Second 2 None
8125A Moffet Road
Semmes AL 36575
Jarod Grant is a collector. I tried several times and used several different interview techniques to see if Jarod would say something that would reveal that he does what he does only for the money, but when he said “I’m a collector,” I finally understood that he is heart, body and soul into the art and tradition of tattoing.
Jarod collects tattoos. When asked how many tattoos he had collected, his answer was not in the number of tattoos, but in the approximate number of hours required to be the canvas for other tattoo artists – in Jarod’s case, over 120 hours. Jarod also happens to be the owner of a tattoo business, Second 2 None, at 8125A Moffet Road in Semmes and is a tattoo artist with over 16 years of experience with most of those 16 years in Tennessee having been in our area for only about 6 months.
“I was fortunate enough to have been trained by an older gentleman with a passion for the art of tattooing,” he told me when I asked how he got into the business of tattooing. “I had an interest in the history and tradition of tattooing from the beginning and when another friend recognized that interest he suggested I accept his offer of introducting me to the older guy because of our common interest in the history and tradition of tattooing.”
“Tattooing for a living is not for everybody. It takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication,” Jarod said when I asked why he put art on skin instead of canvas. “I am not really into just the art side of it, I just enjoy the act of tattooing and being part of the long tradition of tattoing – and I guess my personality gives me an inclination to work with people.”
If you want to get Jarod kind of riled up and really talking, ask him about the local tattoo atmosphere in the Semmes area. With rabid sincerity, Jarod explained in length his concern for unlicensed and unregulated tattooing in the Semmes area – what he called “kitchen table” tattoos. With obvious knowledge of his craft, he extolled the dangers of getting tattoos at “the kitchen table.” He explained that when customers let “cheap outweigh safety” they risk contacting hepatitis, staph infefections and possibly some major scarring. Thinking this might be Jarod’s way of bad-mouthing the competition, I pressed on.
“The Mobile County Health Department is responsible for monitoring the tattooing businesses but they can only do so much. They only have just a couple of inspectors and they have to check all the restaurants and just about every other health concern in the county. They’re stretched to the limit already so we can’t really expect them to have the time to seek out the people doing tattooing at their kitchen table.”
Up on a rack close to where I observed Jarod’s work, I noticed a rack of blue and white cellophane envelopes that reminded me of doctors’ offices and hospitals and I said that to Jarod. “That’s what I’m talking about. There are sterilzation procedures and specific tools and requirements that must be followed to insure safety. I have to keep sterilization records and contact information and all of my procedures have to be verified as proper and safe by a third party. What you see there is sterile equipment I order from licensed and verified suppliers.”
When I asked about the tool he was holding in his hand and using to apply a tattoo to his client’s arm, which was relaxing and listening to tunes on his phone by the way, he gave me a bit of history of tattoing tools and equipment. “A lot of people don’t realize there’s a lot more going on than just a needle and ink. There are variations in techniques and procedures and equipment. There’s special equipment that give different results. The settings of the equipment and it’s use greatly influence the results.”
In addition to his skills as a tattoo artist, Jarod has some pretty good skills as a host. There is evidently no shortage of people looking for tattoos. While fielding my questions, Jarod expertly orchestrated the arrival of two prior clients – evidently collectors; one new client seeking consultation on a tattoo idea, one phone caller seeking an appointment and another customer just hanging out. No appointments are available until after Tuesday of next week but if you’re looking for a tattoo, or an education on the business, you can call Jarod at 251-656-9336 or visit at 8125 Moffet Road in Semmes. That’s about 1/2 mile west of the Semmes Walmart on Highway 98. Open Monday to Saturday, 2:00pm to 9:00pm.