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Seven Crowns Tattoo

Posted by Ryan Bolton / Posted on December 14, 2010

Seven Crowns TattooSeven Crowns Tattoo is your definition custom ink shop. Not your typical storefront shop on Queen or Bloor. Nor is it downtown like some of the other shops we've checked out. They're the type of shop that you suss out, knowing what to expect when you walk in.

Seven Crowns TattooSeven Crowns is the only tattoo shops in midtown, a stone's throw from Yonge and Eg. As I walk along Yonge passing a row of independent restaurants, the odd Starbucks and some other caf├ęs, I see Seven Crowns' unassuming sign. That's all. A sign and a door leading you up a set of stairs. At the top of the stairs, on your right is a hair salon, brightly lit and as you would expect. On your left is a tattoo shop with a different flavour.

Seven Crowns TattooThere's no flash tattoo art on the walls, something common at most of they city's top ink joints. Well, that's a half-truth; there's one small collection of flash from 1925. The shop's classic aesthetic, in co-owners Matthew Ellis, 37, and George Brown, 36, own words, is turn-of-the-century. Well, turn-of-the-century saloon with the din of tattoo machines. They both sport playful facial hair and are both clad in black. The shop is equal parts art and antiques in the main section, as they own two of the suites on the floor. They recently expanded and added the front suite where they have the reception desk and a couple tattoo beds this summer. They also expanded to a current tattoo staff of five to help support the area's burgeoning walk-in crowd.

Seven Crowns TattooEllis and Brown both worked at Way Cool Uptown for 10 and seven years, respectively. Before that, they both had completed apprenticeships and paid their industry dues. And with solid clienteles and reputations built, they decided to branch out. To open a custom shop. "Just not the everyday, run-of-the-mill work," says Brown, perched on one of the shop's stools. And with no other tattoo stores in the immediate vicinity, they set up shop in 2008. "It hasn't been completely bastardized up here yet, and hopefully we can hold onto it," says George, speaking of the locale. "We thought we would inject something cool into it."

Seven Crowns TattooSitting there, chatting with them, Ellis and Brown are no-bullshit guys. They're there because they genuinely seem to enjoy what they're doing. And that's part of the reason why they got out of the storefront tattoo scene: complacency to the artform. It has now become a rule at Seven Crowns: "Complacency is not acceptable here," Brown insists. Because, with a half-laugh, Ellis explains that about 40 percent of his work is cover-ups from "scratcher" shops. And that's just plain sad however you cut it.

Seven Crowns TattooAsked to explain their individual styles, they take pause. "We all have our own bend on those traditional styles," says Brown. It goes along with the store's classic, unique vibe. Even when asked to do flash work, they put a custom spin on it. "You start to develop a style of your own. Well, you're developing away from a style. The tattoos have committed styles, the artists don't exactly," explains Ellis. And that's why all they need is a front door with a sign - they have carved out a receptive clientele based off their work alone.

"Most people are seeking us out, not necessarily for us, but for what we do," says Ellis. That typically speaks for itself.

All tattoos are at $150/hr across the board. "Hagglers can haggle elsewhere," says Brown.

Seven Crowns TattooWriting by Ryan Bolton / Photography by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

46 Comments

KLT / December 15, 2010 at 10:16 am
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These guys are top notch, love them!
Simon / April 6, 2011 at 01:26 pm
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I've been to several places in Toronto and Vancouver for work. After my first experience with 7C I'll never go anywhere else and always encourage friends to meet with Matt or George before talking to anyone else.

If you want a cheap tattoo then you'll spend the rest of your life with a tattoo that looks cheap. If you want something that'll always get you excited to have then go to Seven Crowns.
Gerk / April 23, 2011 at 01:35 pm
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These guys run a top notch shop. Now that I've found them I'm not sure I'd be happy going anywhere else in Toronto for ink work.
sigh / May 12, 2011 at 02:53 pm
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no flash on the walls? what do you call the crap IN YOUR PHOTOS (on their walls)? aye carumba, great shop, great artists, dill brain for writer
Ryan Bolton replying to a comment from sigh / May 12, 2011 at 02:58 pm
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Sigh--

Do you read? It says, verbatim,"There's no flash tattoo art on the walls, something common at most of they city's top ink joints. Well, that's a half-truth; there's one small collection of flash from 1925."

All the flash is from 1925, as it says a half-truth. Moron.
Todd Klinck / May 12, 2011 at 03:58 pm
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Matthew has done all of my tattoos (except for one) and I wouldn't trust anyone else. He is a no bullshit guy who likes challenging work and cares about hygiene and quality. Love Seven Crowns!
Van / May 12, 2011 at 05:09 pm
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When I first became interested in tattoos, I had every intention of visiting Matthew Ellis for some work - just a quick glimpse at his portfolio was enough for me! When I found out Seven Crowns was in my neighbourhood, it was only a matter of time until I had scheduled a consultation for my boyfriend and I.
After we presented our idea to Matt, we had a follow up consultation to view the final product - a custom, one-of-a-kind piece. It was perfect - beyond our expectation.
Seven Crowns is definitely one of my favourite shops in the city - they have a crew of very talented artists that produce quality work! I can't wait for my next visit!
Jen Rec / May 12, 2011 at 05:51 pm
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George Brown has done (most) all my work. I love the vibe of the beautiful studio, The easy going presence, and of course - the amazing custom work. I don't want to go anywhere else and that's a fact!
Mikey Moogent / May 13, 2011 at 11:41 am
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Love the work they do and the shop is rad as fuck. Morgan did a large tattoo on my arm of Chi Pig from SNFU and I get stopped all the time by people that want to check it out! A+++
Kira / May 17, 2011 at 06:25 pm
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There is no doubt these guys are amazing at what they do. Matt has done the most amazing work for me. Bert & Ernie, on my feet, one entire lower leg covered with my favorite images and saying from Dr. Seuss and the other lower leg dedicated to Sesame Street. I have never heard a negitive comment about any of Matt's work, instead people are stunned that they are real, clean, clear & such bright images that stand the test of time. As bright today as the day the work was done.

If your thinking about getting a tattoo I have only 2 point of advice:
-Be sure about what you want and bring pic's to illustrate the idea
-If you spend time on nothing else, take the time to research the tattoo artist & their studio.
KH / July 2, 2011 at 03:32 pm
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Yesterday I went to Seven Crowns and George Brown did a sugar skull tattoo for me on my shoulder. This was my first large tattoo and I am fair skinned and I knew it was going to hurt like hell and it did! There was some tear shedding and a whole lot of face squinting but George was so awesome with me during the whole process and made me feel comfortable. The piece is amazing and I LOVE it! This shop has a great vibe and I look forward to getting more work done in the future at Seven Crowns :)
Greg / September 2, 2011 at 04:01 pm
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Morgan did a grafitti style tattoo for me a bit ago, and I have to say that it blew me away. We spent a good 3 and some hours, his skill is amazing. I get stopped all the time by strangers asking about it and how colorful it is. Everyone that works there is friendly and fun. Definately worth a visit.
rogue / September 15, 2011 at 03:21 pm
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I love blogto but find it irritating that they never link to the sites of what they're reviewing.
Tori / October 5, 2011 at 03:26 pm
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Morgan MacDonald is doing my tattoo black and grey tattoo what are your taught s on him love his work.
KH replying to a comment from Tori / October 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm
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My husband got a black and grey piece done on his arm by Morgan and it is incredible-the detail and shading was really impressive. You will not be disappointed by Morgan's work
Tori / October 6, 2011 at 09:38 pm
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My tattoo is going to be on my calf covering most of it, will take about 3 sessions at about $450-500 it is a Dominican tribal wood sculpture black and grey.
Tony Sinopoli / January 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm
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Morgan did a Tribal Tiger Claw on my right calf, superb work, i will be back for more from this establishment! Fantastic and friendly work!

AM / April 14, 2012 at 09:59 am
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I go to Savannah @ 7 Crowns, she is the best!!!!! I love this shop. Everyone who works there is awesome!!!! I will never go anywhere else!
Susanna / April 26, 2012 at 04:40 pm
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Got some script from Holly two days ago and I couldn't be happier. Her work is beautiful. Very clean lines. Everyone who works there is friendly and makes you feel at home. Looking through their portfolios it's clear that all the artists at seven crowns are amazingly talented. I highly recommend the shop.
chris / May 14, 2012 at 02:45 pm
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Just got my first tattoo from Morgan, dragon head morphing into a tribal pattern below with my kid's initials. Morgan's work is truly amazing and my tattoo has had lots of great comments from people. The shop is excellent and all of the staff are extremely friendly and helpful - I highly recommend Seven Crowns.
Jane / July 10, 2012 at 07:00 pm
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i had my first tattoo done yesterday at seven crowns by Holly.
let me tell you - i was terrified and freaking out.
but not only the tattoo looks amazing and the lines and the whole design - she was so friendly and funny and very accomodating. i felt i was tattooed by a friend. the whole atmosphere in the shop is awesome - Alex was very helpful as well by explaining things and making me feel that asking all those questions that i was is not a bad thing at all. As he said - it is for the rest of your life - so do it right and exactly where u want! :) Holly is an amazing artist - everybody looking at my tattoo is loving it saying that it looks just unbelievably feminine and suits me. thank you guys for making me (the completely scared first timer lol)so comfortable and I LOVE MY TATTOO!
if i ever get enough balls to get another one - i wont go anywhere else! Perfect place
Kara / September 3, 2012 at 02:42 pm
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Just got a tatt about a week ago from Seven Crowns. My artist was Savannah. She was amazing and the shop was amazing - the cleanliness, the atmosphere to the quality of the work done by all the artists. Impeccable!
I love my tattoo. Savannah listened to what I really wanted to capture and what I didn't and truly made it beautiful!! Very respectable place, would highly recommend it!
Brian / September 6, 2012 at 06:53 pm
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Had some work done recently by Savannah. I got my first tattoo over 20 years ago and I have now found the shop that will be doing the rest of my work. There is no need to go anywhere else.
Noy / February 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm
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Going to get my first tattoo soon with Robyn! I'm very excited and anxious to get it already, reading all these awesome comments about the shop I trust I put my faith in the right shop. Getting a tiger head black and grey on my shoulder/arm, half sleeve.

Hopefully it will come out amazing! Gonna take 3-5 hours on it, so shouldn't be too bad. First tattoo, I was nervous but reading these great comments I am now just very anxious to go there and just get it done with :)
James Lightfoot / April 12, 2013 at 07:43 pm
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I had my first tattoo done by the renowned George Brown III. Now let’s go back to the beginning, I arrived at Seven Crowns for my consult and was blown away by the amazing design of the Shop, and the atmosphere. I gave George a pic/idea of what I sort of wanted and so we talked for a good 30 minutes about what my design ideas. My tattoo design was a Black and Grey Samurai warrior with spots of blood on his armor and a village in the background along with other art work. Before I left the shop I knew that I had picked the right Artist for my tattoo. I was told that my appointment would take about 4 months and that George would send me the final design for approval well in advance of my appointment. To me that’s a good sign that he’s a very busy artist and well respected in the industry. I was emailed the final design for approval and it was absolutely amazing, everything that I wanted was included.. George is truly a great artist. The day of my appointment arrived and I was so excited that I was finally going to get my calf inked. The tattoo took about 3.5 hours to do and the end result was amazing, the detailed work that George was able to accomplish was more than what I expected. He is absolutely one of the BEST in Toronto. For my next tattoo I will be going back to see George and Seven Crowns. See you soon George and again TY.
David / July 12, 2013 at 01:14 pm
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I am writing this as a good friend of mine was tattooed by Matt Ellis. I have a pretty good eye when it comes to art as well as tattoos and looking over his I do have to say that there are quite a few errors. More than half of the cherry blossoms on his arm are not symmetrical. Some of the petals are larger and smaller than the others on the their respective flower. There are a couple that have lines drawn that you can see are not meant to be there(clear mistakes). There is line that connects two wind bars that looks like a mistake. In any of the Japanese work I have seen there is never a line connecting the bottom of two wind bars at the end of a tattoo. It looks out of place. The koi looks too long and narrow at the bottom. The tail is super long and is shapeless. It looks as though the koi head should have started lower on the his shoulder and the koi would have been less awkward looking. The light blue that was used on the bottom half of his tattoo looks horrible.

Anyways for a website that calls their tattoos the best this tattoo definitely is not that. If this was my tattoo I would be very upset and angry at spending what my friend spent for his tattoo. Luckily I did not but I will let you know that he is right. Also just so happens that a friends roommate was tattooed by Matt(half sleeve) and he had to have it corrected by another artist. My friend felt remorse for posting about his episode with this artist but I do not. If you are offering a service to the paying public then you are up to be scrutinized by those people who choose to pay you to permanently mar their skin good and bad.
Mark replying to a comment from David / July 14, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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Sounds like your friend got screwed here. Lucky for lasers.
Baz / July 14, 2013 at 06:34 pm
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I wanted to add to this thread a while ago but the comments were removed. When looking at the picture that was linked here in earlier removed comments I would have to agree with the poster that the composition of the tattoo was off. In the post here from the guys friend it sounds like there's all kinds of mistakes and whether or not he accepted the artists drawing the mistakes listed are not acceptable. In a perfect world he would have been refunded his money and if the artist had a conciouncse. He would pay for the laser.
Matt / July 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm
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This guy has gone down hill. Check some of his latest facebook/instagram pics. Not looking too good.
Emily / October 2, 2013 at 05:43 pm
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Very interesting that the comments are all spaced very far apart but the last 4 negative comments are within a week and a half of each other. From a rival shop perhaps? A Jealous artist possibly?
Matt Ellis has started a piece on me that looks amazing...and it's just the outline. I've been to other artists and they don't compare. I frequently go onto their Facebook and am constantly drooling at how amazing his stuff is. There is this one girl with an entire back piece and it just blows my mind. He has done the majority of my best friends body (which is how I heard of him) and I have honestly never seen colour so vibrant in tattoos before. I can't wait to start the colour in my piece next week
A Big Fan / October 8, 2013 at 08:14 pm
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I recently came back from the charity event these guys hosted and WOW these guys bring a class act. The entire event was amazing, I met a lot of really fantastic people, both clients and peers alike, all with nothing but amazing things to say about everyone here. I'm not very heavily tattooed but they way these folks presented themselves and judging by all that tattoo that everyone was so eager to show that they got here, I'm for sure going here for my next tattoo.

To Matt and George (and the rest of the 7 Crowns staff) thanks for an amazing evening and I hope you raised a bunch of cash, you did a great job.
sheldon / October 9, 2013 at 12:06 am
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I got a skull-through-dagger with a snake wrapped around it, classic traditional style, along with a two-tone swallow from mike beddome and morgan macdonald respectively.

superb job,

i would recommend seven crowns to anyone i come across.
By Matt / October 22, 2013 at 04:50 am
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Emily,

Here is a link to the tattoo.

Cost:$1200

http://dirtysoap12345.imgur.com/all/
Dave / October 28, 2013 at 10:08 pm
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Hey guys

I haven't received any information about my tattoo a little longer than 5 months post consultation now. Should I be worried? Or is this a normal wait time.

Thanks and Cheers, Dave
Monica / November 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm
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Just got my first tattoo done here by Mike and it was a great experience. Very respectful and clean. I would definitely recommend this place as I had checked out a lot before decided and this was a great decision. Everyone is lovely.
tom / February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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I had Morgan do a custom proud Canadian tattoo it came out WAY better then i thought thank you Morgan everyone who has seen it says it it the coolest tattoo if you want a GREAT TATTOO come and see these guys THANK YOU MORGAN you did an AWESOME JOB the coolest shop
Josh / February 15, 2014 at 02:50 pm
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Wish I'd read this before going to Matt. Really disappointed with the way my Japanese koi half sleeve turned out. Looks super awkward.
Vasser replying to a comment from By Matt / March 2, 2014 at 04:11 am
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Yikes. The tattoo pics posted "By Matt" look pretty bad. Too bad because most of Matts work looks ok. Matt Ellis must have had an off day and the client suffered:(
Pissed off / June 12, 2014 at 08:01 pm
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The shop manager called too confirm my appointment and I had to reschedule and that was fine, she then called and left a message saying I lost my $100 deposit and will need to put down another $150 deposit in order to get the rest of my tattoo finished. The work George did was great dont get me wrong but it is definately not $600 great! They think they are celebrity tattoo artists up there and by the way who in sweet hell charges tax on tattoos or charges for stencil placement/setup time?!
Ripped a new one / June 12, 2014 at 08:07 pm
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Its one thing too pay for quality tattoos, but too get ripped off is another! Would never be back outrageous pricing for a standard run of the mill tattoo.
Janine / June 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm
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I am looking at places to get a tattoo and I think I'm going to be getting it here I hear so many great things about this place and it isn't that far from my place I'm excited to get this tattoo done
Janine / June 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm
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This is the tattoo I want to get done
Jim B / July 17, 2014 at 05:57 pm
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@Pissed off,

I don't know what rock you live under but it's standard practice to lose your deposit for a last minute cancellation that's what it's for.

And as for charging tax, hate to break it to ya but EVERY single legitimate business charges tax. Don't want to pay tax? I'm sure you can score a great deal off kijiji and get something scratched in someone's basement.

Next time you wanna moan about how unfair life is, try calling your shrink, it might put reality in perspective.


Dave / August 13, 2014 at 08:53 pm
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Seven Crowns is no good. Look at the way they deal with their customers. You want to chance a mediocre tattoo?

Then head on down to Seven mutha fuckin crown, they'll sit you down and you'll end up with a permanent frown when you look at the ink that's been laid down by one of the supposed best in town.
Jim replying to a comment from Ryan Bolton / October 29, 2014 at 09:37 pm
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I just had an old tattoo covered up by Mike Beddome at 7 Crowns and am really happy with the results. I was told by others the old tattoo was too dark to cover, but Mike did an awesome job. I'm so glad I went to 7 Crowns and would recommend Mike without hesitation!

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