Chroma Tattoo shines in West Bloomfield.
West Bloomfield Jewish business owner and photographer Jaime Levey sports eight tattoos, and she wants to make tattooing more acceptable in the Jewish community.
As co-owner of Chroma Tattoo, Levey is in the perfect position to do just that. Chroma opened at the corner of Northwestern Highway and 14 Mile Road more than a year ago, and the business has received a warm welcome in the community, from both Jewish and non-Jewish residents alike.
Levey graduated from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a degree in professional photography; a field in which she worked for several years before being laid off. At the same time, her partner, Tom Salwoski, an artist with 18 years of experience in tattooing, was looking for a new job. Together, they teamed up to open Chroma.
Chroma is the only tattoo studio in West Bloomfield and has attracted people from as far away as Traverse City. “We started from scratch,” Levey said. “It began as a business proposal on paper and we built it into the studio you see now. We are very proud to see what has become of our hard work, and the community of West Bloomfield has made us feel very much at home.”
Levey and Salwoski, both of Milford, wanted Chroma to be different from most other tattoo studios. The business has a spa-like atmosphere, and all tattoos are custom drawn by the artists working there. Levey manages the business aspect of the studio, while Salwoski and several other artists provide the tattoo services.
“Each tattoo that we do is unique,” Levey said. “For us, it’s all about the art. Our artists love to work with clients; they’re very helpful and go to great lengths to design just the right tattoo for our customers.”
Since opening Chroma, Levey has found that many people in the Jewish community are curious about tattoos and much more accepting than they have been in the past.
“Many religions believe that the body is sacred, yet have traditionally accepted tattooing,” Levey said. “Today, tattoos are so common; they’re much more welcomed than they used to be. It’s important that we make our own choices.”
Laura Solomon of West Bloomfield already had nine tattoos when an acquaintance referred her to Chroma. Solomon got her 10th tattoo done at Chroma and raves about her experience.
“The studio is so beautifully decorated and immaculately clean,” she said. “The staff is very professional and informative.”
By contrast, Carol Feldman, also of West Bloomfield, had no intention of ever getting a tattoo when curiosity brought her to Chroma shortly after the studio opened. However, Feldman, who attends Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, walked out with a tattoo honoring her college-age daughters.
“It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been,” Feldman said. “Tom and Jaime are lovely people. Chroma is the only place I trust; I recommend it to everyone.”
Levey and Salwoski have an open-door policy at Chroma and often answer questions from curious members of the Jewish community. Not all of them end up getting tattoos, but Levey and Salwoski say they enjoy the dialogue.
“Most people that we talk with are just interested in why we tattoo; they rarely ever tell us not do to it,” Levey said. “Most of the comments we receive are positive.”
Looking to the future, Levey and Salwoski hope to continue their success. “We want to keep growing and potentially expand,” Levey said. “We plan to stay in West Bloomfield as long as we can.”
In addition to running Chroma, Levey continues to work as a freelance photographer, specializing in product and commercial photography. More information about her work is available at jmlproductionsinc.com.
For those curious about tattooing, the Chroma website offers photographs, a virtual tour, frequently asked questions and much more information.
“We always say that Chroma is not your typical tattoo shop,” Levey said. “You have to just come in to see why.”
By Shannon Mackie, Special to the Jewish News