Thursday, June 4, 2015

On the Road at Lady Cora's Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery in Columbus Georgia

Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery

On the Road in Columbus, Georgia

The Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery crew

by mAry d'Aloisio
photos by mAryD and submitted by Black Lotus (Please ask permision to repost)

7401 Fortson Rd, Columbus, GA 31909
Owner Lady Cora
Instagram: @blacklotustattoogallery

It's been said that tattooing is a man's world, but you wouldn't know that in Columbus, Georgia home of Lady Cora's Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery.  We were welcomed with traditional southern staple of sweet tea and tons of hugs and smiles, and swept inside of the sparkling clean tattoo wonderland Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery.  There was a shop full of the most endearing artists and loyal tattoo collectors and Black Lotus super-fans.  Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery is ginormous, open, clean, and decorated with an amazing mix of art, jewelry, tattoo work. There is a feeling of family, southern hospitality, custom tattoo innovation, and a good solid anchoring of tattoo tradition.   Lady Cora (nee Coralea Bragg) runs a tight ship, but you can definitely feel the woman's touch and dedication to the client's overall experience as well as the artists comfort and success. Simply put, Black Lotus Tattoo is a great place to get tattooed.
Nicole Hall 
Skin&Ink met the fiery red-headed tattoo artist at Hell City and decided to follow her home just an hour south of Atlanta where she owns and presides over both Black Lotus AND Iron Rose Tattoo in Columbus.  Lady Cora is constantly on the go and is a power house of tattoo ability in her own right, but add in the idea that she serves over 18 staff members between both shops and well, you can tell the lady is a maniac.  A very organized and lovely maniac, but a maniac all the same.
John Allred
We were introduced to the tattoo crew which lined up like a military inspection to greet us.  First and foremost was (Captain) Morgan, and huge handsome muscular fella who nearly always had his shirt off.  He is an honest and hardcore tattoo guy, and has been backing Lady Cora's moves since the beginning.  He's the kind of guy you really hope is on your side of any conflict, and can lay down seriously clean ink. Just in case a visitor got the impression that they had walked into a presumptuous art gallery, Morgan  reminds us that this is indeed a tattoo shop-- no bones about it. 
Mark Rice was next, and he's kind of the fatherly traditional type, very cool.  John Allred is soft spoken, but upon inspection of his artwork, you can see his art does the communicating for him.  Rhea Rhea is the only Black Lotus homegrown-- she apprenticed with them and decided to stay.
"She has grown incredibly solid from day one. She's our quiet strength with a feminine touch." said Lady Cora.
Miss Holly Clouse is hard to miss with her beaming smile and (at the time of the visit) bright blue dreads.  Her appearance and demeanor is a good indication of the kind of beautiful delicate but solid creative tattoo work exploding from her machines. 
"She provides our irresistible hippie magic!" beamed Lady Cora who is clearly smitten with the doll.

Miss Holly Clouse
The towering piercer Isaac Waters is a little intimidating, especially next to compact Nicole Hall and Jeremiah Black-- a powerhouse of a piercing team who add a lovely creative flare to the modifications available to clients at Black Lotus.
The diverse team are supported by counter women Katie Rice (Mark's daughter) and Kelly White (total babe).  The clients and fans of Black Lotus should likely be included into the team, because after meeting next door neighbor Misty Reed (Rebel Belle: Soap, Sundries, and Curiosities) a southern belle covered in Black Lotus tattoo work, one gets the feeling that they are just as much a part of the team as the people paid to be there.
"Black Lotus is built on relationships....not just 'customers'. Black Lotus' mission is to blur any imaginary lines or ideas that may give someone pause about what tattoos and a tattoo shop are. We want the soccer mom to be just as comfortable and at ease about her tattoo experience as someone who's done it a hundred times." said Lady Cora.
"That all fits into the tattoo community, because ALL culture is important for ANY community that's going to thrive. Columbus is REALLY starting to embrace all forms of artistic expression. Bringing in guest artists, being a part of the monthly art walk, and joining in at EVERY opportunity to expose more people to what we do is paramount.  It's not just about tattooing, it's about art as a whole." Lady Cora shared.

For a smaller town in Georgia, it seems that Black Lotus is embraced and supported by the community--even the folks they don't tattoo.   They spend a lot of energy staying involved, supporting the arts, and giving whenever they can.
 "We try to take every opportunity to help and improve. This is where WE live.....where our customers and friends live. These are the people and the city that make us who we are. Not giving back is NOT an option." emphasized Lady Cora.

Mark Rice
Morgan Duerfldt
Rhea Blais
"Columbus is the biggest small town on the planet. So many people here know each other--it's like this giant network. We have the added advantage of having lots of things that only much larger cities have to offer. It's a comfortable mix. My favorite activities in Columbus almost always include the music and entertainment district. That's where the most creative souls tend to be. I naturally gravitate to that. There's lots of other things here, too--an interesting Civil War Naval Museum, the river walk, white water rafting, outdoor concerts, and some AMAZING local restaurants. Columbus was important during the Reconstruction Period, so there's some pretty rich history here, too."
Check out the fine folks at Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery, and take in some of the cool sights and rich history-- just remember to stay away from the public swimming holes with that fresh tattoo! 

Thanks for the fabulous sweet tea, and introducing us to your fabulous tattoo family Lady Cora-- we'll see "ya'll" on the road...  

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