Sunday, January 20th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


ELECTRO MAGNETIC TATTOO STUDIO

Renowned artists are excited to share their talents with the community

by Kelli Tatum


Artists Annette LaRue and Steve Tiberi bring a combined fifty years of  experience to their work at Electro Magnetic Tattoo Studio in Chesapeake.

Artists Annette LaRue and Steve Tiberi bring a combined fifty years of experience to their work at Electro Magnetic Tattoo Studio in Chesapeake.

Annette LaRue and Steve Tiberi knew they were taking a chance when they purchased the old Ancient Art Tattoo parlor in the Deep Creek area of Chesapeake a year and a half ago, but it was the opportunity of a lifetime. “We put our life savings into this shop, and we’re so excited to share our talent with this community,” Annette says beaming.

Previously, Annette sold her shop in New Orleans, and, for a time, walked away from her craft to join Steve in Philadelphia. Soon afterwards, she became restless, and began looking for opportunities to tattoo again—but not in a big city. It was then that she found out about JD Crow’s shop in Virginia Beach. Known for his chain of parlors in Virginia, JD was looking for experienced artists to make guest appearances in his coastal shop. So, Annette decided to check it out.

“I came down for a few weeks, and enjoyed my time in Hampton Roads,” she recalls. “It was then that JD told me he was selling his shop in Chesapeake, and now, here we are! Electro Magnetic Tattoo was born!”

Annette and Steve completely remodeled the store. Now it exudes the modern-yet-traditional vibe associated with newer tattoo parlors. Cool sterile surfaces compliment the warmth from the paintings of vintage tattoos that adorn the walls.

Like Annette, Steve is no stranger to the art of tattooing. He worked for 15 years at Olde City Tattoo in Philadelphia.




 “I worked under Bill Funk—son of the legendary ‘Philadelphia Eddie,’” he says. “Their skills were awesome; they had decades of experience. Working under Bill was something special! That’s how this craft of tattooing stays alive. We pride ourselves on having talent and experience.”

Combined, Steve and Annette have over 40 years of experience. Both have traveled internationally, citing their time in Japan as having influenced their work. “Japanese art and culture have had a huge impact on American tattooing,” Steve explains. “It was so amazing to be able to not only visit a parlor in Japan, but actually tattoo someone from there.”

The variety of styles that the shop offers include fine-line, traditional, and tribal. They also specialize in dynamic, artistic, cover-ups and custom designs.

 “We can do pretty much anything you want,” Steve says, adding that if clients walk in with their own design, he and Annette are happy to honor it.

“We are here to make them happy,” Annette insists. “But we’re honest about designs. We’ll tell them whether or not it’s going to look good on their skin. Not all designs are meant to be tattoos. Nearly everyone has made a tattoo mistake. We can fix that too.”

Many parlors can take weeks, even months, drawing a piece for a client. “Taking that much time, and then expecting a client to wait even longer for an appointment, is not good business,” Annette insists. “You can walk into our shop most anytime and expect to have your custom tattoo that day. Our artists have 70 years of combined experience in fast-paced, high-pressure shops. They can handle the pressure to turn out high-quality work quickly.”

Annette advises those in the market for a tattoo to do their homework, adding that good artists develop their craft through years of experience. She should know: Tattoo Artist magazine has ranked Annette 11 out of 20 artists with over 20 years’ experience. Complex magazine ranked her 49 out of 50 “tattoo artists in the world you should know.”



“In my opinion, it takes at least five years to become familiar with tattooing, and twenty years to become a master,” Annette says. “Currently, our shop has three experienced full-time artists and one apprentice. That’s how to avoid mistakes: by learning from someone who has decades of experience.”

Stephanie Ennis of Chesapeake quickly recognized the experience of the staff at Electro Magnetic Tattoo. She was not only awed by the artists’ craftsmanship, but amazed by how quickly the work was done.

“I sat with Annette and described what I was looking for,” she recalls. “Within minutes, she had drawn a beautiful flower on my shoulder. I was in shock! She clearly knew what she was doing.” Stephanie started a “sleeve” (a full-arm tattoo) with Annette and Steve; now she can’t imagine going anywhere else. “I trust them to do a great job—and they do it. They really listen to what I want.” Stephanie is almost finished with her sleeve, but says, “I will continue to visit the shop, even when they are done with my arm. Everyone is so nice. They feel like family.”


I’ve seen retired admirals, corporate administrators and moms get tattoos.
We see a lot of women, forty and older.
People now think of a tattoo as a piece of personal art.”

—Annette LaRue



Though Stephanie, a stay-at-home mom in her thirties, doesn’t fit the mold of what most think of as the “type” to get a tattoo, Annette insists that she represents the new norm.

“Tattoos used to be associated with gangs and crime,” she explains. “That’s not the case today. I’ve seen retired admirals, corporate administrators and moms get tattoos. We see a lot of women, forty and older. People now think of a tattoo as a piece of personal art, not a symbol of something evil.”

Annette believes that a clean, sterile shop is key to attracting good business. “Just like any other kind of business, we want to serve good people,” she says. “We are not, by any means, in the business of judging others, but we will not give any racist, slanderous, or negative tattoos. That just is not who we are.”

Annette and Steve love the laid-back lifestyle Chesapeake has offered them, and look forward to continuing to serve the community. “We want people to know we are different, and offer high-quality, classic and modern tattooing in a safe, friendly atmosphere,” she says with a smile. “We’re not the cheapest, but I think we’re the best.”




Electro Magnetic Tattoo Studio

1005 Canal Dr,
Chesapeake, VA 23323

(757) 485-8700