Kelly has been drawing and creating art since he could pick up a pencil. Creating has always been a part of who he is, but it wasn’t until he joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan in 1987 that he tattooed for the first time and realized what he really wanted to do with his artistic ability.
When he came back to the states he started his first apprenticeship at a tattoo shop in southeast Texas. He quickly learned that not all shops are ran very well, and it was there that he realized how he would run a shop if he ever had the opportunity. In 1993, he and his wife moved to Missouri where he signed a contract for his second apprenticeship, this time under Miller Cotton, and this opportunity proved much more beneficial to Kelly and his career. This time he learned the importance of proper technique, customer relationship and how to have integrity in his business. After fulfilling his full contract, he bought Miller Cotton’s business and in 1994 he moved here to Tyler, Texas and opened shop in his current location. In 2000, he made it offical and named the shop “Kelly’s Tattoo”, and has been a proud owner ever since, specializing mostly in custom, freehand tattoos, but highly trained in all tattoo forms.
Kelly likes to say that his favorite thing about being a tattoo artist is making his customers smile, and he has obviously been good at that over the years as his business has continued to grow! Kelly is married to his beautiful wife, Tyna, and they have 3 great kids. They share life and business together and both fully enjoy what they do.