“These red punk boots are my signature. You will see them on several of my tattoos," says tattoo artist Eddie Oakes. Oakes is also a punk rocker who plays guitar with the Dirty Politicians. He resembles a stocky and shorter version of WWE Superstar, the Undertaker. For the last three years Oakes has worked at Dogstar Tattoo, a fixture on Durham’s Ninth Street since 1997.
Dogstar Tattoo, which caters to the avant-garde cultural tastes of Duke University’s students, was the brainchild of store owner Kathryn Moore-Gossett.
On this Wednesday afternoon, 20 year-old Clark Barnett of Kokomo, Indiana arrives at Dogstar hoping Eddie will be working. Barnett plans to drive to Atlanta for the Beer Olympics, a hardcore punk festival.
Barnett is a fan of the punk group Patriot, a popular, but now defunct band that Oakes used to be the lead singer of.
Barnett wants a tattoo from Oakes himself. He is in luck. Oakes is working.
As Oakes prepares his tools, he and Barnett talk punk culture. Oakes says a lot of his customers are punks.
"I love tattooing,” he says, “because I meet people from all walks of life. I enjoy the art form. This is not a boring desk job.”
Barnett is getting his 20th tattoo. And Oakes is beginning his last tattoo of the day — the logo of Patriot, his old punk band.