Iron Heart Tattoo: Creating art on a different kind of canvas

What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions the Des Moines art scene? Does your mind wander straight to the Des Moines Art Center? Or maybe it goes to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park? For me, I have a new way of looking at art and it’s all thanks to Josh Bowers at Iron Heart, a local tattoo shop located in Beaverdale.

When I first realized that I wanted to get a tattoo, I didn’t have much direction. After a lot of Google and soul searching, I finally landed on what I wanted to get – a brightly colored peacock.

Why a peacock you might ask? From an artistic perspective, I love the shape and the lines of the peacock. The colors and complexity of the feathers really drew me in, but what spoke to me even more is what the peacock symbolizes. One definition I found states, “Peacocks are a symbol of beauty reminding us to take pleasure in the finer things in life. The peacock is pure of heart, loyal and faithful to their partners.” To me the peacock symbolizes growth, change and strength, which is exactly what I wanted my tattoo to portray.

As I started asking around for recommendations for a local tattoo artist on Twitter and Facebook, Josh Bowers at Iron Heart constantly came up in discussion. I took a look at Josh’s work and stopped into Iron Heart to have him take a look at a few designs that I was considering. We discussed what I was thinking/wanting and within minutes he drew up a beautiful sketch. Needless-to-say, I made my appointment that day. I knew that Josh was going to do a great job, especially when I found out that I’d have to wait over a month just to get an appointment with him.

Yesterday was the big day, and as I entered the shop again, I couldn’t help but notice how clean and modern the shop is. The folk music that the artists were listening to seemed to ooze out of the speakers creating a calming effect. While I was still nervous, I couldn’t wait to get my tattoo. I was lucky enough to have a few friends stop in throughout the process (thanks to Emilee Richardson for taking some awesome photos – like the one pictured to the right) to keep my mind off of the process. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt, especially on the ribs, but two hours later when Josh had finished, I could believe the piece of art that he’d created for me. I looked in the mirror and couldn’t stop staring at the excellent job that he’d done.

Josh has been tattooing for seven years and has done many different, unique tattoos over the years. The reason why I like Josh’s work is because he worked with my ideas and body shape to create a unique piece that really compliments my body and style. On top of that, his shading and color work is phenomenal, and he has a really relaxed, yet humorous, personality.

While I think that I will forever be humming Katy Perry’s song, “Peacock,” I’m 100% impressed with Josh’s artwork and the overall experience that I had at Iron Heart. This process has really given me a new respect for tattoo artists, a new perspective on “art” and I now recognize the artistic ability needed to master the craft of being a tattoo artist.

What art inspires you?

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7 comments

  1. Jas

    Joshua is a great guy! He’s been doing Aric’s and my tattoos for the last 4-5 years. He just finished Aric’s back piece about two weeks ago and did my thigh this past summer. I even met him up with him at a tattoo convention when I was in LA, because I didn’t trust anyone else to tattoo me. He’s so awesome and so talented. You know… once you start you can never stop. 😉

    1. The Dish on Des Moines

      I always wondered where you got the tattoo on your side! He’s a really great artist. The last thing that he said to me when I left Iron Heart was, “I’ll see ya for your next one.” Ha! Thanks for reading my blog.

  2. Pingback: Top Tattoo Designs – What Are People Searching For?Lotus Flower Tattoo | Lotus Flower Tattoo

  3. Mike

    Everyone in that shop has worked on me, and they’re all exemplary artists. You never have to worry about the finished product in there, regardless of who’s doing the work, if you suggest an idea and give them artistic license to execute.


    1. Author
      Emily Beckmann

      Thanks for reading, Mike. I agree with your comment – they are some of the best artists in the business!

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