Duo puts passion to work at new piercing, tattoo shop
By DEREK THOMPSON
By DEREK THOMPSON
For Justin Wenrich, body modification is a way of life.
The longtime piercing and tattoo enthusiast has several pieces of art on his body, including tattoos and nose piercings.
His passion for piercings prompted him to open Prick the Skin, a piercing parlor at 708 N. Main St. in Garden City.
The shop is home to Liquid Inferno, a tattoo business run by longtime artist and friend Jason Greenfield.
The two met in 1997 when Wenrich, a former engineer of 14 years, was working in Frontenac and decided to get a tattoo on his birthday. The two clicked, and have been working together off and on since.
"We've been friends, working different places here and there," Wenrich said. "We worked in Sacramento for a while. My father passed away, and he lived in Kismet up by Liberal, and that's what brought me back here."
After he returned to Liberal, he set up shop there, eventually expanding Prick the Skin to Dodge City.
"The growth in Liberal's not real big. ... You don't get a lot of people around there," Wenrich said. "Garden City always seemed like it's been a growing place. They've actually accepted us a lot better."
Prick the Skin/Liquid Inferno is the only tattoo parlor in town, a fact Wenrich attributes to a local misconception about the industry.
"The only reason there isn't (more tattoo shops) is that a lot of people think that it's illegal. It's not, you just have to be licensed by the state. And most people who have tried, haven't been licensed by the state," he said.
According to Garden City zoning regulations, tattoo and massage facilities licensed with the Kansas Department of Cosmetology are permitted within office and service business districts.
Greenfield said that Garden City is one of the "easiest cities" they've opened in, with no special conditional permit dues or other fees.
The Garden City Prick the Skin opened on May 1, a transition from the Liberal shop that is now closed.
"They've been really, really welcoming of a legit tattoo and piercing facility," Wenrich said of Garden City.
Wenrich, an engineer of 14 years who ran an electronics company in Dodge City before transitioning to body modification, owns Prick the Skin, along with his wife, Michelle. He got into piercing when the electronics business tapered off. When Greenfield approached him about an apprenticeship, he switched career paths toward piercings.
Wenrich's piercing services cover a range of options, including: lips, naval, eyebrows, single-point piercings and even suspensions, when people hang from hooks by their back.
"We can't charge or anything for doing it; it's got to be a demonstration," Wenrich said. "I was thinking about doing one here this winter just to kind of get things bopping or something."
Walking into the shop, customers are greeted with a plethora of artistic interpretations adorning the walls. Thirty-four-year-old Greenfield has been tattooing professionally since he was 18. In that time, he's garnered many awards for his body art, which are on display among the hundreds of handcrafted pieces of body art.
Wenrich, who has been licensed as a piercer for eight years, said Prick the Skin/Liquid Inferno places a priority not only on safety, but also customer service — an aspect not always associated with the body modification industry, he said.
"Customer service is everything," he said, adding that many people in the industry have "big heads."
"They call it the rock star attitude," Greenfield said.
"There's no reason for it because you'll lose customers for it," Wenrich said.
For more information on Prick the Skin/Liquid Inferno, call 275-8800.