The story of this company starts with it's founder Michael "Original Smitty" Smith from Anchorage Alaska. First apprenticed into tattoo in 1974 by second generation tattooer "Bud "Craig, Smitty began tattooing in Anchorage until 1982.
Moving to Seattle in the winter of 1982 Smitty opened his first tattoo shop called "Artistic Tattoo" in the Greenwood district. After only a year that shop closed as Smitty then realized the tattoo knowledge learned from Bud just wasn't enough in the city of rich tattoo history and talent like Seattle.
In the winter of 1984 the big break came with a spot at the world famous Seattle Tattoo Emporium then at 1106 Pike St. between downtown and Capitol Hill. Under the tutelage and watchful eye of P.A. Stephens a second apprenticeship occurred. While there, Smitty was given the best tattoo knowledge possible at the time, as P.A. was known around the world by all of the best tattooist of the time as possibly "the best tattooist you've never heard of!" As a result Smitty was fortunate to meet, work around and learn from many of the best tattooers of the time who came to do guest spots at the Emporium or interacted with us at conventions, which were few at the time. Names such as Mike "Rollo" Malone, Henning Jorgensen, Claude Ponteau, Fillip Leu, Suzzane Fauser, Bill Salmon, Ed Hardy, Sailor Moses, Bill Liberty, Jonathan Shaw, Philadelphia Eddie, Spider Webb, and many others of note.
From 1986-1988 Smitty tattooed at Ace Tattoo Tacoma with the great Rio Degennaro (who was a second generation tattooer, son of Lew Lewis of the famous Longbeach Pike shop in California). Also an unforgettable learning experience, as well as, another opportunity to meet the greats of our past through Rio. Tattooers and collectors like Elizabeth Weinzurl, Colorful Krystine, Madam Lazonga, Don Deaton, Dewey, Bones Malone, "Three Finger" Jack, Jack Hunt and "Irish" Chris as well as many more colorful, creative eccentric people.
From 1988-1992 Smitty managed the Everett Tattoo Emporium for P.A. Stephens. There working with many other tattooers of note, "Scary" Dave Shore, Terry Tweed, Rollo, Liora Mugrabi, Pierre Z'Berg. as well as apprenticing into tattoo several artists before leaving the company.
From 1992-1998 Smitty found himself tattooing back in the hometown of Anchorage Alaska! The shop name there was "Alaska Tattoo". Those were fun years and it was there that Smitty apprenticed into tattooing several artists who tattoo today from Alaska to Las Vegas to Florida, such as, Kerry Linden, Clae Welch, Lewie Hess, and Dano Stephens. These were the years that saw Smitty winning most of his tattoo awards at various shows, as well as getting published into most of the tattoo magazines of those times, such as Easyrider Tattoo, International Tattoo Art, Outlaw Biker Tattoo and Skin & Ink. It was also during this time that tattoo artists such as Marcus Pacheco, Liora Mugrabi and Tony Callan came up to tattoo and hang out with us for the beautiful Alaskan summer. That was a truly awesome time! It was then time to return to Washington State, which had always been rich in tattoo history.
In 1999 Smitty moved to Bremerton Washington and started Smitty's Place Tattoo on April 1st. Smitty's Place Tattoo has been here since, with Smitty and crew and cast of hundreds. 23 plus years and going strong! Now Bremerton's longest operating tattoo shop!