Had some great work done by Sketch at Body Rites in Five Points, but he's gone now. Found Don at Last Rebel and claimed he could do a similar level of work. Having recently doled out $700 for a tribal shoulder that still needs re-work due to being rushed (if you can call 7+ hours "rushed") at another Columbia palor claiming (and even being reviewed as having) quality work, I was more than a bit frustrated.
I was looking for a high quality artist that had the time, interest and talent to take my concepts seriously and then actually delivery the goods from artistry and sanitation to concern with after-care and end results. I live out toward Sumter but work in West Columbia and had seen the "new" Last Rebel parlor when going to the Piggly Wiggly for chow.
When by buddy and I failed to have our calls or emails returned from our artist or secretary at the "other place," and then riding up in person only to find the facility closed to us with a cop outside the door I suggested we try someone else.
Since my friend was game we gave the Last Rebel a call, was answered by a friendly, if not eager, female voice who immediately gave us to Don. He asked if we'd had other work done and by whom. When I mentioned Sketch, he immediately knew and approved his work and claimed he could do at least as well and invited us to come down and see his work for ourselves. I noted he didn't bad-mouth the parlor we were having difficulty with, but instead stressed the positives. This was heartening giving my frustration and my buddy's nervousness since this was to be his first tattoo.
Upon arrival we found the place very clean, bright and comfortably laid out. We were warmly welcomed and attended to despite everyone still being busy with previous work. Don took time to come out, show us his portfolio and other photos he had on his phone of more recent work. We were both impressed enough to hang out. Our wives were with us and we all found we enjoyed the decor, company and didn't mind waiting (despite the heavy metal music).
Don came out again to look over our design concepts, recommend some aesthetic changes on two designs and a complete re-direction on a third (for my friend) to give it more detail (to include going out to photograph my buddy's motorcycle since it would be an integral part of the tattoo). He then asked my friend to hold off on that tat till he could work the design up and concentrated on the two we each wanted that night.
5+ hours later (Don stayed open till 1AM top finish us both) we left having had a wonderfully executed session (x2), great looking and intricate tribal forearms and a knowledge that we BOTH would be back and recommending Don to our friends. His work was as promised. He paid great attention to detail and was skilled at his craft. The artistry is as good as I've seen anywhere and his talent at portraiture and realistic detail were on par with the best, though neither of us needed that sort of work that evening. Yet he gave us as much attention to our smaller less intrinsic art work with the same devotion as I'm assuming he'd have given a reproduction of a DaVinci painting. It showed and we were appreciative.
We are older and mature patrons who are NOT given to being beguiled by a nice parlor or a sales pitch, of which he has both. The difference is that Don fully delivered what he had promised and more. His prices are more than fair. His work is excellent. His pride in that work if highly evident. While new to us, his work is on par with some of the best I've seen (and one piece I wear). This place, at least with Don as your artist, is definitely worth giving your business. In fact the ONLY hesitation I have in writing this review is that it might lead to it being more difficult for us to get in to see him next time!
In a time of rough economics and tight money you can rest assured your hard earned money will not be wasted with this young man. Tell him "Cage" recommended you visit.