In contrast to the antique stores in the quiet, historic town of Occoquan, the tattoo parlor upstairs on 201 Union Street is a very modern waiting room with skateboards and awards covering the walls, alternative music and lively chatter.
True Love Always Tattoo has only been around for a few weeks, but has already attracted a big following.
“It started way beyond expectation,” said owner and tattoo artist David Bell.
He credits a loyal clientele and word of mouth as news has traveled quickly to excited young people in the area. Opening without any advertising, the parlor is already booked a month in advance, leaving space for first time clients.
Originally from Los Angeles, tattoo artists David Bell and Jason Amadio both came to northern Virginia several years ago. They only knew of each other in California, but came to work together in Virginia. Occoquan attracted both of them, due to its historic charm and restful ambiance.
“The only redeeming quality of northern Virginia is Occoquan,” said Amadio. “I love the slower pace of life here.”
Two months ago, David’s wife and co-owner, Nicola Bell, found the location online and they came to check it out.
“We never thought they would allow a tattoo shop in historic Occoquan, but we swung by City Hall to ask about it and they told us it was good to go,“ said David Bell. “We have been welcomed with open arms. The mayor stopped by and hung out for awhile and a local cop stops by often to hang out.”
Many local businesses have been thanking them for coming in, adding a new dynamic to Occoquan. “It’s a good way to keep the town alive and keep bringing in new business,” said Bell.
True Love Always Tattoo aspires to become a destination to decorate Northern Virginia with the best tattoos possible. Bell seeks to create a visually appealing modern gallery with “almost spa like” qualities to help people relax and kick back.
With years of experience, Bell and Amadio know a wide variety of tattoo styles. While Bell specializes in black and gray, Japanese lettering and color realism, Amadio’s work emphasizes American, traditional, Japanese, and general color work. When a customer has a rough idea or picture of what they would like, Bell and Amadio take the time to make it the customer's own.
“We fully believe that every tattoo should be one of a kind,” Bell said.
True Love Always Tattoo is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.