IW has new place to get inked

Published 9:01 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A tattoo artist with decades of experience opened a new tattoo shop this week for clients.

Davy Sheets opened Primal Tattoo on Carrollton Boulevard with his friend and co-owner James Plessinger on Monday. Sheets has already received a dozen clients as of Wednesday as the only tattoo shop in Isle of Wight County, he said.

Hundreds of pictures featuring his work are on the Primal Tattoo Facebook page, which has received more than 600 likes as of Wednesday.

Email newsletter signup

“He’s probably the best artist that I’ve personally seen, and I’ve been to tattoo conventions,” Plessinger said.

Sheets began his career in 1996 with an apprenticeship at Army-Navy Tattoo in Yorktown. His 21-year career has taken him to shops in Virginia Beach, Hampton and even Fort Myers, Fla.

He worked at Folk City in Suffolk from 2014 until his last shift on Sunday, the night before he opened his doors on Carrollton Boulevard.

“I worked there ‘til that night,” Sheets said. “The owners there were amazingly cool with me doing this. I’ve been talking about doing it for years. I’ve always wanted to try it, and I figured I’m not getting any younger.”

Among his clientele are Isle of Wight County employees and firefighters throughout Hampton Roads. Plessinger, a retired senior paramedic hazmat specialist from the Newport News Fire Department and active Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department volunteer, has referred colleagues, friends and family to Sheets for years.

They come partly for the military and first responder discount, but mainly for his attention to detail when clients explain their unique design ideas.

“I try to figure out a way to make it fit the body part so it flows with their body,” Sheets said. “It’s got to have movement to it.”

Suffolk resident Morgan Burton came to his new location on Wednesday for a follow-up appointment to the initial work she received from him at Folk City. The in-progress black and yellow snake on her right arm was detailed with vivid inking.

“This is the definitely the most detailed thing I’ve gotten,” said Burton, who’s had tattoos for six years. “He has nailed exactly what I wanted so far. I love it.”

Sheets lives in Gates County, N.C., with his wife, Amanda, an animal care technician at the Portsmouth Humane Society. The animal-loving couple live with four chickens, three dogs, two horses and a cat.

Sheets said he and his partner chose 800 square feet of Carrollton Boulevard space for the proximity to Smithfield, Newport News, and Suffolk, and for the growth of Carrollton itself.

“They’re throwing up lots of condos up here, and new stores every couple of weeks,” he said. “I just feel like it’s going to be a good spot as soon as people start figuring out we’re here.”

Primal Tattoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visit facebook.com/davysheetsart for more information.