No matter where you're located or how much you make as an artist, opening your own shop is no easy feat and is a serious financial commitment. A tattoo shop is an artist's second home and if anything were to happen to that home, it would have a huge impact on their professional well being. This week, a deadly storm cut through Tennessee and dropped at least one tornado that was up to 175 mph. This tornado stayed on the ground for 50 miles and killed at least 24 people in the Nashville area. It destroyed countless homes, a prison and an airport. It also demolished Gold Club Electric Tattoo, a shop that has five resident artists and primarily specializes in American Traditional. We reached out to the shop's owner, Chris Murphy, who elaborated on the extensive damage that's been done to his business.
When was Gold Club Electric Tattoo formed?
I started the shop in 2013 in Downtown Nashville. I wanted to give good hardworking tattooers a great place to work without some boss over their shoulder. I met Mike Fite when we opened and developed a great friendship, after a little bit of tension since he worked at a shop close by. We became very good friends and he jumped ship over to Gold Club. I ended up making him my partner when we left our Downtown location and built out the new shop in East Nashville. I made sure the bills were paid and marketing taken care of, he made sure the guys continued to prosper and grow.
We opened up on the East side three years ago, once we found that building. It had previously been a music venue and an auto garage long before that. It was a huge hangout and safe haven for all of our community. I'm most proud of that and how much our customers and locals loved that place.
We lost Mike in January of 2018, right on the five year anniversary of the shop and during his birthday week. That bonded us even closer and made that building a piece of tattoo history.
What happened to your shop during the tornado?
It was completely demolished. The roof flew off and everything turned to dust and rubble. Almost nothing salvageable.
How do you hope to rebuild Gold Club Electric Tattoo?
Hopefully, we will be able to build a new building on the same location once it’s cleaned up. We want to pay honor to our past, but be stronger and better than ever. To try and turn this negative into a positive for the community.
Gold Club Electric Tattoo is currently working to clean up and rebuild their shop, but they can't do it alone. They're currently working to raise $50,000 to bring their shop back to life and have created a page on
. Take a look at home you can help and contribute to putting these tattooers back to work.