Slave to the Needle: 20 Years of Original Art from a Celebrated Seattle Tattoo Shop

We are pleased to announce, in honor of our 20th anniversary, the release of Slave to the Needle: 20 Years of Original Art from a Celebrated Seattle Tattoo Shop. Slave to the Needle is very proud of this retrospective, and consider it a vital component to any serious collector’s library. Click here for a full description. Available at both Slave to the Needle locations, and at your local book shop.


2015 Holiday Gift Exchange

Our annual holiday event was, as usual, a real inspiration for us all. It was a great reminder of the high level of talent that exists among our crew. We all got together to celebrate and give thanks to another great year while participating in our annual tradition of the White Elephant gift exchange. Many of us went home with some great new works of art to adorn our walls with. Here are a few of the highlights. See more on our Facebook page

a few of the great pieces that were done this year

a few of the great pieces that were done this year

Mondial du Tatouage Paris March 2016

Aaron and Melissa Bell will once again be attending the fabulous Mondial du Tatouage taking place in Paris March 4-6 2016. This is by far one of the best shows in Europe! Hope to see you there…

mondial 2

New Aaron Bell sketchbook now available

Aaron Bell Japanese Tattoo Designs & Sketches Best of vol. 1 & 2

This new book features the best from previous volumes, and has a bunch of new material. Lots of usable reference here. Now available with free shipping in our online of

Slave to the Needle celebrates 20 years in Seattle

Gallery Axis in the historic Pioneer Square district of Seattle was the location for this summer’s main event. Aaron Bell started slave to the Needle in 1995. On August 1st, in celebration, Slave to the needle hosted a fully catered party, which coincided with the Slave 20 group art show. Slave 20, made up of 20 resident and guest artists from both Slave to the Needle locations, consisted of and array of full bodysuit and backpiece designs. There were approximately 250 clientele and close friends who came from far and near to help Aaron and Malissa celebrate this milestone. Some of the familiar names in the crowd were Manuel Valenzuela, Jeff Gogue, Bob Tyrrell, Vyvyn Lazonga, Mal from Tokyo, Anna Paige, Bill Funk, and Ms Mikki, who drove her bike up from Portland. Local artists Tim Mcarthy, and Damon Conklin—as well as other Slave to the Needle veterans—stopped by to acknowledge Aaron’s milestone as well. All the artists from Slave To The Needle’s Wallingford and the Ballard Shops came by to view their art on the walls and be an iatrical part of the celebration. Artists like Andrea Ottlewski, Andrew Snowdon, Chris Thompson, Clark Kent, Daniel Charneski, Eli Bischof, Elijah Cole, Greg Colligan, Honest Jon, John Fitzgerald, Jon Gilbert, Josh Martin, Josh Schwegel, Kiwi Matt, Kristjan Olson, Levi Polizin, Lindsey Lawson and Rok were all in attendance. It was a fantastic event! Sunday the out of towners congregated at Aaron and Melissa’s for a barbeque that Manuel Valenzuela and his girlfriend Cresha prepared, and it did not disappoint. Food, leftover kegs, and floating on the lake were a perfect cure for the hangovers. Congratulations to both Aaron and Melissa Bell and the entire Slave to the Needle crew for a job well done. We’ll see you in another 20 years. View event photo album on FB here. —Richard Todd11822838_10153518447299441_759371677007089757_n 11813482_10153518447294441_6840602762130337803_n 11825022_10153520750074441_3529772043698436820_n

Best of Seattle by Seattle Weekly

“Walking into either of Slave to the Needle’s two Seattle shops will put anyone looking for some new ink at ease. The space is as artful as its many artists, who are led by Aaron Bell, an old Orange County punk who found his way to Seattle, where he opened the Ballard location in 1995. (A Wallingford locale was added in 2005.) The shop will do whatever you like, but specializes in large-scale custom work, 20 pieces of which will be on display at Axis Gallery in Pioneer Square this month to celebrate Slave’s 20th anniversary (the opening reception is Thurs., Aug. 6, 5–9 p.m.). 403 N.E. 45th St., 545-3685; 508 N.W. 65th St., 789-2618,” —Seattle Weekly


Here’s a list of some of Seattle’s other winners. Congratulations to all!

National Nicest Studio Award 2015

nicest studio pic

We’re very pleased to have received the National Tattoo Association’s Nicest Studio award at the 36th annual tattoo convention in Orlando Florida. Thanks to the NTA members, our great crew, and all of our wonderful customers for making this possible!

Tattoo Masters

I was super honored to be featured in Tattoo Flash’s special edition magazine ‘Tattoo Masters’. They stuck me right in there next to many of my tattoo heroes! Thank you so much to the long time editor of Tattoo Magazine, Frenchie Nilsen, and to everyone else who has supported me over the years… you’re the best!!!

Here’s a link to one of the longest (if not ‘the’ longest) running tattoo magazines around: Paisano Publications

New Piercer at Slave in Ballard!

We’d like to welcome a new piercer at Ballard: Justin Ellis… our old lead-counter assistant! Justin has been with us for many, many years, and although we hate to lose such a great counter person, we’re very happy to gain a 3rd piercer. Justin has been working hard under the fine tutelage of Josh Noble, one of our senior piercers. We will post more information as to when Justin will be starting. I think you’ll find him very professional, and personable… we sure do!