Jeff the tattoo guy

Professors at Castleton University are not the only ones dishing out knowledge and skills in the small town of Castleton, Vermont. 

Local tattoo apprentice Jeff Adams is working his way through the challenging process of becoming a licensed tattoo artist and is now allowed to give silver dollar-sized tattoos at Electric Tattoo in Castleton Corners, Vermont.  Adams is learning the skill of tattooing from Anthony Patorti, a veteran tattoo artist. Adams has plenty of tattoos himself; some have a meaning of personal memories, heritage and some just are beautiful tattoos that please the eye.

As of Feb. 9, Adams had performed 18 tattoos on people, his first client being Alex Wavy. 

Wavy described his tattoo as “not a terrible experience” and said he trusted that Adams is “getting better and a cool local dude just trying to bust his hump.”

Wavy’s tattoo is an alien looking head in a grim reaper-style hood with the words “I come in peace” written underneath.

 Adams described the initial experience of giving a tattoo as “nerve-racking because it becomes a part of someone forever and I don’t want to fuck up or something like that, but once you get the grip of it, it feels much like drawing.”

The learning began in Whitehall, New York.  But the hours logged in New York did not count toward certification in Vermont.  According to the Alliance of Professional Tattooists,  an apprenticeship should last about three years.  But it takes the approval of the mentor before an apprentice may be licensed.

Adams is Patorti’s first apprentice.

 “He’s a good kid and we’ve known each other for a long time,” Patorti said of his protégé. 

Soon, with the state’s and Patorti’s blessings, Adams will be giving palm-sized tattoos and eventually bigger.

Adams himself has many attention-grabbing tattoos.  His personal favorite is of his cat, Columbus, all dressed up in a tuxedo with a top hat and a classy pipe.  Columbus has sentimental value, but not all tattoos have special meaning.

 Another is a detailed face tattoo that changes depending on his arm position. The tattoo appears to be a woman in makeup and lipstick with an unusual hairstyle, but if he flips his arm, it shows a different view where the face is a bearded man with a split tongue and crazed eyes. 

That one is a “rad tattoo that took a lot of time,” Adams said.

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