Perfectly placed within an underground hillside, it is easy to be swept away from the outside world at Bonedale Tattoo’s new studio space located at 818 Industry Pl.
Flanked by massive boulders and encircled with an impressive steel culvert, the studio’s entrance gives off the impression of an underground lair; however once inside your senses are warped as you are greeted by a bright and airy environment with floor-to-ceiling windows, nearby birds chirping, and freshly renovated wood floors and accents.
If anything, the studio more so resembles a laid-back spa retreat more than your standard tattoo parlour.
Having opened their new studio to the public on May 4, Bonedale Tattoo co-owners Brett Haynes and Conor Ward believe they have finally found the ideal location to support their business.
“We’re both very goofy, light-hearted people,” Ward said. “When we collaborated to get the shop going we started moving little steps forward at a time to make sure things continued to go well, and they did! Now we’re in the best shop that we’ve had so far, and I think we’re going to be here for a while.”
Just over two years ago, a mutual friend connected the two entrepreneurs. At the time, Haynes was living in Denver and Ward was in the midst of another Carbondale business venture called the Skate Ship.
In a single conversation via phone, the two quickly realized that their complementary styles could help them flourish in the body art industry.
“I think a lot of our synergy comes from being skateboarders, and having that frame of culture to build our relationship off of,” Haynes said. “Also, our art is very quirky and strange.”
Taking one look at their portfolios, it is easy to see why they would describe their art as quirky.
Drawn to the unexpected, the guys both relish being swept away within the moment while designing their work.
“There are a lot of times where Conor and I are working on our designs and we just start laughing at ourselves because it’s so weird and it just plopped out,” Haynes said.
“It’s actually one of my favorite moments,” Ward chimed in. “I’ve made myself audibly laugh from drawing. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve always drawn, because I’m just playing with my own brain basically.”
Inspired by American-traditional aesthetics, Haynes elegantly balances light and dark themes with a psychedelic twist; whereas Ward finds satisfaction in taking natural objects and evolving them to wherever his hand and mind see fit.
Together they have created a market for illustrative surrealism that has seamlessly integrated within the Carbondale community.
“Carbondale is a great town for the arts, and [tattooing] is a unique art form,” Haynes said. “For someone to choose us to put a tattoo on their body is such an honor because they are a walking canvas and it’s there forever. That right there is huge community support because it’s like my heart walking around town.”
Prior to COVID-19, Bonedale Tattoo played host to multiple communal gatherings; from anniversary parties to First Friday events their previous studio was packed with supporters.
During the state closure, their studio at SAW was closed down, and the guys used it as an opportunity to step back and refresh. While Haynes produced music, Ward found time to connect with the outdoors, and together they reimagined what their new studio could look like.
Now, under current state regulations, Bonedale Tattoo is open and operating, but under strict regulations.
“As much as we focus on art and creativity, our number one has always been health and cleanliness,” Ward said. “If it’s not a clean tattoo it is not worth doing. That being said, with the new implementations, we have that little bit extra to focus on.”
Per Colorado guidelines, the guys are tattooing separately and only allowing one person into the studio at a time. Additionally, they are requiring all clients to wear masks, to sanitize regularly, and to take and record their temperature prior to entering.
Looking toward the future, they are hopeful that community gatherings can happen again as soon as it is safe on their new outdoor patio — but as we all know, life is not linear, and the guys are prepared in the event of another state closure.
In the meantime, Haynes and Ward will continue to follow their flow and playfully conjure up the unexpected deep within their wormhole oasis.
Access to the art
Using social media as a way to showcase their portfolios, Brett Haynes and Conor Ward of Bonedale Tattoo have been able to bring their artwork into the comfort of their clients’ homes. Organically growing via word of mouth and “guerilla marketing”, Haynes and Ward have easily filled bookings months in advance.
On Instagram, you can find the guys’ fun and unique designs with personal twists on their individual accounts. To see a more collaborative flow, the guys also created a joint account for clients to access.
If you are ready to dive into the world of tattoo culture, or eager to bring your next design to life, then head on over to bonedaletattoostudio.com for bookings, or check out @bonedaletattoo on Instagram.
For personal Instagram accounts:
Brett Haynes @grimnymph
Conor Ward @cnrward