Established in 1997, Body Language Tattoo stands strong

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

One of the oldest businesses in Cheney–Body Language Tattoo–focuses on maintaining a welcoming environment and reasonable prices.

The shop has been around in Cheney for 21 years, individually owned and ran by tattoo artist Gary Short. Short has nearly four decades of experience in the art of tattooing and has traveled throughout the years, coast to coast, doing what he loves.

Short began his journey tattooing 37 years ago, practicing work on his own skin.

“I was in a state that it was illegal to do tattoos, because of germs and stuff like that, and I just started doing them because I wanted tattoos on myself,” said Short. “So I started working on myself and then all my friend wanted me to starting working on them. I ended up just going from there.”

Shorts’s preferred style is described as old school and fine line.

“It’s basically where they went from a flat line to a skinny line and there’s more detail,” said Short. “The old stuff was pretty much just lines and color the new school stuff was more detailed oriented, so you could see better what it was.”

He charges $75 an hour with a $50 minimum, compared to other artists in the area ranging from $120 to $150 an hour. Short chooses to have his prices lower than other competing shops throughout Spokane county because it’s what he considers fair.

“I do this ‘cause I love doing it, I wouldn’t still be doing it if I didn’t dig it. I don’t know, I can’t see myself going so high on the prices because I don’t feel like that’s fair. I’m in a college town, I gotta make it fair and affordable for the kids. I think people get a little carried away on the prices on stuff sometimes.”

Almost every gap on the walls inside the shop is filled with pictures of tattoos, posters of artwork and newspaper article cutouts that represent Short’s history in the tattooing industry. With everything on the walls, Short is able to tell a story or find a meaning behind it.

“It’s really friendly, I come in here and it’s just like coming in with open arms,” said Austin Malmoe, a regular customer that’s been coming to the shop for the last 3 years. “I mean he’s here to talk to you or if you need ideas he just goes beyond. I like coming in here. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere.”

Long-time tattooing is know to wear on the hands of tattooers over time. Luckily for Short his hands have yet to show any sign of damage.

“37 years so far, still digging it and my hands are still good,” said Short. “Not many people really hang in there that long.”

Short also does every kind of body piercing having 19 years of experience.

The busy season for the shop is typically during the fall season or the beginning of every quarter when students return to school. The shop is open from Tuesday through Saturday from noon-8 p.m. and located at 507 1st Street.