Redeemed By Ink

STYLE | BEAUTY
2015
April

Off of Highway thirty-one on the outskirts of Tyler, Former Minnesotan Floyd Guinn has an office that is different from any other. He begins each day greeted by his wife and three beautiful children. After the commotion of a family of five getting ready for the day, he makes his way to work. He arrives, prepares his utensils, listens to requests and begins. With the unconventional career of a tattoo artist, Floyd designs, outlines and creates extraordinary art out of the descriptions of his clients, and permanently paints their visions onto them. Every client leaves with a new, one of a kind piece of art. 

There are many reasons that someone makes the step towards a tattoo. Perhaps they have entered on a whim with a sudden urge to be daring, or maybe they have planned years in advance for the tattoo that will express who they are. They have a story to tell with a visual reminder of where they’ve come from. Maybe they’ve inquisitively stumbled in with a hint of natural curiosity as to what this business is all about. Every person comes with a new story that has led them to this business built on faith. For Floyd, it is not up to blind circumstance that someone enters his doors and he is determined they leave with more encouragement than they brought in with them.

“I often go with what the client envisions. I do many cover and fix-up tattoos. It truly becomes a redemptive process. I try to transform what is already there,” Floyd says.

He uses his imagination as his tool and creativity as his outlet, yet there is one more characteristic that makes Floyd work stand out among the rest … his inspiration. Floyd's motivation is Christian ministry.  It is an unlikely pairing, tattoo artistry as a means of ministry but through this unconventional coupling, Floyd ministers to his clients and encouragement is permanently placed on them as a constant reminder of the love of God. Together, they give new meaning to the art of ministry. 

Joshua Whitten, a tattoo artist at Redeeming Tattoo, apprenticed under Floyd in the year 2011 and now works side by side with the man who taught him. “It [Redeeming Tattoos] is a very chill environment that makes you feel comfortable,” Joshua says of his creative process changes all the time. “My most recent process is collaborating with my two-year old daughter, Jocilyn Rose, on watercolor style pieces. It all started with her accidentally taking a marker across one of my line drawings. From that point on, we’ve been working as a team to create some pretty awesome colorful pieces.” 

“It is hard for me to pinpoint just one moment. I would say the most memorable moments are the times we have prayed for each other and clients that may be going through hard times or just need a little pick-me-up,” Joshua recalls of his most memorable moments working with Floyd at Redeeming Tattoos.

Floyd’s slogan is, “It is all about the love!” He treats each client as a Devine opportunity. “Nothing happens by accident,” Floyd says. “I am called to be a light in the darkness.”  

Floyd noticed his artistic talents at a very young age and credits his ninth-grade English teacher for inspiring him to become an artist. He comes to work each day to do what he loves and ministers love while doing so. "I feel called to do what I do. It is who I was created to be,” Floyd says. Floyd made his way through many jobs throughout the years leading up to the year 2000. Until one day, his wife suggested that he take an apprenticeship at a local tattoo shop. “It [tattoo artistry] was clearly what I was passionate about." Floyd took his wife’s advice and shortly after, Floyd began his journey. He has been working as a tattoo artist ever since. 

However, the road to his ministry came with many obstacles along the way. Floyd worked his way through five separate tattoo parlors. "Redeeming Tattoos is a result of many failures," he confesses. "I was told once that it is your failures that qualify you. Many look at failed attempts and are frozen. Instead, I prayed and asked God what to do next."

Floyd began his shop, Redeeming Tattoos, in 2007 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. It would be easy to take such great talent and use it for your benefit, but this was a path that Floyd refused to take. After receiving his Associate's Degree in Ministry, Floyd was certain that a life of Christian Ministry is what he was led to do. "I felt like I had to make it more about God and less about me. I felt like I was getting in the way. After laying it all down and spending time in prayer, my family and I felt like Tyler, Texas was where we should move for the next chapter in our lives. It was a huge leap of faith," Floyd describes his first steps towards his new life. Only knowing a handful of East Texas residents, and traveling roughly one thousand miles away from home, Floyd and his family packed up and made their move. Through hard work and an open mind, Redeeming Tattoos found a new home in East Texas. Floyd based every business and life decision on the Lord's will. When asked what sparked the meaningful name "Redeeming Tattoos" Floyd answers, "prayer - plain and simple. It would be hard to create without the creator. To be honest, it has very little to do with the artists at Redeeming Tattoos. I believe many have been blessed way beyond receiving tattoos.” He asks for anyone with a hint of interest to visit Redeeming Tattoos to experience it for themselves. 

Floyd and his staff have seen their ministry affect the lives of his clients and many return to give thanks to their team for building them up in the most unlikely of places when faced with the hardest moments of their lives. "I have seen God move in mighty ways," Floyd says. "Many have been touched and I give Him all the glory." One especially memorable client of Redeeming Tattoos recently wrote a heartfelt letter to Floyd describing just how deeply Redeeming Tattoos affected her and her family.

Hi Floyd,

I am not sure if you remember my husband and me. We met you at the tattoo convention in Midland, Texas in early October. We were your last tattoo customers on Saturday, October fourth. We both had scripture tattooed on us, very small pieces but had tremendous meaning for us both. My husband had a tattoo of Matthew 22:36 with arrows pointing up and out from a heart. I had the infinity symbol with "faith" written in red with five fading footprints along with Hebrews 11:1 - "Dare your soul to believe what your eyes cannot yet see." The story behind my tattoo was five miscarriages, but on my last miscarriage, I chose to love God to love God through it. You tattooed us the week after our fifth miscarriage.

Through exchanging our testimonies, you spoke words of life to us. You declared that you stood with us in believing in faith. On November sixth, we found out we were pregnant. We find out next week whether we will rejoice over having a little boy or a little girl, but I wanted to reach out to you and thank you for speaking such beautiful words of life over us and for not being afraid to pray with us in the midst of a pretty dark world. After the baby is born, I would like to set up an appointment with you so you can tattoo God's fulfillment of His promise to us, by tattooing our baby's name and date of birth on me.

Floyd, thank you for being a light of truth in a dark world of deception. We have kept you and your family in our prayers. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you ever need us to join you in prayer for anything. We would be honored to. Thank you and we will be seeing you soon.

This is only one excerpt of the many full-hearted testimonies of gratitude from clients that have experienced something profound through their session with Redeeming Tattoos. "I am blessed. We are called to be the church, not a building. We are called to step out of our comfort zone and to speak life and encouragement to others; to mend the broken hearted. I have the opportunity to talk about the Lord in my place of business. This is not a freedom that everyone has. I do. Again, I am so thankful."

Currently, Floyd continues his work and his ministry in one at Redeeming Tattoos. His words of encouragement continue to change the lives of their clients. Redeeming Tattoos stands as a light in the darkness. Floyd’s story of redemption displays a message that every East Texan can take with them, “It’s all about the love!”

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