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Breaking stigmas with a little bit of ink

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Breaking stigmas with a little bit of ink

Matthew David, who has been tattooing for more than a decade, says that Royal Dagger offers a combination of high quality tattooing and customer customization.

Photo contributed/


POSTED July 26, 2013 7:17 p.m.

It’s safe to say that tattoo parlors have always had a bit of a social stigma related to them. In pop culture, they have been associated with a sense of grunginess, anti authority, and a ‘get out of the way of my custom Harley or get run over,’ kind of feel.

Well, things are changing. The tattooed arms of biker gangs are being replaced with young professionals, students and just everyday joes looking to get some ink on their body. As this trend continues to shift, people are appreciating the art of tattooing for exactly that reason.

It’s an art form.

On the forefront of really capturing the essence of the art of tattooing and the creative processes involved with the work in the Valley is Royal Dagger tattoo in Turlock.  Royal Dagger, which began in 2011, is co-owned by Mike Sin and Matthew Davis. The two partners have known each other since their high school days, which adds to the apparent kinship that resides among the staff.

Sin’s father, John Sin, is largely held as the person responsible for bringing the art of tattooing to Turlock, and in many ways, the entire Central Valley.

“He really pioneered all this in Turlock,” said Sin. “It all really came through him.” 

Davis, who began tattooing out of his kitchen in his adolescent years, said the art of tattooing comes down to envisioning what each customer is looking for.

“We start off by picking the brain and getting some notes down,” said Davis. “We want to be able to see the vision that you’re seeing.”

Unlike the stereotyped back alley parlor, Royal Dagger offers its customers a clean and contemporary take on the art of tattooing, all while preserving the traditional roots of the art form.

Davis said that both he and the rest of the crew at Royal Dagger like to remind people that tattoo parlors should not be categorized to a specific type of person, and that they too, are a local family-owned business.

“We want people to know that we’re a family-owned business,” said Davis. “We just want to bring a high quality of work to the Valley.”

Both Davis and Sin like to specialize in combining the best of traditional work, all while catering to contemporary requests. According to Sin, the staff at Royal Dagger is “well rounded” and can cater to the exact specifications the customers are looking for be it realism, or more traditional street style work.

“We offer solid tattooing; we’re down to earth and we have a great atmosphere,” said Davis

So if you’re in the Valley, looking for a fresh take on tattooing, take a trip down to Royal Dagger. They’ll be more than welcoming, even if you aren’t wearing your leather vest.

For more information regarding Royal Dagger, call 250-2323.



— JAYDEEP BHATIA/
209 staff reporter

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