In 1997, Bugaboo Tattoo became Hammond, Indiana’s first tattoo studio. They operated on Calumet Avenue for four years before moving to their current and permanent location on Kennedy Avenue in Hammond. With dedication, education, and commitment to the art, Bugaboo Tattoo has quickly become recognized as one of the premier studios in Northwest Indiana, and the Chicagoland area, producing many award-winning tattoos year after year.
Don Frey, owner of Bugaboo Tattoo, has been tattooing since 1991. He graduated from the Academy of Art and says it is this background, one he shares with his fellow artists at Bugaboo Tattoo that sets the business apart. “The thing that makes our shop different is these are professional artists, not just tattooists. Customers who come into our shop get a tattoo that our artists design just for them. We’re not an off-the-wall shop,” says Frey. “We really try to strive for customer service, being prepared, and being on time. This business is all about service,” he says.
Other artists at Bugaboo Tattoo include Aaron Peters who is a native of Griffith, also a graduate of the American Academy of Art; Jimmy Choss, a ten-year-tattooist who started with Frey in 1997 before working at Sunset Strip Tattoo in California and South Carolina, when he returned home for Frey’s shop two years ago; Kate Carillo who studied art and has been with Frey as a piercing artist for four years, moving up to tattoo artist; and Becky Lawrence, full-time piercer.
Frey says he prides himself on running a super clean, very professional establishment. “We don’t tolerate a rock-star attitude. This isn’t a party shop, it’s a business,” he says. So Frey insists for the comfort and health of Bugaboo Tattoo’s artists and patrons, no smoking or alcohol is permitted on the premises. The studio features three private tattoo rooms and a piercing studio. The atmosphere is relaxed yet professional with a staff that is always available to help clients with their questions and needs. Because of the graphic nature of their work, no one under 16 is permitted on the premises.
Bugaboo Tattoo’s artists each have their own specialty, and Frey says he has purposely assembled a group with diverse talents to meet every client’s need. “We all bring something different. Aaron Peters and I specialize in portraits and realistic art, Jimmy Choss works best with fantasy and color, and Kate is great with design-heavy tattoos, like florals and scroll work,” Frey says.
Bugaboo Tattoo has an established reputation for outstanding art in Northwest Indiana and the region. They have won best tattoo at tattoo conventions in Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis, so let them work for you.