canvas means a lot to me.
Before moving up to Minocqua during the summer of 2011, I grew up in the Milwaukee area. I then went to school at UW-Madison, but soon moved to Colorado in order to run marathons, play in the mountains, and study literature. After receiving my degree from the University of Colorado I moved back to Wisconsin in order to be closer to family. I now find myself amid the pristine lakes, the beautiful trees, and the wonderful wildlife of the Northwoods. So here I am, ready to learn something new and extremely excited to be a part of this great shop. Hope to see you all soon!”