Shop in downtown Estacada nears its second year in business

by: NEWS PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Jake Ellzey prepares a preliminary design for a client. When Jake Ellzey first opened Nolan’s Tattoo Parlor in downtown Estacada, people made bets that he wouldn’t make it any more than a couple of months.

But this June will mark its second year of operations.

“It was definitely a different business to have in a small town,” Ellzey said. “People thought I was crazy.”

Of course, Ellzey had a few competitive advantages he could count on. One was that the next nearest tattoo shop is 12 miles away. Another is that he had an extensive background as an artist.

“I have my own little niche here,” Ellzey said.

Ellzey, 35, earned a degree in illustrative design from the Art Institute of Seattle in 1999. That led to stints as a toy designer in the Los Angeles area for five years and as a storyboard artist for a Denver-based advertising agency.

by: NEWS PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Jake Ellzey prepares a preliminary design for a client. A friend suggested to Ellzey that he open a tattoo parlor after moving to the area to be close to his family in Eagle Creek.

Since then, Ellzey has done more than 1,000 tattoos. The first one he ever did was on himself, for the sake of quality control. It was a tattoo of iconic pinup Marilyn Monroe, which he still has on his leg.

Ellzey boasts a sleeve of tattoos on his right arm. He said that the arm is the most common spot for people to get tattoos, and flower designs tend to be very popular.

Around half of his clients know what kind of design they want in advance.

“They put their trust in me to put a nice piece of artwork on their body,” Ellzey said.

Peoples’ reactions to the process of being tattooed also vary. Women tend to be stronger individuals, he said. Some people have shed tears while getting inked up, and a few have had literally zero reaction.

“There have only been a handful of those, though,” Ellzey said.

The Nolan in the shop’s title is derived from Ellzey’s middle name, which runs in the family and goes back several generations.

By now, after two years in the business, Ellzey can see many instances of his work walking around on the streets of Estacada.

“It’s self-promotion, really,” he said.

The price of tattoos at Nolan’s depends on their size, color and placement. Ellzey’s basic rate is $75 per hour, but he will provide quotes for potential clients.

For more information, call Nolan’s Tattoo Parlor at 503-680-0118 or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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