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click to enlarge PULSATING :  Owners Jack and Donna D’Amore are the buzz at the Art with a Pulse tattoo shop in Pismo Beach. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PULSATING : Owners Jack and Donna D’Amore are the buzz at the Art with a Pulse tattoo shop in Pismo Beach.
What qualities make good tattoo artists? Would a kid who just ordered his equipment from a magazine, who tests his latest style of barbed wire on customers pass muster? No.

Only seasoned, free-thinking artisans earn respect; men and women who’ve been around the block, who breathe life into body art. Meet the creative powerhouse team of husband and wife Jack and Donna D’Amore at the new Art with a Pulse tattoo shop.

The couple has more than 20 years of experience; their preceding parlor was named “Best Tattoo Shop” in Colorado Springs 11 years in a row. Turned off by the prospect of another frigid winter, they packed and headed for the sunny shores of Pismo Beach.

Their shop has been open only since January, but it’s often full. The word is out.

“That’s the greatest gift, when somebody comes back into the shop so thrilled about their new tattoo and saying this is where they will get their work done from now on,” Jack said. “It makes us feel real good that we’ve only been here for a short while but we’re already getting that vibe here like we had in Colorado.”

Why? Who wants to be stuck with a mundane tattoo for life? At Art with a Pulse there are no itemized catalogs of standard tattoos: It’s all custom, baby.

“We’re a no-flash zone,” Jack D’Amore told New Times. “Flash meaning standardized art on the walls people flip through and say, ‘Ooh, I want that!’ And then they find out the guy down the street has the same thing. This is a total custom shop.”

Though Jack says he can do anything a customer puts in front of him—and do it right—his specialty is high-quality portraiture and photorealism. 

The shop itself is comfortable; an ideal environment for anyone planning to spend a considerable time seated, looking west down scenic Pomeroy Avenue. The radio belts classic—not soft—rock.

After so much time in Colorado, how are they adjusting to the Central Coast? “We’re very, very happy to be here,” Donna D’Amore said. “Everything is brand new to us, which is so cool. We didn’t vacation here, we really didn’t know too much about the area, but we just knew we needed to get back to California. And we love it.”

“This is not chopped liver, this location,” Jack chuckled.

Jack is the sole artist at Art with a Pulse, but that will soon change. The couple is recruiting. The D’Amores can be reached at 295-6301 or through their website.

Whether contemplating a first tattoo or a wrap up the sleeve, drop by 355 Pomeroy Avenue in Pismo Beach. Look for the classic baby- blue Oldsmobile prettying up the sidewalk.

Fast Facts

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is soliciting applications for two scholarships. An award of $1000 is being offered to a junior or senior college student and another for $500 is being offered to a graduating high-school senior. Applicants will be judged on educational and career goals that will promote peace, social justice, or the environment. For more info, check out the website at…

Noted professor and author Dr. Jeff Halper is visiting the Central Coast to discuss his new book, Obstacles to Peace: A Re-Framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. The discussion will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, at the Steynberg Gallery at 1531 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo. For more info, call Dawn Legg at 748-0827…

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary of Morro Bay is offering a Sailing Skills and Seamanship Class, which will cover the fundamentals of recreational sailing, from boat handling to docking and anchoring. The 11-week course runs from March 2 to May 11, and will meet Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Morro Bay Library Community Center, 625 Harbor Street. It costs $85, including  textbook. To register, call 528-7168.

Staff Writer Matt Fountain compiled this week’s Stroke & Plugs. Reach him at

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