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Archive Tattoo Studio

Posted by Ryan Bolton / Posted on April 5, 2011

Archive Tattoo TorontoArchive Tattoo Studio dates all the way back to 2008. When I first meet David Glantz, the head honcho at Archive, he's knee-deep on a customer's leg sleeve. And he stays this way throughout our chat about the revered custom ink studio that he founded only a few years back.

David's an easy-going guy. He's personable. And as we sit and chat, with his tattoo machine gliding along a client's fleshy calf, David seems to be at ease, in control.

Archive Tattoo TorontoGetting his start with Rob Coutts at Bobby Five around 2003, David fell in love with the art form. (Truthfully, if we're splitting hairs, he got his start at age 4 when he started arts school). But it was in 2008 that David and his wife, Elyse Glantz, teamed up to launch Archive. Basically "on a whim," they went out and grabbed a business license. Ditto for the name, Archive Tattoo Studio, which was seemingly "plucked out of thin air."

Archive Tattoo TorontoSimply enough, they wanted more of an open door environ with their clients (Elyse isn't a tattoo artist herself, but the shop manager), and found a small spot in Trinity Bellwoods in the summer of 2008. The shop, which had a smoky detective office feel, was a solid fit, but didn't hold the space for growth. It just barely fit David and his apprentice.

Archive Tattoo TorontoHaving driven by the current storefront on Dundas in Brockton Village daily, David noticed the For Lease sign wasn't going anywhere. He soon discovered that the real estate agent had marked down the wrong number on the ad. Good thing for David and co. as they quickly moved in just over a year ago. The place essentially "came together overnight," although this includes two months of renovations.

Archive TattooLike most of the city's custom shops, it's easy to miss Archive Tattoo. There's just a lone "28" on the door. With exposed brick and a chic-for-a-tattoo-shop feel inside, there's an immediate comfortable vibe. That's intentional.

Archive Tattoo"You get intimate connections when you're tattooing somebody; you get to really know them, and I want to keep an open rapport with my clients and friends," David explains over the din of the tattoo machine.

Archive TattooAlbeit a custom shop, the shop's other artists, Ben Ackerman and David's apprentice, Angela Daniels, are available most days for walk-ins. With no flash available, the shop offers only original works. With a keen style in neo-traditional with a sliver of Americana, David also draws on his past in graffiti and Alphonse Mucha as inspiration. Considerable time is put into the consultations to ensure that the tattoo works for both the artist and client alike. Finding common ground is the intention.

"Let's find something that you really want to get tattooed and something that I want to tattoo, and make it 100 percent original," says David, relaxed. "I could tattoo 300 dragons in a year, and everyone of them is going to look different."

Archive TattooThat's something that David and everyone at Archive sticks to -- originality. They put a lot of time into the consultations and feeling out the client, to make sure there's a connection, or a bond, if you will.

"If you have a vested interest in the tattoo, it's going to be a better tattoo," he says. "The point is that we feel that the recipient should be a 110 percent happy with the design before committing to wearing it for the rest of their life."

Archive TattooWriting by Ryan Bolton / Photography by Dennis Marciniak.

Discussion

14 Comments

Nic / April 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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Dave tattooed my left forearm a few years back in his tiny Trinity Bellwoods studio. He and Elyse are wonderful people and my husband says it's the best ink he's ever seen in person on anyone, and easily stands up to anything he's seen on TV. I get compliments on it all the time, and love it to death. It matches my personality and reflects my heritage and interests. The colouring and shading are astounding. Dave is the man. Don't think about it, email him NOW.
Laura Warburton / April 6, 2011 at 01:28 pm
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Nice phtos , I love the close up's
natalie daye / April 6, 2011 at 02:25 pm
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Great article! David, Elyse and the team at Archive are amazing and their recent charity effort for Japan was not only heartfelt, smart and successful, it was badass!!
dawn / April 6, 2011 at 03:22 pm
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Dave, Elyse, Ang, and Ben are all such amazing.. easy going ppl. Not to mention the studio space is vibrant, modern-art design, and showcases the work of other talented artists. Dave did a very special piece for me on my side and I couldn't be happier with it. I am very partial to greyscale and fine line drawings...basically, not easy. Dave not only did a spectacular job, but took the time to get to know me, my interests, and ultimately what I wanted. I would highly recommend him as well as his staff (Ang & Ben) should someone be interested in getting "ink done". After spending 12+hrs with him in his studio... I kinda miss going in.
David (not Glantz) / April 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm
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Dave has done all of my good tattoos and I can't recommend him enough. The artistry is fantastic... I have that plane tattoo. He did it for his Japanese fundraiser on my request... Great people to do you work and good "bedside" manner while doing.
Kevin / April 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm
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From day one Archive Tattoo has always been caring and respectful! Elyse and David are f****** fantastic. I got my 7/10's sleeve from them and I've got 4 more sessions to go. I gotta say, i'm already thinking of my next tattoo(s). If u are lost about where you should get your first tattoo or just wanna add up to ur other ones... Archive is thee place i recommend.
Brian / May 12, 2011 at 11:04 am
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Dave did an amazing job on some Tibetan sankrit work on my arms when he was still at Bobby 5. He was incredibly reassuring and easy going, and the quality of the work was top notch. I have since had work done by some other amazing tattoists, but Dave's work on my arms is still the most meaningful to me personally. I have gone in to see the new shop (Archive) and it looks wonderful. I hope that Dave can find the time to fit me in for a few more pieces I've been thinking about...a great artist, and more importantly, I think, a truly genuine person...
Meghan / May 12, 2011 at 01:10 pm
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My experience with Dave and Elyse at Archive was the best yet. David did a piece on my arm that surpassed any of my expectations, having walked in there with only three words for what I wanted (roses, waves, beautiful). The compliments I receive are endless. And of course everyone is so awesome and personable - truly making this tattoo a memorable one. Archive has earned and deserve their spot in this list without a doubt.
Jova / May 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm
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I haven't got the words to describe the team at Archive! Ben, who has always tattooed me, is beyond amazing. I receive compliments on a daily basis, I say his name more often than my own. He is not only an awesome artist, but a great guy. As for Elyse, she is a wonderful lady, who is friendly and charming and always makes me feel welcome. Last, but not least, Dave is a cool guy, amazing artist and awesome through the wall conversationalist! This place is, by far, the best tattoo shop I've ever been in. Kudos people, kudos.
Jenn / May 17, 2011 at 10:25 am
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I am thrilled this studio is getting a kudos.

Ben did an amazing job on my latest tat. It exceeded anything I could have envisioned in my head.

I can't wait to go back again for more work!
Sara / March 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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Wouldn't trust anyone but Dave to tattoo me. After six larger-scale pieces, he knows my style better than I do. He truly is one of the best.
Shelby / May 25, 2012 at 02:37 am
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Im sorry... person above me ^ do you know what sentence structure is? Yes, you used a lot of fancy words but you didn't use them correctly.

Either way, I highly recommend this shop! :) For my first tattoo I was looking for a shop with experienced tattoo artists and that is exactly what you get! :) Even though the shop's prices are more expensive, you really are paying for the quality. Dont buy cheap, it is permanent! :)
Jimmy B / July 17, 2014 at 06:10 pm
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After seeing some of the work first hand I have to add them to the list of places to go next. So little space left and so much I want. These guys are great!
randy baldelli / July 31, 2014 at 10:33 am
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Looking to have a portrait done of my parrents looking down on my lil daughter

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