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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.

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