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?
Written by Doug Hardy