Meet: Christie Guy-Kitzmann, owner of Projekt 71 Tattoo Studio, licensed tattoo artist and 1990 graduate of Newcomerstown High School; Associate Degree in visual communications from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Licensed Cosmetologist.
Address: 252 Cross Street Rear, Newcomerstown
Facebook: Projekt 71 Tattoo Studio
Associates: Erinn Simmons, licensed tattoo artist, Ink Art by Erinn; Azure Kitzmann, apprentice; Conner MacDonald, apprentice.
Services: Tattoo artistry including contemporary, color illustrative, Neo Traditional, American Traditional Contemporary, dot work, Anime inspired Japanese, honorary, military and more. Gift vouchers available, body piercing coming soon.
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 1 to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday. We do take walk-ins, but it is best to call for an appointment or message the Projekt 71 Tattoo Studio Facebook page
Christie, please tell us a little about yourself, your family, and how Projekt 71 Tattoo Studio came about?
“I have resided in Newcomerstown most of my life, and my immediate family members also reside in the village. I have one daughter, Azure Kitzmann, a recent graduate of NHS. In my spare time, I like spending time with my family and a host of friends. My friends, and I enjoy chatting and going to dinner. Something else I truly love is offering painting parties to groups, and others interested in having a relaxing evening as they cultivate some of their hidden talents.
“Being artistic and loving to draw certainly contributes to my profession as a tattoo artist, but I do like to express my artistry in other ways too. I am a licensed cosmetologist at the Cameo Beauty Salon in Newcomerstown, and I know those clients appreciate my artistic background. Just like tattooing or painting, when coloring or styling hair, you must be creative and inspiring. Any artistry requires passion, imagination, and inspiration along with a keen eye to visualize what suits your particular client best.
“My real interest in tattooing came from my late husband, Kirk Kitzmann. He too owned a tattoo shop — Projekt 73 — in the same location as my current shop. Until this time, I mainly focused on my career as a cosmetologist, but with my background in drawing and painting, tattooing was always in the back of my mind. Even after Kirk passed away 10 years ago, I spent time around other tattoo artists and gained more and more interest in doing so myself. I eventually became a licensed tattoo artist as well. My daughter Azure loved having creative parents and spending time in the tattoo shop growing up. It was really her that convinced me to reopen Kirk’s Shop. As Azure got closer to high school graduation, we talked about college, and career goals and she shared that she really wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps as a tattoo artist. Luckily, I had a really good friend in Pigeon Forge, Rhonda Marsh, and she too influenced my goal to make Azure’s dream career a reality. I spent a lot of time with this gal at her business in Tennessee re-familiarizing myself as a tattoo artist. Her shop is extremely busy and well known, as she is located in the heart of Pigeon Forge. In September of 2019 Azure and I reopened the shop as a tribute to Kirk. It was Projekt 73 as his shop because that was the year he was born, and it is now Projekt 71 for my year of birth. Azure hopes to someday name her own shop Projekt 01, so the tradition will continue!
“My tattooing style reflects Neo Traditional mostly depicting elegance and a lot of colors. The palette is rich in hue, and designs vary from flowers, animals, and to jewels. Many of these styles are a preferred design for full tattoo sleeves. One tip I would like to give is: Always research your tattoo artist. Study their portfolio … stop and visit their shop and view their style. We here at Projekt 71 use our Facebook page to highlight our work and individual style. A tattoo is something you don’t want to enter into lightly. You really need to do your homework, as you will live with it for the rest of your live, and it needs to be planned, designed and executed perfectly.”
What type of tattoo artistry is offered at Projekt 71 Tattoo Studio?
“With four tattoo artists on staff; we all have our different areas of expertise. In addition to my Neo Traditional Style, we have the following associates and their specialties:”
Erinn Simmons of West Lafayette has been a part of the tattoo artist arena for 10 years, and a licensed tattoo artist for two years. His style tends to be traditional American/Japanese with instilled flash. Erinn notes one of his favorite tattoo artists is the Legendary Rick Walters whose style is elegant, but also bright and bold. Erinn also focuses on dot work which has a rich history that goes well beyond contemporary culture. Dot work is wide-scope and its meticulous process is a way to add a 3D to tattoos that you don’t get with other traditional ones. It can really enhance an animal or scenery tattoo. Erinn uses this technique in conjunction with line work, and these dots really make the tattooed subjects come alive. Line work involves utilizing marks to create imaginary. Shading adds even more dimension. Some are small and intricate while others are large and graceful. Erinn shares: ‘I am very influenced by Legendary Tattoo Artist, the late Rick Walters. He passed away in 2019, and was known as one of the most influential American traditional tattoo artists in history. Even though his tattooing started at a very early age, it was 1978 when he became manager at Bert Grimm’s World-Famous Tattoo Parlor, which is the oldest continuously operated tattoo parlor in the United States. His legacy will no doubt live on for generations to come. Erinn stresses: “know your tattoo artist – do your research. A tattoo is something permanent, and I know as a tattoo artist – I want you to be happy with that lifelong tattoo.”
Azure Kitzmann, apprentice, is Christie’s daughter. Azure started experimenting with tattooing at age 14. She enjoys tattooing with black and gray and is determined to expand into the use of more color. She has been tattooing as an apprentice since she turned 18. Azure hopes to own her own shop someday. As an apprentice working with her mother, she started out practicing on canvas. Azure states: “It has been very beneficial to use the iPad to draw the tattoos – definitely technology at its best. A part of the apprenticeship is selling the tattoo, setting it up, drawing, and then to price accordingly. My mom is helping me with all aspects that go along with tattooing right now, but very soon, I will be licensed to complete all of these own my own. I love flowers and the traditional artistry. My favorite tattoo personally is one I tattooed on myself – a broken in half skateboard that mirrors a skull. Silly tattoo art can be fun too! I am very grateful for this opportunity to be working with my mom, and following in my father’s footsteps.”
Conner MacDonald, of Coshocton, recently began his apprenticeship at Projekt 71. He is apprenticing under Erinn, and prefers the fine line, black stipple tattoos. This technique uses fine lines and lots of black. He is influenced by anime. Conner shares: “I am so excited to have the opportunity to apprentice with Erinn. It is a great thing when you love what you do for a living. I look forward to learning new techniques, and following the path this journey takes me. I have certainly found my home at Projekt 71”.
What would you like to highlight for us?
“There are many reasons people choose to become tattoo artists. Most of us love drawing, and like to express ourselves in unique ways. It is a profession that allows the use of our talents and skills in a creative way. I am very fortunate to have Erinn, Azure, and Conner as a part of the Projekt 71 team. I love sharing my shop with these three individuals, and also providing an atmosphere for them to express themselves through art, and make a living doing so. Projekt71 is built on respect. We not only respect our clients, but other tattoo artists, and the tattoo tradition.
“There are numerous reasons people desire tattoos, and it’s not to be misunderstood – it is to identify themselves. Tattoos can mark a significant aspect such as their zodiac sign, or to honor a loved one or pet that has passed on. Of course, there are military tattoos too, and that is something to be very proud of. Your inspiration for a tattoo can come from anything you favor personally. They are truly an individual piece of art designed specifically for you. For tattoos with special meaning, please look at what you are drawn to or can relate to, and start there for your inspiration. Tattoos keep memories alive or symbolize your first child or your wedding day. It is an extension of who you are. Verses, sayings, your loved one’s signature – these are all meaningful tributes, and are your life tattooed on your body. The possibilities are endless”.
Did you have some special news you want to share?
“Yes, I do. We will soon be expanding the shop in our current location. We plan to double the square footage. This will help us as we grow even more, and begin offering body piercing. Erinn is currently in this field, and as soon as the shop is licensed, we will be announcing that service.
“Lastly, I am so proud and happy to announce my daughter will complete her apprenticeship right in time to celebrate her 20th birthday on May 8. She has worked so very hard for this moment, and is realizing her lifetime goals. I know her Dad would be so proud of her hard work, sweat, and maybe even some tears shed in achieving this milestone.”