By ADAM COOK
In the quiet corner of Jenkins Court in downtown Durham resides a small, singularly operated tattoo and body piercing shop called Hazel’z Inkwell, which is where students and locals can come and fill their bodies with permanent tattoo art and body piercings.
Jonathan Hazel set out to fulfill his desire to become an artistic entrepreneur by founding the shop in 2001. Hazel specializes in freehand body art and has been tattooing for 19 years.
“It’s a lifetime commitment, we are practitioners because were always practicing, improving, and growing,” Hazel said when talking about his career choice, adding that he is “happy to be alive.”
“I love being a tattoo artist and business owner in Durham,” Hazel said when talking about the youthfulness of the students who come to get any of his services done. “The kids keep me young,” he added.
Hazel said that he conducts his business primarily to work with other local small businesses. He buys all of his equipment and ink from small companies in the U.S.
Secretary of Hazel’z Inkwell and sophomore biomedical science major Hannah Mullen has gone to the shop for three of her tattoos.
“I wish I knew about him when I got my first tattoo,” Mullen said. “I regret not finding him first.”
Mullen also complimented Hazel on his “attention to detail” and “friendliness and professionalism while he worked.”
Although Hazel’s primary practice is body art, he tends to see himself as a teacher as well. He was a non-traditonal student at UNH and desired to become an art teacher if the tattoo business did not work out.
When asked about how he teaches students and any other clients that come to him, Hazel said, “I am guiding you in a certain direction, do you actually want to do it [and go through with the tattoo].”
Hazel’s shop welcomes walk-ins and appointments for tattoos and body piercings. Open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, Hazel’z Inkwell is the closest tattoo and piercing shop to the Durham campus. It is possible to check out Hazel’s gallery on the business’s Facebook page or in person on the walls of the shop.
Hazel takes a lot of pride in his work as he said it’s how other people will be attracted to visit his shop.
“If you don’t look good, I don’t look good,” Hazel said as he proved his point about having pride in his work. “If I do one thing wrong, everyone will think I’m bad. So I do my best to provide the best quality.”