Quinn's dedication and intense work ethic paid off. In 2009, he and co-owner Kevin Adams split off to form Black Eagle Tattoo. They first located their shop in South Charleston, but when Danny's Ancient Art went down in history, they decided to move back to the same Kanawha City location where Quinn got his start.
With an investment of time and money, they remodeled the studio into something that resembles a trendy lounge more than the tattoo parlors of old.
Today, the front room of Black Eagle is full of name-brand clothing choices and glass displays of body jewelry. Luxe couches are scattered around and there are always a few people hanging out considering their next works of body art.
With the ever-increasing popularity of tattooing, due in part to the reality TV trend, Quinn wants to keep the art safe for everyone. Before getting a tattoo, he recommends customers ask to see the artist's license and the shop's last health department inspection.
It is even possible to check the expiration dates on everything that is sterilized, he said. But, most important, you need to be comfortable with the artist, their safety protocol and the quality of work they are producing. A tattoo is permanent.
"There is one thing that people need to understand. Just because you are walking into a professional tattoo studio doesn't mean that the artist is doing professional-quality work. Not just drawings in a book, you want to see work on skin," he advised. "That speaks volumes of what they're capable of.
"I have heard of people getting tattooed by the apprentice and not knowing they were an apprentice."
Quinn and a few fellow artists around the state are lobbying for more stringent regulation of their profession, including policies that would require apprenticeships, cross-contamination training, and firm protocols in place before someone can pierce the skin.
As celebrities begin to openly sport bigger, more colorful tattoos, the demand for Quinn's talent continues to grow. His work has been featured in several national publications, including International Tattoo Art, Tattoo Magazine, and Skin and Ink.
Quinn also did a nationwide tour last year performing guest spots in studios and at conventions across the country.
These days, the average wait time to get an appointment with him is about three weeks.
After just five years in an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds, Quinn and Adams are expanding their focus with a new shop in Florida, where Adams is originally from, and plans to open a Hurricane location.
A 2010 Pew Research study found 32 percent of people ages 30 to 45 have at least one tattoo. Quinn doesn't see that trend slowing anytime soon.
"I think it will probably take another generation before people slow down. Right now, with it being as mainstream as it is, it is on the television, all the celebrities have tattoos, kids are going to keep emulating celebrities," he said.
"There will come another generation that decides they want to be different by not getting tattooed and pierced, but I am not looking forward to that day."
Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopk...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.