Tattoo artist opens new shop in downtown Fargo
FARGO — Athena Funk started her apprenticeship at Absolute Ink Tattoo in Las Vegas, finished it at Dead Rockstar in Fargo, and now she has an apprentice of her own at her new tattoo shop, Amarok Tattoo, also in Fargo.
"It's a transition," she said. "It feels really good. I feel really accomplished. It's been a really long, hard road."
She rented the space on the corner of NP Avenue and Eighth Street North in August, opened in September and recently celebrated with a grand opening party. She's booked through February or March.
"It's scary," she said. "You have to have a lot of faith in yourself that you can do it. I've always worked at a shop where I didn't have to worry about (the business side of it). Here, I've only taken three days off since August."
Besides her apprentice, Jeremy Peig, Funk has one employee, shop manager Taylor Olson. They recently shared their space with two guest artists, Holly Thomas of Classic Tattoo in Las Vegas and Kelly Severtson of Insight Studios in Chicago.
Both were in town for the Roughrider Ink & Iron Expo, held Oct. 21-23 at Scheels Arena. The first day of the convention, Funk did a Pagan goddess with horns on an upper arm. After a cancellation, she spent the second day doing walk-ups.
"I did like, nine tattoos in four or five hours," she said. "All day, we had a line of three or four people waiting to get tattooed."
Although she doesn't like to label her style, Funk has won many traditional-style competitions. She took home 11 trophies from Roughrider, including three in the traditional category and two in the large black-and-gray category.
"I don't like to pigeonhole myself," she said. "I want to be able to continue to experiment and try different ways of tattooing that I learned from different artists that I really look up to."
She used that method to improve her black-and-gray skills when she decided she wasn't happy with them.
"I kind of made it my mission this past year to meet face to face some black-and-gray artists at conventions so I could show them some of my work and ask them if they'd critique me and give me some pointers," she said. "I think it's paying off."
In addition to her own work, work by other artists — mostly friends and colleagues — and a mix of eclectic artwork, antiques and thrift store finds decorate Amarok Tattoo.
"Almost every item has a backstory," she said during a tour.
The name comes from Funk's affinity for wolves. She, guest artists Thomas and Severtson, and a handful of their other tattoo artist friends started referring to themselves as a "pack" and calling themselves "Wolfknife" at conventions.
Funk, who was born on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, also wanted to pay homage to her Native American roots. She did some research and came across "Amarok," a mythological wolf that lived by itself in Canada.
"I thought that was a really fitting name," she said. "I don't feel like it describes me yet, but it's a really strong word, and it feels like I'll someday live up to it."
What: Amarok Tattoo
Where: 10 8th St. N. #200, Fargo
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. or by appointment Tuesday through Saturday
Contact: (701) 566-5407 or firstname.lastname@example.org