Come see our new location!
As of April 2019, we are located at:
3401 SE Hawthorne Blvd
About Tattoo 34
Richard “Toby” Linwood was working as a contracted tattoo artist at the tattoo shop “Hawthorne Ink” when the opportunity came up to purchase the tattoo shop from the previous owners. Toby and his wife Nisha Supahan, decided to purchase the tattoo shop in 2016.
With Toby’s previous knowledge of working at Hawthorne Ink and in the industry and Nisha’s business experience, they came together to turn it in to Tattoo 34 on Hawthorne, an inclusive, welcoming space that many have commented has a great vibe. They have a solid team of tattoo artists who are talented in many different styles of tattooing and who are also amazing humans. The tattoo artists they choose for their shop are caring people who are down to earth and easy to talk to.
Tattoo 34 is a proud, minority-owned, women-owned, family business. Nisha is Native American and enrolled in the Karuk Tribe of California (and is also Scottish). Toby is African American (Black), Native American and First Nations. He is a member of West Bank (Okanagan) in Canada. Tattoo 34 is, as far as we know, the only Native-owned tattoo shop in Portland, OR and it is one of a few minority-owned (POC/BIPOC) tattoo shops in Oregon. If you have info, statistics or history on this, Nisha would love to know!
Another write up of Toby’s story can be found here through Prosper Portland and Mercatus (an online platform to highlight entrepreneurs of color).
How we got here
Toby has been an Artist his whole adult life and even before that. Check out his bio on his tattoo Artist Page, to read about his work. Toby and Nisha originally met in Oregon while Nisha was going to SOU (Southern Oregon University). Toby was born in Oregon and Nisha was raised three hours south of the Oregon border on the Hoopa Reservation in Northern California. After Nisha graduated college and moved back to the Reservation, they decided to move together to the Bay Area to pursue Toby’s creative career. After they were both laid off during the recession in 2010 (Toby from his sports-marketing job in Marin County and Nisha from a San Francisco photography studio working with Hanson Fong), Toby started looking for the next thing that would satisfy his need to create. A good friend convinced Toby tattooing was it. Toby brought it up with Nisha and although she had no idea what that entailed, she decided it was time to just go with what Toby wanted to do. Up to that point Nisha had seen Toby make and do amazing things that she had previously questioned if it was possible, so this time, she just said, “Yes”. Nisha later wished though that she had hesitated long enough to do at least one google search: “tattoo artist hours.” Already having three children at home at that point, nights and weekends without Toby was difficult on everyone.
They had hoped to move back to Oregon, so Toby planned ahead (possibly the only time ever) and got his tattoo license in Portland, OR while Nisha and their children were still living in California. They all returned to Oregon in 2012 and now live in the Portland house that has been in Nisha’s family for over 60 years and has housed four generations so far.
Toby tattooed at three different shops in California and in Portland, OR before landing at Hawthorne Ink on Hawthorne Blvd. While he buckled down and worked on building his portfolio and gaining clients, Nisha was busy raising their five children (some she birthed, some she didn’t, but love just the same), and taking care of her elderly Grandmother who lived with them for the last four years of her life. The long nights and weekend hours Toby was gone took even more of a toll on their family, even coming close to splitting Toby and Nisha up. It was a lot of hard work and time apart over the years for Nisha and Toby to get to where they are now.
When the opportunity came up to purchase Hawthorne Ink, Nisha- having learned her lesson- asked one question, “Is the tattoo shop breaking even?” As it was not in the “red” (just barely)… they went for it. Nisha figured the only place to go is up! Any bit of profit would be on top of what Toby was already bringing home from his tattooing alone. They had a foundation to improve on and Toby had a vision. Nisha knew from previous experience that he would create something beautiful, and she also knew that she could run the thing. Nisha started her first business around 10 years old with her twin sister, a newspaper they called “The Hot Pickle”. They successfully ran it for about 5 years and had subscribers all over the world. There have been other business endeavors for both of them since than, but Nisha and Toby were ready to work on something together, for the first time. Both are using their strengths and relying on the other to help with their weaknesses.
Toby and Nisha officially became the owners of the tattoo shop in June of 2016. Over the holidays in December of 2016 and into January 2017, they closed the tattoo shop for a few weeks for a remodel. Toby worked tirelessly to transform the shop on the inside as well as the outside with the help of their tattoo shop manager (and tattoo artist), Kimber Teatro. They removed walls, painted and transformed the space, constructing Toby’s design. During the same time period, Nisha created this website to feature their vision, implemented an online waiver (no more paper waste) and set up a credit card system so the tattoo shop would no longer be “cash only”- in other words, only accessible to people with disposable income. They wanted to create a place for community where their clients feel welcome and cared for, their artists feel included and invested, and everyone can embrace the success of this unique tattoo shop. With that idea in mind, they reopened with “Tattoo 34 on Hawthorne” in January 2017, rebranded and beautiful.
Owning the tattoo shop has been really rewarding for Toby, Nisha and their family. Toby can now set his own hours that allow him to spend time with his kids after school and on the weekends. Nisha is using her organizing, marketing and customer service skills to run the (mostly) behind the scenes business stuff and took over the scheduling for all of Toby’s tattoo appointments, making sure his clients are well taken care of while ensuring Toby has family time.
Tattoo 34 on Hawthorne isn’t just a tattoo shop. Events and fundraisers are also held at the venue, from Art Shows to promote other local artists and performers, to Art Nights for chilling and drawing. Tattoo 34 and the tattoo artists who work at the shop believe in giving back. Tattoo 34 donates gift cards to various auctions and organizations, and the tattoo artists volunteer their own time to do fundraisers throughout the year for causes the tattoo shop and the tattoo artists believe in. Upcoming Events can be found on the Events Page.
Toby and Nisha have built- and are continuing to improve on- what they want their tattoo shop to be. Toby is excelling in his art, booked out for months and is taking on larger projects that he loves. Nisha has been accepted into two business cohorts for 2019-20 to plan the growth of the tattoo shop. Working together has been amazing for Nisha and Toby. They are a good balance for each other, in and out of the shop, and have become stronger as a couple since starting Tattoo 34. Toby and Nisha enjoy hanging out together at the shop but also spending time with the other tattoo artists and their families. They are all friends, spending holidays and birthdays together. This is the way they like it. Toby and Nisha want the best for the artists and, in turn, the tattoo artists make the shop better with their individual ideas, hard work, and true involvement.
Tattoo 34 moved in April 2019! The tattoo shop is now in the bigger, brighter, corner location of the same building on Hawthorne. Toby had been eyeing that space for awhile and this time when it came open, Toby and Nisha decided to go for it. The shop had been out-growing the previous space and though Toby put in a lot of time, talent and money to re-model it, he’s not scared of hard work and is always looking ahead. Toby worked tirelessly for a solid month (thank you to his clients for the patience and understanding). We are now fully operating out of 3401 SE Hawthorne Blvd. There are some finishing details to work out, but Toby’s design and vision is coming together. Follow us on social media to keep up with the happenings. Tattoo 34 is welcoming some new tattoo artists and there are some amazing events in the works!
Scroll down to read some of the reviews (taken from public pages) about the tattoo shop and also (all the way down), to see the latest family picture of Toby and Nisha and their children.
A note from Nisha
If you have made it this far, Thank You for reading our story! I want to add a little comment/disclaimer here. We are a proud Native-owned Tattoo Shop and we are heavily involved in our culture and religion. During the summer, June-August we are preparing and attending my Karuk Tribal ceremony. Toby’s schedule has to adapt and your communication with me/the shop may temporarily change. There are periods of time during the summer months that Toby and I are out of cell/internet service and we can be unreachable for up to two weeks. We appreciate the work it takes for our other tattoo artists and our shop manager to hold down the shop while we are gone, and we are so grateful for Toby’s clients who are patient and understanding during this time. We promise we will be back, and all will function as usual by September :) - Nisha