December 2020

Mask Up for the Protection of Your Clients and Staff

It’s official — wearing a mask not only protects others from your expelled respiratory droplets, it protects you as well, according to new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But what type of mask will offer you and others the best protection from any novel coronavirus circulating in the air?

Medical experts advise using a minimum two-ply mask — a three-ply mask is even better.

Stay away from bandanas and gaiter masks unless that’s all that’s available. A recent study found both types to be the least effective in terms of protection. 

In addition to level of filtration, pay attention to fit. You want the mask to go over the bridge of the nose, below the chin and be flush on the face, resting along the skin. You want your breath going through the filter media and not escaping out the sides.

Cloth masks with high thread counts are an excellent choice, according to the new guidance from the CDC.

Look for a tight weave of 100% cotton, according to studies. Use the light test to check the weave: If you can easily see the outline of the individual fibers when you hold up the mask to the light, it’s not likely to be effective.

You want as many layers as possible without sacrificing breathability — if you can’t breathe though it, you won’t keep the mask on your face. Two- and three-layer masks appear to do the trick for most people.

According to the CDC, “multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering nearly 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron.”

That’s good news — studies have detected SARS‐CoV‐2 in aerosols between 1 and 4 microns.

In addition, studies have found that multilayer cloth masks can block between 50% and 80% of fine droplets and particles, and “limit the forward spread of those that are not captured,” the CDC said, “with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control.”


The CDC says that polypropylene, one of the most commonly produced plastics in the world, may “enhance filtering effectiveness” because it creates a triboelectric charge — or in simple terms, static cling.

That electrical static traps both your outgoing respiration and any droplets headed your way from others. Because cotton is a more comfortable fabric on the skin, polypropylene is often used as filters that can be placed inside of a two- or three-ply mask.

Washing kills the electrical charge, but don’t worry. A brisk rub between your fingers should bring back that “clingy” charge.

A very breathable option, according to the CDC, is silk, which “may help repel moist droplets, and reduce fabric wetting and thus maintain breathability and comfort.”

A study published in September examined the ability of cotton, polyester and silk to repeal moisture when used in masks or as mask inserts.

“We found that silk face coverings repelled droplets in spray tests as well as disposable single-use surgical masks,” the authors wrote, adding that silk masks “can be more breathable than other fabrics that trap humidity, and are re-useable via cleaning.”

That brings up an important point: To avoid trapping germs that might irritate your face or reduce the mask’s effectiveness, reusable masks should be washed daily with soap and hot water. Don’t wear the mask again until it’s completely dry — it’s harder to breathe though wet fabric.

“If you use a filter in your mask, be sure to change it regularly because it can clog. You can tell if it gives you a sensation that’s a little harder to breathe,” said Emory’s Sexton.

Jennifer “Jen” Dennison 

Age: 36 


Shop: The Steel Paintbrush 


Location: Hamilton, MT 


Years Tattooing: 7 


Style/Specialty: Stylistically my work is illustrative. I can’t say that I only do one style of tattooing specifically, but I prefer to tattoo illustrative pieces. I really enjoy designing and tattooing ornamental pieces, as well as black and grey realism.  I definitely like to play on textures when tattooing, using different techniques to add texture to different elements within the design, from smooth transitions to stippling.  I really enjoy mixing styles and techniques for expanding my overall artistic renditions. 


What originally brought you into tattooing? 


I studied Art at the University of Montana and have always had a strong natural talent for art and design. As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the art of tattooing and the symbolism of how one can translate an idea artistically onto the skin. Once I graduated from college, I realized that I wanted to use my art skills to create one-of-a-kind pieces for people to enjoy and felt that tattooing was the best way to get my art into the world. 



Favorite Inks and Machines? 


Current favorite machine is the Axys Valhala rotary pen. Current favorite ink is Eternal 


Biggest Influence/Inspiration? 


Every person that I meet that wants to be tattooed by me has been a huge part of my growth and learning experience. I am a self-taught tattoo artist and am learning and growing with every tattoo that I complete. Some of my inspiration comes from graphic art, classical and contemporary themes. I am really inspired by creating designs that fit the form and bring dynamic imagery to my clients’ skin. I can’t say that I have a specific artist that inspires me; I feel that all art and artists have elements that inspire my design and tattoos. I currently work with three other artists at my studio and I find that they help to inspire me by pushing me harder to learn new skills artistically. We constantly critique our work and push our boundaries to make our art more dynamic and interesting to view. 


Favorite Part of the Tattoo Process? 


I love the entire tattoo process, from the initial consultation, to the stencil placement and then the finished product. I really enjoy the reaction of my clients when they see this finished tattoo. It’s a very humbling experience to bring an idea to life that resonates a story or emotion and how it affects the viewer. 

Talk to us about aftercare and your association with Ink Defense 


Aftercare is incredibly important! I try and be a valuable resource to my clients about effective aftercare procedures. I recommend my clients wear Saniderm wrap for the first 24 hours, then after that time is up, I give them the options to reapply another piece or remove it and follow traditional aftercare: wash 2x a day and apply an ointment like Ink Defense a few times a day to alleviate dryness and protect the fresh tattoo.  


I am a pro team member for Ink Defense and highly recommend this product to all of my clients. I have used this product on my new tattoos as well, and prefer it over a water-based lotion — it doesn’t clog pores and leaves the tattoo feeling soothed during its healing. 


Biggest reward of being a tattoo artist? 


Creating art for others to enjoy for a lifetime, and creating a piece of art that is so specific and intimate for the individual is incredibly gratifying and truly the best experience. I cannot express how fortunate I am to have such wonderful artists who work at my studio and how amazing our clients are.   

Instagram: thesteelpaintbrush  



Home, Home on the Range

Saskatchewan’s Nomadic Tattoo Co. Thrives Against all Odds 


“Maple Creek is very old school, very traditional, very . . . conservativeMany here have never left to experience big city living. The town motto is ‘Where past is present.’”  


Nothing in his description of the town in which he works and lives suggests there would be fertile ground for a tattoo business to take root. And the more he talks, the less likely the situation becomes. A town of just over 2,000, heavily controlled by a traditionalist, faith based communityisn’t exactly an optimal place for an atheist covered in ink and piercings to stake his fortune. Yet, this is where Sean Barnard and his wife, Kalee have decided to open Nomadic Tattoo Co. and raise their four children.  


It’s a matter of roots. Sean spent his life in a state of perpetual motion, having lived in 17 multiple cities in three different provinces and one territory (hence the name, Nomadic). Kalee, on the other hand, grew up here in Saskatchewan just forty minutes from Maple Creek. It made sense—and they make it work.  


But as small a town as it is and as much as it is like every other rural prairie neighborhoodMaple Creek is practically a metropolis by comparison to the surrounding region.  


Saskatchewan is unfathomably sparse. Most of the dots on the map are little more than villages; sleepy clusters of aging homes and anachronistically quaint businesses that serve as a rusty hub for the farmers spread across the sprawling countryside. The numbers in these villages rarely break triple digits and paved roads are a luxury. The lines on the map that connect the dots are more often than not comprised of gravel and are tread upon by hoof and paw as often as tire.  


In between, there are the prairies; a dusty spattering of rolling hills, hidden valleys, and gaping canyons straight out of a cowboy fantasy, far more populated by coyotes, antelopes, deer, buffalo and prairie dogs than humankind. The vastness of this land is only dwarfed by the infinity of the night sky.  


Sean may have technically undergone his apprenticeship in Vancouver, but this is the backdrop that has molded him as an artist. Operating within a town largely disinterested and occasionally hostile to his trade, he doesn’t have the luxury of developing a specialty or turning down work he feels is beneath him. As a result, versatility has become his specialty.  


“I have to be a jack of all trades and master of none,” he offers humbly. “I have to be able to take anything that comes in the door and adapt just to pay my bills, feed my family and occasionally do the pieces that I want to do . . . If all I did was what I absolutely loved to do, I would be unable to operate a viable tattoo shop. I wouldn’t have any clients. That’s the reality.” 


It’s a mixed bag, according to Sean. He admits to an occasional surge of jealousy over artists in population centers who are able to develop an artistic niche for themselves, but he also acknowledges the value of the education life has gifted him.  


“I think it’s cool to be able to jump around from style to style . . . be able to take on some more interesting projects and tackle some things that I honestly have no business doing. The challenge is fun in itself.” 


Even with his willingness to tackle anything that comes his way, the survival of the business demands they reach far beyond the confines of their old school town. Luckily, they are able to do just that.  


“I would say that 96% (if not more) of my clients are driving an hour or more to come see me,” he says. “I’m overwhelmingly humbled by their loyalty. I know there are better artists out there, but they insist on coming to me. Meanwhile, I’ve been in Maple Creek for five years now and I’ve tattooed maybe 17 people who actually live here.” 


As far as the trade we traditionally think of as tattooing, Sean’s a one-man operation. However, rounding out the business is wife, Kalee, who has recently begun offering permanent make up services. Between the two of them, they make ends meet and provide a comfortable life for their four children, but it’s not always easy, especially in the post-Covid world.  


“Covid-19 has thrown a really big curve ball into everything,” Sean laments. “The cost of everything has gone up. I wish someone would step in and talk about price gouging because it’s getting ridiculous. A nine-dollar box of gloves is now 25-30 bucks. A box of masks that were 12 bucks are now 60 bucks.” 


It’s even more strenuous on their family life. Pandemic protocols require that they work separate shifts, taking one client at a time by appointment only. As a result, one of them is almost always working while the other is playing full time parent to the kids. They’re taking it in stride, though, and continually making all the pieces work. And while Sean and Kalee take an enormous amount of pride in how they treat their clients, Sean makes it clear what the real priorities are.  


“We’re a family business,” he states unapologetically. “I make it a point to take as much contact info as possible when a client books with me because if one of my kids gets sick, I’m going to cancel on you and reschedule. You can bet on that.”  


“At the end of the day,” he caps of with a chuckle, “to be honest with you, I just do me and if you don’t like it . . . well . . . fuck, that’s just me! 


November 2020 Welcome

November. Holiday gorging. Purge-esque shopping experiences. A choice between a touchy-feely, possibly senile turd of an old man and a touchy-feely, definitely senile turd of an old man. It’s good to be alive and in America, folks.  


But let’s not go down the rabbit hole of the socio-political bitchfest. Leave that to the Facebook trolls and Twitter-twats. Let’s talk about what’s going on in our world. By that, we mean let’s reiterate what we announced last month and make sure we get it locked in your noggin.  


Person to person contact is tough in the post-covid world. To help ease the strain, PAIN has created a new platform to help you stock up on the supplies you need without having to leave your house – or even wear pants. It’s called SHOP PAIN Magazine and it’s the easiest way to stay liquid on all of your body modification needs. Check it out at [URL]. 


Meanwhile, happy Thanksgiving, happy Black Friday and the happiest of Holiday Season kickoffs!