When Daniel “Dado” Drljic was asked if he would have his picture taken for a newspaper story, he said sure. Then he massaged his face and felt a five o’clock shadow.
“My mom would kill me if she saw me in the newspaper and I hadn’t shaved,” said the 34-year-old Bosnian refugee before reaching into a jar and pulling out a pink disposable razor and cleaning up the whiskers around his thin goatee.
The razor was one that would have otherwise been used to prep a customer at Drljic’s newly opened Lyn-Lake tattoo shop, Supreme Inks, 3004 Lyndale Ave. S.
But Dado, as he is called, wasn’t working on customers on a Tuesday afternoon. He was out to bid a mural project across the street. For Dado, tattoos aren’t just a way to make money, they’re art, and like his drawings and murals, he wants to share them with the community.
“It’s more providing the neighborhood with a new art attraction and less of a tattoo shop. This is not your typical tattoo shop where you’re going to walk in and (see) old school, hardcore, biker-types. You know what I’m saying? Leather and smelly armpits and beer in the air,” he said. “This is a tattoo shop that will fit this neighborhood, that will provide this neighborhood with artwork, true artwork.”
Dado has spent the past nine years inking skin in a few different Twin Cities tattoo shops. He spent three years as an apprentice under Winfield Green, owner of Tattoo Asylum in Spring Lake Park.
His experience as an artist, however, spans even longer. He painted murals in Germany, where he lived with his family from 1993 to 1994 after war broke out in Bosnia. He also did a mural at Lake Street East and 14th Avenue South.
When he came to the United States in 1994 he went to Minneapolis Community and Technical College for culinary arts.
Dado spent several years working as a manager at Falafel King, 701 W. Lake St.
Interestingly, his tattoo shop is a small piece of the restaurant he used to manage. He’s leasing enough room for one chair in what used to be a small dining area of the restaurant. In fact, his tattoo chair sits on a spot where he used to eat dinner with his son.
Supreme Inks can be reached at 612-636-6354.