Yeah, yeah, yeah -- seems like the RFT
is too damn lazy to do anything other than stroll across Delmar and extol the virtues of the neighborhood tat emporium. But for this year's contest, we did some scientific shopping. Armed with a custom-tat concept that's been buzzing around the brainpan for two or three years -- a leering, semi-anatomically-correct heart framed by a horseshoe of black thorns -- we shopped three tat shops: Trader Bob's on Jefferson Avenue, Craig's Tattoos on Lemay Ferry Road and Iron Age. We tossed them the idea, then judged the three proposals. The best was Drew Arno's work at Iron Age; he took the concept and really made it fly, creating a face for the heart that was part leering joker, part glowering death's-head. This in front of a flaming background that could charbroil a Kansas City strip to perfection. Arno's design also walked the line between old-school flash and modern preferences for tribal and Asian influences. Clearly the boy got into the work.