Sacred Fire Tattoos and studio owner/artist Dig (formerly Dig) has been featured in print publications many times. What follows are some of those articles.
Conde Nast is a premier travel and vacation resource. Sacred Fire Tattoos was just recognized as one of their Top Profile Companies on the website. An excerpt from their comments:
"High-quality, superior custom tattoo art, performed in an ultra clean, relaxing environment. Dig, the artist, is unique in both the cleanliness with which he maintains his shop, as well as the serene, peaceful, easy atmosphere he helps to provide."
Kudos is a local Northern Arizona Arts and Entertainment publication. Sacred Fire Tattoos was awarded the Reader's Choice Award consistently from 2006 through 2010. Here’s a clip from the 2006-2007 award article.
"The Award for 'Best Tattoo Shop' goes to: Sacred Fire Tattoos. Some folks call them 'tattoos', Sacred Fire Tattoos' owner, Dig, refers to it as 'body art'.
Dig is adamant about sterilization. 'I have maximum safety in mind. The gloves are a rule and the primary measure of protection. The surgical apron, face mask and eye protection are an extension of that.' The Coconino County of Health agrees, consistently giving Sacred Fire Tattoos its highest rating.
Consultations with Dig are by appointment. You can reach him at Sacred Fire Arts, at (928) 386-5060 or by emailing email@example.com ."
Four Corners Magazine
"Sedona Style: The Tattoo Artist In Tune With Your Soul
By Miguel Montoya
I don't have a tattoo yet, but when I do it will surely be from Dig (formerly Dig)!
No, a mystical dancing God won't be putting a needle to my arm. Dig is a Tattoo Artist and owner of Sacred Fire Tattoos here in Sedona. He is a rare genius that captures the exquisite beauty of the tattoo as an art form; and the only person I would consider for this rite of passage!
Impressive 'bodies' of work are exhibited in photographs around the Sacred Fire Tattoos shop. The images and colors excite my mystical sensibilities. They are diverse, and heavily laden with spiritual images like lotus flowers, Eastern Deities, native petroglyphs, totem animals, mandalas and mantras.
Dig's tattoos represent just about everything. He has, however, turned away some of the 'less-mature' because of the less than artistic images they might carelessly carve into their bodies. For Dig, the tattoo process is a sacred experience. He feels that something inexplicable happens in the connection between his clients and he, as a tattoo artist. 'It's as if the tattoo is already there; the client projects it onto the surface of the skin by thinking of it. It's like drawing on a screen that's lit from behind. There's an image already inside pressing its way out, I just have to catch it while the light's on!' Furthermore he muses, 'All tattoos are like sacred geometry to me.'
Beginning his tattoo career in the British Virgin Islands, Dig has tattooed for more than seven years. Dig's passion and care in what he does manifests in every step of this ceremonial process. He carefully guides his clients through their selection of organic or acrylic pigments, and explains every aspect of the process to ensure comfort and confidence in his expertise. 'Sometimes I'm moved to tears,' says DIg. "'it can get deep, so deep!' He recalls 'therapeutic' moments with clients when they've gone into altered states, emotional releases, or have dropped deep into meditation for up to eight hours! Given the ancient cultural origins of tattooing and its significance as a rite of passage or shamanic experience, it's not hard to understand peoples obsession with this enigmatic process.
Dig describes people who get tattoos as 'conscious people'' -tattooing motifs that represent the transformational moments in their lives; births, deaths, meeting beloveds and timeless remembrances in symbolic form. He has tattooed everyone from Rock stars to health care professionals. His portfolio includes members of the popular Classic Rock bands 'Deep Purple' and 'Boston' , Chicago Cubs player Mickey Morandini along with prominent local artists and scores of others. Dig's studio is known for its absolute cleanliness and sterilization, offering the safest and cleanest tattoo experience imaginable! It's certainly not every tattoo artist who will forgo cash to encourage you to perfect your tattoo concept before you finalize it on your body. -creating a kind of 'conscious tattoo'. Dig is an artistic wizard, splashing the elemental, magical and mystical onto the beautiful canvas of your body.
Carefully visualize the image that best represents the beauty of your true being, and then call Dig for your Sacred Fire Tattoo celebration...
Skin Art: Welcome to the mellow world of Dig, the Tattoo Artist of Sacred Fire Custom Tattoos.
By Kellie Shelton
For some, it is a rite of passage. For others, it is something that sets them apart as distinct individuals. For whatever reason people choose to get a tattoo, the art of the tattoo is one of the oldest art forms of man. The mystique of tattooing is explored by many cultures, dating back to prehistoric man.
Dig, the tattoo artist of Sacred Fire Tattoos learned the art of tattooing while living in the Virgin Islands. There, Dig spent many months apprenticing, learning the craft. He subsequently took classes and went to as many seminars as he could find. 'I spent a lot of time practicing on fruits and vegetables. I would save them in my refrigerator so I could see my progress,' he says with a laugh.
Dig spent 14 years living in the Islands, six of which he lived on a sailboat! When he found his way to Sedona, he immediately fell in love with the peacefulness and quiet. 'Perhaps I may be different from the stereotypical tattoo artist. I love silence and a mellow atmosphere! I try to help my clients relax and be as comfortable as possible.' Dig has created a very relaxing environment in his workplace; with a lava lamp, a trickling rock fountain, incense, and mellow tunes. His shop is immaculate and well organized. He keeps his operating room aseptic, very sterile.
'Tattooing can be a very spiritual thing. It can be empowering and euphoric! There can also be some extremely intense moments and as a tattoo artist, one should be equipped to deal with these moments.' Dig also spent 5 years working as a Certified Massage Therapist. Through this he learned, not only how to deal with the physicality of tattooing, but the emotional catharsis that sometimes occurs during a procedure.
Aside from being an impressive artist, Dig takes safety and sanitation very seriously. He has invested in a top quality autoclave which he has spore tested regularly. It is the essential piece of equipment. 'Everything needs to be protected. I can't cut any corners I need to be up on my game and meticulous. I prepare with the same approach I would for surgery. There is a high level of trust when people come in for piercings and tattoos. It's important to be professional and clean to keep people safe.' Dig searches for the safest inks on the market and is constantly updating and informing himself about the health regulations and sanitation practices of Body Art establishments.
Dig has confidence in his technique, forming tight circles as he applies the pigment, careful not to make mistakes! He takes great pride in his work, but will easily turn away a client who seems too unsure. 'I would rather turn away the business than have somebody unhappy about the design they picked or regret having done it! I see too much of that! I always recommend for people interested in getting a tattoo, do some research! Tattooing can be a sacred, rewarding experience, something worthy of much thought!
In response to one of the most-often asked questions about tattoos - do they hurt - Dig says that is very subjective. Some people hardly flinch. Others pass out. It all depends on your pain threshold. How safe is it to get a tattoo? Dig's response: 'They can be very safe or not at all depending on where you go and who does it.
Dig recommends prospective clients ask questions such as: Does the artist have an Autoclave Sterilizer that is spore tested regularly, and a working knowledge of how to use it?' Do they cover anything and everything that could come in close contact ink/body fluid with barrier protection? Do they use single use needles? How knowledgeable is the artist about the ink used? Some are definitely safer than others! Finally, what kind of aftercare does the artist advise? Is it in-depth and thorough? Dig specializes in custom tattoos. Find something you like, sit with it for awhile, design it, look at it often before you get it tattooed! When you are ready, Dig will create a stencil, apply it to the skin, then trace it. His ability to recreate images is astounding!
Septimus Bean, a client of Dig's recently came in for his sixth tattoo with Dig. On this occasion, his birthday, his wife and 4 year old daughter Alyx Jumping Bean, designed the tattoo as a surprise. Dad was even blindfolded and tattooed prior to ever seeing the design to enhance the element of surprise! 'I am very excited!' said Bean. 'I know I will love it because the people I love most designed it. For me, tattoos are a record of my life and family. I love them and I couldn't be in any better hands than Dig. He has done all my work.' Dig has created quite a following with clients coming from all over the world."
"Who's Who" in Sedona: Sacred Fire Tattoos
By Nirmala McAfee
(Sedona, Arizona) - Meet Dig! As the owner and sole artist of Sacred Fire Tattoos, located in uptown Sedona at 465 Jordan Road, Dig brings a unique flair to body art.
Originally from the British Virgin Islands, Dig has lived in Sedona for almost 7 years and now happily claims the Red Rock Country as his home. He also lived in Hyde Park on Chicago’s south side for many years while he attended massage therapy school, waited tables and helped manage a local theater company. He even has acting credits to his name.
Dig became interested in the art of tattooing in 1998 while researching organic inks in response to a friend’s interest in safe and hygienic body art. He was working at the time as a silk-screening artist for a company on the island of Tortola, the largest island in the British Virgin Islands. After researching body art for his friend, Dig not only developed a great interest in the old and sacred art, but he discovered that he had a natural affinity for turning an idea into a design.
Dig began apprenticing with a tattoo artist on St. Thomas where he fine tuned his craft and, most importantly, learned to listen intently to a client’s vision. After all, a tattoo is art that will live with a person forever. Shortly thereafter he opened his own shop on Tortola.
Maybe you’ve seen Dig about town or on a hike in the red rocks walking with his sidekick, Jaya, a small, brown, standard poodle with ginger colored dreadlocks? Well, keep your eyes open. Enjoying the fabulous hiking in Sedona is one of Dig and Jaya’s favorite activities.
Having a traveler's soul, Dig lives in a self-contained RV. But small spaces aren’t new to him. While living in the British Virgin Islands, Dig resided on a 30-foot sailboat for several years.
Does he miss the sand and surf? Dig argues that, “the high desert country, like Sedona, reminds me very much of the ocean and beach. You can imagine the water beyond the next hill.”
Hidden behind a small bamboo grove in the Takashi Courtyard, Sacred Fire Tattoos is known for its cleanliness and tranquil atmosphere. It is pleasantly decorated with artwork, curios, interesting and pertinent reading material, a myriad of eye-catching crystals and rocks and, of course, pictures of tattoos that Dig has designed. Dig is a very relaxed, calm individual and his shop reflects his personality and style. People from all over the country and, yes, even all over the world, have come to Sedona to have their body art done by Dig.
You can contact Dig via his website or give him a call at 928-386-5060. Although you are always welcome to visit the tattoo shop (Dig loves to show off how incredibly clean and sanitary his workspace is) appointments are necessary, as he’s either working with a client or out hiking with Jaya.
So make a point of saying “hi” when you see Dig (and Jaya). He’s someone “who’s who about town!"
July 21, 2004
Sacred Fire: Body Art by Dig
A Transformational Experience
By Tracy Moore
"'Think before you ink' is more than just a cliche for Dig, proprietor of Sacred Fire Tattoos in Sedona.
It is the basic operating premise for every facet of his business. From the cleanliness and asepsis of his equipment, to the health information he provides his clients, from involving them in their creations, to the aftercare instructions he prescribes, nothing in his tattoo design or application is done whimsically.
To say Dig is adamant about sterilization is an understatement, as every piece of equipment (machines, power cords, chairs, lights and spray bottles) are barrier protected! 'I have maximum safety in mind,' he states firmly. 'The gloves are a rule and a primary measure of protection. The gown, face-mask and eye-protection are an extension of that.'
The Coconino County Department of Health agrees, consistently giving Sacred Fire Tattoos its highest rating. Dig's website provides extensive information on health and safety concerns that all people seeking body art should consider, regardless of their choice of tattoo artist. 'Knowing the right questions to ask on regulations and minimum standards is very important,' Dig says. 'It's as important as the tattoo itself.'
Dig believes the creative process of designing the tattoo belongs to the client as much as it does the tattoo artist. 'I place a great deal of responsibility on the clients. From design input to pigment education and selection to the aftercare,' he states. Dig says he educates extensively on the aftercare procedures because he feels these have as much impact as the process itself. He encourages participation and introspection in the design selection and stresses this even more so for those receiving cover -ups.
Dig said he sees far more mediocre tattoos than he would like, yet he enjoys the challenge and reward of turning poor quality artwork into a beautiful cover-up artwork. He observes the regret that people often feel, in that their initial tattoo experience wasn't as rewarding as it could have been, which fuels his encouragement for people to be patient and contemplative about what they want. He stresses that clients should take time and consider what they are doing. 'I want people to be reminded that this is a decision that will be with them forthe rest of their life.'
Not afraid to play Devil's Advocate for his younger cliental, Dig talks with them, helping them to understand the commitment they are making. He also emphasizes parental involvement and has never worked on anyone under 16 years old. Anyone under 18 must have a valid photo ID, a parent present to co-sign the release form and a Birth Certificate or other document proving parental custody or legal guardianship. He will also turn away someone who is demonstrating a 'spur of the moment' attitude. Dig encourages research before reaching a final decision on a tattoo. He has had clients provide their own sketches, color schemes, imagery and even poetry to convey the visions they have.
'This can be a very personal and revealing time for many people.' he says. He is very conscious of the symbolism that each person chooses, and cherishes the genuineness that people display. 'They allow me to participate in their openness and clarity, I get to see the very best of them.' Surprisingly, the majority of Dig's clients consist of women 20-50 years old. One glance at his portfolio and it isn't surprising that he has clients coming from California to New York for his services. Dig maintains a very strict confidentiality clause, and, without dropping names, will say only that he serves many in the Medical, Law and Corporate professions. And yes, there are Actresses and Actors as well, but he only reveals a smile when asked which ones. Consultations with Dig are by appointment only
For additional information on his sterilization practices, design portfolio and overall recommendations when considering Body Art, visit: www.sacredfirearts.com.
From the article's inset:
Reduce Risk by asking right questions!
*Check for cleanliness. Look around. Is the studio neat and organized? Are the floors and furniture free from obvious dirt, dust and bacteria? Is the tattoo related equipment barrier-protected?
*Ask to see an artist's portfolio!
The shop itself having a 'good reputation' is not enough. Ask the artist how long they have been tattooing. Can they draw? This will be obvious in the portfolio.
*Ask for sterilizer test results. Ask for a sterilizer's test report. This is a pass or fail that tests that the sterilizer is functioning properly.
Equipment that is cleaned and then autoclave cannot be considered sterile unless the autoclave sterilizer is tested and verified to be working properly. Safety first."
Arizona Daily Sun
NAU Chem Majors Tackle Tattoo Ink.
The FDA might not care what goes into tattoo ink, but Leslie Wagner and Haley Finley-Jones do!
By Pency George
"Tattoos, tattoos are everywhere, but what is in the ink?
A conversation on this very topic prompted two NAU undergraduate chemistry majors to begin their own research into the chemical components of tattoo inks.... All together they tested 17 different samples of ink... choosing five different blacks, three different whites, blues, reds and yellows from five of the most widely used manufacturers.
Wagner and Finley-Jones ran several tests to determine the composition of the inks and how they vary from color to color from different manufacturers. They were also specifically testing for metals and found 14 total, including lead! However the students made it very clear that their tests were still preliminary and that they were not doing toxicology tests. So while they did determine that there was lead present in 75 percent of the inks, they could not confirm how much.
'We haven't done enough research yet to say the ink is harmful;' said Finley-Jones. However, because tattoo inks have not been approved by the FDA for injestion into the skin, there are inherent assumed risks taken in the process. According to the Coconino County Department Of Health, some inks can contain heavy metals, such as arsenic, nickel and lead!
'No matter what, when you are putting something relatively toxic into your system,' said Dig, who operates Sacred Fire Tattoos in Sedona and has been tattooing for seven years. 'There are two basic types of ink that can be used for tattoos: organics and acrylics.' With safety being his top priority, Dig is careful to explain the advantages and disadvantages of both to all his customers.
The difference is that in organic inks, the pigments are suspended in an organic carrier, and the acrylics are plastic based. The acrylics will have brighter, bolder colors, but negative reactions can be unpredictable. Organic inks tend to be much less reactive, but can appear faded or washed-out. Dig explained that anyone could have a reaction to either type of ink, but when the element of a plastic resin is added to the equation, there can be a greater risk.
'Out of a thousand tattoos maybe one or two will have an organic reaction, but with acrylic ink I might see 12-15 per thousand tattoos,' said Dig. A short-term acrylic reaction can result in excessive swelling, pain, scabbing, prolonged healing and color loss. The long-term effect of plastic-based inks is not yet known because they have not been in major use until recently, though there some evidence suggest the possibilities of skin mutations, explained Dig. With the possibility of unknown negative reactions, some people feel the FDA should regulate tattoo inks for the safety of the public.
'All tattoo inks are potentially dangerous; regulations would level the playing field because then the public would have realistic expectations,' said Dig.
Finley-Jones said she will be continuing with a compound analysis next year and wants to study the dry pigments. 'There is a lot of interest in the scientific community, so other people may take it even further,' said Finley-Jones."
Red Rock News
A Canvas Of Humanity.
Sedona Tattoo Artist Dig creates walking symbols of desire and reflection. An Ancient art form embraced for the traveled times.
By Nate Hansen
"'Won't you help to sing, these songs of freedom?' Bob Marley wails in the background. The lyrics announce a theme and overtone to the present discussion with Dig, Sedona's tattoo artist.
An artist who works a canvas of humanity, his creations are walking symbols of desire, reflection and intrigue.
He sits folding his hands in his lap, selecting his words as delicate as his touch.
'The experience is so visceral,' he says.Dig, owner of Sacred Fire Tattoos in Uptown Sedona, has lived in town for five years. His business within Takashi's Japanese garden is an intrinsic part of the easement and grace he represents. 'This place is beautiful', he says, holding his arms out to the world. 'The energy here is wonderful!' Peacock feathers wave a rhythmic dance amidst immense portfolios and photographs of his detailed and colorful work. Each iridescent eye glances over the talent of the owner. Novels meticulously line up on shelves beside magazines of a rising pop culture, both adorning an artistry and intellect used to fully capture the efforts Dig puts into each design. Feature articles from various publications describe a craft and care unlike any other; each unable to voice the essence of a presence one must experience first-hand. His best friend, obedient Kaya, nestles in her dog bed as loyal as Dig is to a returning clientele. 'Dig, this is the place,' his friend Nirmala, once told him years ago. She suggested that he come visit Sedona; a comment that Dig not only listened to, but accepted whole-heartedly. 'You'd have to drag me away from here,' he says, smiling a pearly-white grin and exposing his love for a new home.
A graphic artist in his days residing in the British Virgin Islands, Dig took his first step toward fate out of prompting from his friend Nirmala. It was the first proposal from the same woman that would later suggest a life in Sedona. 'My friend Nirmala mentioned wanting to get a tattoo,' Dig says. 'I wanted to help her make an informed choice.'
She also hinted that Dig should learn to tattoo and do her tattoo himself. Supporting himself as a graphic artist from age 16, Dig took it upon himself to find out everything he could about tattoos before she made a permanent decision. 'I took it on as a project, he says, aware of the fact that it was his obligation to guarantee her well-being. 'I talked to anyone and everyone I could and eventually found out three main things.' On a journey Dig clearly lit for his friend, he made a self-discovery. Not only were the tattoos lacking in quality from his point of view, but the clientele seemed satisfied with mediocrity. From these two facts he found a tremendous potential for a growing art form -a third factor in his destiny.
'I saw a whole realm of possibilities,' Dig says. Further intrigued, Dig took more steps towards fate. His boat-neighbors in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, had a daughter in the States who was retiring from the tattoo profession and would be selling her equipment.
Purchasing the necessary equipment, Dig started his new career. A talented artist, but unfamiliar with this new medium, his individuality would later make him one of the most sought after tattoo artists in the Islands. 'I practiced for months on fruits and vegetables,' he says.
Working on grapefruits to the point of a profound level of skill, Dig went on to perform his first tattoo on his own abdomen.
'The first tattoo I ever got was the first tattoo that I ever gave,' he says, looking back at that moment. 'I was in a different state of consciousness,' he continues, pausing with the same patience with which he performs his craft. Finding himself booked out two weeks in advance before he ever put needle to skin, Dig faced pressure like he had never seen before! 'I call it a horizon,' he says, defining the moments that would set a precedence for the intricate surgical procedures he has chosen to imbibe. 'I have no judgements as far as a client's choice of image, it's the intention behind it that we examine together.'
The feeling of an openness that one may have with their parent, partner, counselor or clergyman comes from a trust Dig has established with unlimited time. Confident and competent decisions arrive from Dig's gifted ability to relax each person. Sometimes through prayer, or meditation, or any interaction that comforts and supports his visitors.
'I want to help create what they want,' he says, closing his eyes to a vision. 'I would rather not do anyone who is too rushed.' Explaining that it is all too often that he hears people making comments about tattoos they truly desired, long after choosing a design out of a book, Dig says he would much rather people take time and do it right the first time. 'Anything you think of as taboo, is taboo for you,' he says, emphatic that the meanings of symbols change with times and social consciousness. 'I say "get what you want."' Dig will provide the reality, if the client only provides the dream. 'I can say that if you are not patient, don't do it,' Dig says, speaking of choices as a client and an artist. 'If you don't have a surgeon's mentality, don't be a tattoo artist.'
Expanding on a reputation that is now internationally known, Dig left the islands to tattoo in Chicago, California and Florida before returning to the Islands to set up shop, prior to his move to Sedona. Now, in a home that reminds him, ironically, of the Islands where he started, he thrives creating tapestries of tattoos that tell stories that only a few can write. Each tattoo is a deliverance and salvation for the people that recognize his talents.
A glimpse into face of a young life of forbearance, Dig shines on, giving people a warmth and understanding -permanently.