Love Hate Tattoo
From left: Dylan Tate, Zane DiProjetto, Ben Wight, Jet, Adrien Moses Clark.
Love Hate Tattoo
217 1/2 Alexander St.
Hearing the words Love Hate Tattoo may bring to mind the reality show Miami Ink. But rest assured, there are no cameras and no ridiculous drama going on at this shop. There are, however, good vibes and the best tattoo artists western New York has to offer.
Located right off the main scene for bars and clubs in downtown Rochester, the shop has been adorning its customers with beautiful tattoos since 2001. In a city where the residents are loyal to their minor league baseball and hockey teams, they are also loyal to this great spot. “We tattoo the shit out of everybody in the neighborhood,” says shop owner Joseph DiProjetto, who is better known simply as Jet. “We set the standard for tattoos not just in the ’hood, but in all of Rochester. It’s something I strive to do … give them the best solid tattoo that is going to age great, look great today, and when you’re fucking getting put in your casket it’ll look great then too.”
Being voted by the City Newspaper as the best tattoo parlor in Rochester every year since the shop opened backs Jet’s confident words. Strengthening their status even more is the work ethic of Jet and every other artist on the Love Hate roster.
A tattooer of 20 years, Jet says he is always striving to improve his craft. “I definitely feel like I’m still relatively new to this business, even though I’m not. I feel like I’m still learning. It’s just how this business is—you never have it licked. You’re always adding to your bag of tricks.”
The shop’s clientele ranges from those who have just turned 18 to people who are more serious collectors and understand the kind of quality work the shop’s artists turn out. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see tattoo artists from other shops getting tattooed at Love Hate. Jet does have his limits, though.
“I won’t tattoo assholes,” he says. “Not just actual assholes, but people who are assholes. I don’t like spending time on people who I get a negative vibe from or who I don’t think I’m gonna get along with.” Because he got his start in a street shop, Jet has the mentality that any artist in his shop should be able to handle anything that walks through the door. If you’re looking for great custom work, though, you’ll want to look at the traditional American and Japanese work in the portfolios, as it is some of the best the business has to offer.
“I think people gravitate toward Love Hate Tattoo because of the vibe we have,” Jet says. “We like to have fun, crack up, and listen to abrasive music. We generally try to have a good time at work, but we definitely take it seriously.”
The shop is also responsible for putting on the ROC City Tattoo Expo, which has run for the last five years. The convention has hosted some of the top artists in the States, including Brad Fink and Chad Soner. It also draws in renowned artists from Europe and Asia, and has even hosted artists doing tebori, the traditional Japanese method of tattooing. “I’ve worked at tons of conventions for years, and I just wanted to see if it was possible to bring that kind of star quality to Rochester,” Jet says. “That’s what our goal was, pretty much just to kind of turn a light on and say, Hey, man, this is what’s available in the world outside of our little bubble in Rochester.”
Whether it is at the convention or within the walls of the shop, the team at Love Hate just wants to offer the best quality possible. And to do that, they ask only a few things of their clients: “Take your time and make sure you know what you want,” says artist Adrien Moses Clark, who has been at Love Hate since 2006. “Try not to get too controlling about it, because this is what we do for a living. We will make sure we leave you with something really nice.”