Tattoo and Piercing Studio Raises Big Bucks for Local Animal Shelters
NOBLE SQUARE — Tattoos and piercings, they add up.
By owner Bob Jones' estimate, Insight Studios at 1062 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Noble Square, has donated "give or take, about $80,000" to seven Chicago animal rescue efforts in the last few years.
The nonprofit organization focuses on the care and placement of stray cats at its Uptown headquarters and Wicker Park outpost, 1629 N. Ashland Ave.
Jenny Schlueter, 39, director of development for Tree House, got her very first tattoo Saturday.
A Sanskrit word for "no harm, no violence," Ahimsa translates into kindness and nonviolence toward all living things, including animals.
The peaceful message is now permanently inked onto the inside of Schlueter's right wrist in the form of a $60 tat done by artist James Eastwood, who was one of six tattoo artists and two piercing artists, including Jones, working on a busy Saturday night.
"Let's just say it's not the most original, a lot of vegans have it, but I wanted it," the Humboldt Park resident, former journalist and nine-year Tree House employee said of her tattoo, which was wrapped in gauze and still healing.
Eastwood, 24, said he's been working the two-day weekend fundraisers since he joined Insight two years ago.
Earlier in the day Saturday, Eastwood put a cat's pawprint onto the shoulder blade of "an older woman" who he believed was also getting her first tattoo.
While it wasn't an exact replica of the client's cat's paw, Eastwood said other cat owners have come in for the fundraisers toting clay casts of paws, and a few have gone as far as inking the names of their cats onto their body.
"One woman last year, I did pawprints for all of her cats on her back," Eastwood recalled.
But it's not all about cats at Insight Studios.
On the third weekend of every month, Jones donates all proceeds from tattoos and piercings on Saturday and Sunday to seven animal organizations, including the Greater Chicagoland Ferret Rescue, a no-kill ferret shelter servicing Northeastern Illinois.
"We don't accept any appointments during these benefits, it's walk-in only. People are really cool about it. They're willing to wait when they know what their money is going for," Jones said.
For his part, it could be safe to say that Jones likes cats, specifically the only cat he owns, 8-year-old Indy, since he takes up one entire side of his business card, as well as most of his right calf, in a colorful tattoo done by artist Brian Buchak in 2009.
Jones, who keeps letters from the not-for-profit organizations he's aided logged under a section of his website called "Charity Work," said he started his efforts with the Anti-Cruelty Society in 2007 and gradually added other groups to the monthly third weekend roster.
"It was a snowball effect. Word got out about what we were doing, and people started calling. I did some research on the shelters and organizations and then decided who we were going to work with," Jones said.
As for why he does it, Jones said he "likes all animals" and wants to help good causes.
Insight Studios is open 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. No appointments are accepted during the two-day benefit; walk-ins only. Tree House's phone number is 773-342-4444.
Animal lovers can keep tabs on which organization Insight Studios will be raising funds for during the weekend of Feb. 15-16 by checking the studio's website about a week before the third weekend of the month, or by visiting the studio on Facebook, Jones said.