Located at 2507 N.C. 226 South, Blackbird Tattoo Gallery is ready to give customers some beautiful body art, whether it is a little ink or a piercing.

As the owner, Bobby McMahan also works by himself as the tattoo artist and piercer. He has taken over the former Kudzu Tattoo and made it his own.

McMahan has been tattooing for five to six years and has been interested in the tattoo culture all of his life. It is a natural extension of his life-long love of art and creating dramatic images. He apprenticed under a tattoo artist in Morganton before branching out on his own.

In recent years, he’s noticed that tattoos have become more popular among all kinds of people, whether they are the rebellious, non-conformist types or professionals. There are those who are more conservative in outward appearance but want something highly personal or more daring underneath their clothes.

“I’ve tattooed people from all ends of the spectrum,” he said. “It’s a lot more commonplace now. It’s not as taboo as it used to be.”

Blackbird Tattoo Gallery has been in business at 2507 N.C. 226 South since the first of the year. McMahan has a section of the building where he does the tattoos or piercings. He can let customers choose from an assortment of designs or they can come in with their own ideas for a personalized tattoo.

As a policy, McMahan won’t do a tattoo that is considered racist or homophobic. He also does not ink gang-related symbols. He won’t tattoo faces either. He doesn’t charge by the hour but rather he charges by the design, which can vary based on the size and how elaborate it is.

He also has jewelry for piercings and on Thursdays, he has a $15 piercing special. For that price, you get a free piece of jewelry for the piercing.

In addition, Blackbird Tattoo Gallery has a full line of CBD products and hemp from local farms. The business carries T-shirts from Kustom Design Graffix.

Master’s Hand created the sign and logo for Blackbird Tattoo Gallery. The name of his business has personal significance for McMahan. He said he gave his father Richard McMahan a tattoo of a blackbird shortly before his dad’s death.

Since opening his business, McMahan has had booths at Marion Comic Con and the Liver Mush Festival. He wants to become more involved with events in downtown Marion.

“Marion as a whole is progressing a lot more,” he said. “I’d like to get more involved in the downtown Marion scene.”

He added he plans to hold events working with Artesana Ice Cream this month and something special with his neighbor Cats Mountain Munchies.

Satisfied patrons have left supportive comments on his Facebook page.

“Amazing owner, very friendly and helpful. Both my kids got piercings and he was great.

Very clean place too,” wrote Lisa Diane Smith.

“Bobby did my second tattoo, and he did better than I could have imagined it would come out. He was very helpful, talked me thru the process, and super friendly. I would definitely recommend him for your next tattoo!” wrote Colton Watkins.

“Got my first tattoo. Great service. Made sure I was comfortable with what I was getting. Definitely coming back again!” wrote Jordan Radford.

Blackbird Tattoo Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the gallery is open from 4 to 8 p.m. On Thursday, it is open from 2 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, the business is open from noon to 8 p.m.

For more information, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/blackbirdtattoogallery/

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