Popeye’s: Old-School Feel to New Ink

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Article Contributed by
Faith Gibbons

For CHQ native, Todd Alexander, art has always been a large part of his life, and he has always treated it as a priority. In 1996 he began what would end up being a 24-year stretch traveling and showcasing his art throughout the country. “I had $150 in my pocket and back then the arts community was difficult to get into. If you didn’t have an ‘in’ with the arts counsel, you weren’t working. I was told I would never make it as an artist, and it was suggested to me that I find a ‘regular job,’ and I thought to myself ‘I’m going to show them.’”

Alexander was commissioned to paint interior murals in various major nightclubs across the country, reaching from California to North Carolina. “Budweiser even hired me to go in and paint several nightclubs in different cities in Kansas. My largest one being a 100ft mural with Louie the Lizard and the Budweiser Frogs.’”

After the mural work, Alexander went on to creating art in a wide variety of other forms- from airbrushing t-shirts, helmets, and Matco toolboxes, to designing World Tour t-shirts for the Eagles and John Mellencamp, to designing the 1993 album cover for the 10,000 Maniacs, to airbrushing racecar vehicles and motorcycles. “I’ve airbrushed at least 300 motorcycles in my time, and eventually I just got sick of the fumes and the lifestyles I was intertwining with.”

When he stopped airbrushing, he ventured into a new journey as a tattoo artist. Though his time tattooing has been brief, he is well-achieved in his art career and quickly grew to have a passion for it. “People had been telling me since the beginning of my art career that I should be doing tattoos, and for the longest time I said no, but I picked up a tattoo machine for the first time about a month ago, and it came as easy to me as a fish in water. I fell in love with it.”

On $1,200 and a newfound dream, Alexander began the process of creating his own workspace here in Western New York. “The village of Lakewood has been so receptive to me, and I’m so happy to be here. I want to run a tight ship, and I want this to be a personable shop where people can come and feel at home, and feel safe. I don’t want that dark undertone you get when you go to most tattoo shops.”

Alexander plans to focus on simplistic, neo-traditional, nautical, and photo-realistic styles of artwork.

Popeye’s Old School Tattoo Shop is said to open between the 10th and the 12th of this month.

As of now, shop hours are as follows: 11am to 8pm Tuesday through Friday, 9am to 11pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays and Mondays. To schedule an appointment, you can reach Alexander at (716) 490-2967.