Josh Arment Tattoo Artist Interview - Last Sparrow Tattoo

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Interview with Aloha Monkey Piercer Tara Boyd

Tara has years of experience piercing, and her enthusiasm for the trade shines through in all aspects of her conduct. Her bedside manner and knowledge provides the best experience for clients of all ages. Tara's passion for education leaves all of her clientele with the knowledge needed to properly care for their new piercing and ensures a successful healing process. Whether you've had numerous piercings or if it's your first -Tara's expertise will put any client at ease. Stop by and meet her, you're guaranteed to leave with a smile and hopefully something sparkly!

Storied tattoo shop stakes claim in Burnsville

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Burnsville tattoo-shop owner Josh Arment was a little overcome when friends, city officials and Chamber of Commerce members came out April 26 to help him cut the ribbon on his new building.

The lineage of two world-famous tattoo artists runs through his shop, the Aloha Monkey. Its insignia proclaims Arment and his seven artists “Keepers of the Flame” and “Protectors of Tradition.”

After nearly two decades occupying rented space in a Nicollet Avenue strip mall, Arment staked his claim by buying and renovating an abandoned gas station next door. On April 26, the community helped him celebrate.

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20th Anniversary Weekend

The Aloha Monkey is turning 20 and we request that you join us for Tattoos, Piercings, Food and FREE DRINKS from Surly Brewing Company and Sailor Jerry! Tattoo Supplies provided by Saltwater Tattoo Supply.

April 26 and 27 from 12-8P
April 28 from 12-5P

Guest Tattoo Artists: Nick Colella, Josh Palmer, Uzi, Javier DeLuna, Tim Beck, Frog, Jeff Symperd, Matt Arriola, Melissa Baker, Gordie Jones, Stephen Costello, Slim Brown, Doug Hardy

Aloha Monkey Artists: Arthur Zitka, Kenny Ford, Brian Basabe, Matt Zirbes, Mark Landis, Josh Arment

Josh Arment “HMIC”

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Josh Arment took the reigns of the Aloha Monkey, transforming it from a great tattoo shop into one of the greatest tattoo shops, first in Minnesota, then eventually in all of North America. Tirelessly working harder to continually improve his skills, as well as making the Monkey into one of the tightest run ships in the industry, he has surrounded himself with a great crew and a constant flow of amazing tattooists from around the world. His hard work and dedication has allowed “The Aloha Monkey” to grow from a shop in an area that was formerly known as ‘nothing special’ to a shop where tattooists are now clamoring to come visit.

Josh Arment still keeps the Monkey in ship shape, bringing world-class tattooing to the Great State of Minnesota, proudly decorating the fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters of the Gopher State. We look forward to ensuring that the traditions carried by Sailor Jerry and Mike Malone are still strong and continue to move forward. We invite you to join us at keeping Minnesota beautiful, and to get tattooed at The Aloha Monkey!

Romeo, “The Aloha Monkey”

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After much thought, Mike remembered a story that Jerry had told him long ago. A tale that Jerry insisted was the truth, as fantastic and far-fetched as it was. Apparently, at one point, Jerry had a monkey that he kept in the shop, whom he affectionately named ‘Romeo.’ Romeo was part of Jerry’s life as a sailor, stemming from the tradition of bringing exotic pets from far away places. Romeo amused Jerry to no end, having the unsavory habit of bending over and ‘mooning’ customers as they walked in. Jerry and one of his partners eventually came upon the idea of tattooing an “AL” and “HA” on each side of Romeo’s butt, so that when customers came in, they were greeted by Romeo’s “ALOHA.” Unfortunately, having a monkey in a tattoo shop was not the best of ideas. One day, it is told, Jerry came into the tiny 1033 Smith St. location to find that Romeo had gotten loose and, in the process of throwing needles around, tearing sheets of designs, and causing general havoc, Romeo had drunk a brand new bottle of black ink that Jerry had just bought. Infuriated, Jerry was cleaning the shop and yelling at Romeo for causing such a mess when one of Jerry’s good customers from the US Navy walked in with his brand new tropical white sailor’s suit. Romeo let up a screech, turned around to spread the ‘ALOHA,’ and sprayed black ink diarrhea all over the poor swabby’s pristine white outfit.

This story of Romeo, who was immortalized on one of Jerry’s sheets of tattoo designs (called flash), became the basis of Mike’s new shop name: The Aloha Monkey. It was also Mike’s way of tweaking the conservative noses of those who scoffed at tattooing; something Mike was always fond of doing.

As time went on, Mike realized that he would need help at his new location. He eventually brought in a young tattooist who was recommended to him by friends; this tattooist was named Josh Arment. Josh came to Burnsville to help Mike out with the Aloha Monkey while it got started, learning to expand his skills while under the tutelage and friendship of Mike. They became close friends, and Josh eventually made Burnsville and the Aloha Monkey his permanent home. It was a partnership for the ages.

Eventually, although Mike enjoyed tattooing, he realized more and more that he just wanted to focus on his painting and decided to retire. He knew that Josh would be the right man to hand over the wheel of the Monkey to, so he sold the shop to his young friend and moved on.

Mike “Rollo Banks” Malone

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Mike renamed Jerry’s shop to “China Sea Tattoo”, which he owned and operated for decades, only moving for a short time to Austin, Texas in the 1980′s where he ran a shop for a short time while his crew held down the fort back in the Pacific. China Sea Tattoo continued the great traditions that Jerry started in its tiny, but mighty, location. The shop continued to offer strong, beautiful tattoos with roots firmly embedded in the traditions that make American tattooing some of the most recognized in the world, but with long growing branches to the future, so the work never becomes stagnant and stale. Mike’s work became known worldwide for being immediately eye-catching and colorful, but also appealing to a vast swath of different people from all walks of life. From bold, beautiful tattoos that covered the entire body to show all, to small mementos that were just for the wearer to have knowledge of, there was never anything like a Mike Malone tattoo.

Eventually, in the late 1990s, Mike became restless. Hawaii, while a beautiful place, was also very small. Mike wanted to live in a place where one could easily get to the rest of America with short trips by airplane or car, but still had enough of a small town feeling that he didn’t feel like he was blocked in by the overly corporate life that was becoming common in cities all over the world. Surprising even himself, he found such a place in Burnsville, MN. So, in 1999, Mike decided that he would uproot himself from Hawaii to open a new shop in Minnesota. But what to call it?