Infinite Art leaves a lasting impression
In 1994, Facebook was still a decade away. Cell phones and the internet were novel ideas. And the opportunities for a young tattoo artist looking to get his entrepreneurial start were dismally slim. But that’s the year Brian “Monk” Taylor, along with co-founder Joseph Kondalski, opened Infinite Art Tattoo Studio at 3930 Secor Road. On November 4, the studio will celebrate its 25th anniversary. And despite having grown exponentially in talent and square footage, the business continues to thrive in the same location, while so many others have come and gone.
Taylor started tattooing out of his home in East Toledo in his early 20s, doing pieces for friends and acquaintances. He and Kondalski met via mutual friends, and formed the speed-metal band, Fatal Touch (author’s note: a quick YouTube search is highly recommended). After some brief work at a shop in East Toledo, Taylor decided to strike out on his own, but finding a place to land turned out to be much harder than it seemed. Specifically, he had difficulty finding a building for rent; not just because of startup costs, but because it was 1994, and tattoos were still fairly taboo.
“I had the idea to move to West Toledo because I thought, it’s more densely populated, and we might get more business,” Taylor explained. “What I didn’t realize was, a lot of [owners] weren’t going to rent to us because we were a tattoo shop. It was the early 90’s, and I think people thought, ‘You guys are obviously trash, and from prison,’ or whatever. They just wouldn’t do it.”
Kondalski and Taylor eventually found the current Secor Road location, at that time a 1200-square-foot space, where they quickly got to work. Kondalski, then as now, describes his role as the “back office,” largely managing the financials and bookkeeping, while Monk directs and manages personnel, maintaining the shop’s status quo that has propelled the studio to where it is today.
‘No dumb questions’
While hard work and word of mouth are definitely success factors, both Taylor and Kondalski emphasized that the main reason for their success is the artists they employ, and their royal treatment of clients. “We treat people like we would want to be treated,” Taylor said. “There’s no dumb questions; we listen to what [clients] say.”
The shop currently has 13 tattoo artists, many of whom have 20 or more years of tattooing experience. The shop and several of its artists have received national recognition, appearing on a range of popular media from TLC’s “Miami Ink” to Tattoo Magazine and NPR. The owners noted how the landscape on Secor Road has changed with the years, as other businesses opened and closed. IA has certainly had its fair share of obstacles, too, like the time an antique fire truck crashed into their front windows in the summer of 2017, causing significant damage (luckily, nobody was hurt).
“The bottom line is, our success is because of our people. Customers don’t come to see me,” Kondalski said. “They come to see our artists. Without the artists, we would not be here.”
Infinite Art Tattoo Studio is located at 3930 Secor Road, Toledo.
(419) 292-1990 for appointments | iatattoo.com