I recently wrote a blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine about my friend CW Neese, the founder of Royal Street Tattoo. Here’s a short exert:
“I still remember the first time I ever saw CW Neese. He lived in Daphne, Alabama when I was a kid, and was a few years older than me. One day a few friends of mine and I went by my friend Jonah’s house. At the time, a band his brother was in was having a practice, which for us being young kids getting into punk rock, it was a big deal to see. A skinny kid, with black tattoos all over him, and pad locks in his ears came out screaming like Jello Biafra. I remember being like, “That is awesome, that is what I wanna be one day.” That was CW Neese.
Years later I had moved to Birmingham and started to get heavily tattooed. My friends here at home also started to get a few tattoos here and there, from CW. They would talk to him about me because I was getting so tattooed so fast, and he told them that he wanted to tattoo me. I visited home once and they relayed the message, so I stopped by the shop he worked at. It’s still so funny when I think about the first words we really ever spoke.
I walked in the shop, and I asked, “You CW?”,
“yea” he replied,
“I heard you want to tattoo me” I said,
“sure” He replied.
He drew up an awesome poison girl, which is still one of my favorite tattoos to this day.
When I was finishing my apprenticeship I came down to Mobile to visit and he told me all about his apprentice, Pony (who is now one of my best friends and a huge influence on my tattooing). From there it was years again until I saw CW. I was down in Mobile visiting, and some friends of mine where out at a restaurant. Out of no where I heard his epic radio voice, and anyone who knows CW knows that his voice precedes him. We talked for a minute, caught up, and went back to eating. On his way out he ran up to me with a fortune from a fortune cookie he had just gotten, it said, “A run in with an old friend will begin a life long family”. He handed it to me all excited and smiling, and I still have it to this day.
CW founded Royal Street in 2007, and I started doing guest spots at Royal Street not too long after it opened, and started working here about a year later. I was at a place in my life where I needed Royal Street, and am so thankful to this day I got to be here.
Anyone who has been around CW can tell you he has a way about him. He has a voice you would hear on radio, and can be intense, and will say things that have a way of changing your life. It’s always the little things he adds, little words that end up being part of such larger ideas, and it’s talking to him that helps remind me of my passion and love of tattooing. So, without further ado, here’s how CW Neese got into tattooing, in his words.”
Check out more at here at TAM blog
Thanks again Tattoo Artist Magazine for letting me share CW’s story.