Mark Clifford is new to metro Detroit, and he’s recently opened a tattoo parlor in one of Downtown Milford’s most iconic homes — Dearly Departed Tattoos and Fine Art.
The tattooist has roughly 18 years of experience and can ink almost anything, but isn’t hesitant about redirecting clients with specific requests.
"I tell people 'no' all the time — I don’t do this because I’m money hungry and feel like I need to tattoo everyone that asks," Clifford says. "My ultimate goal is for somebody to end up with the best tattoo they can, and that doesn't always mean it’s going to be mine."
Clifford spent 18 months searching for the perfect spot, and when he stumbled on the historic home, he knew he had to secure it.
Built in 1889, the residential-turned-commercial spot feels hauntingly old; with creaking floors and stained glass windows, it’s the perfect environment for some ink inspiration and a unique tattooing experience.
When choosing the location for his parlor, Clifford mentioned that the most important thing for him was being sought out by clients. He wanted to avoid strip malls, and instead hoped to attract clients that had to do serious research in order to find him.
"I knew there were a few shops here that I had a lot of respect for and I didn’t want to be near them and step on their toes,” he says. “I wanted something a little more private, more of a destination."
Clifford says he’s excited to be where he is now and wants people to feel welcome, regardless of if they are the one getting a tattoo or not.
"I don’t want people to feel like they need to have an appointment for a tattoo to come here," Clifford says. "If they want to come and look at art, sit down, do a consultation, that’s all cool."
He continues: "I want people to feel something special being in here."
Clifford’s work can be found at dearlydepartedtattoo.com. He is currently seeking a talented artist to join him at his parlor. Questions, concerns, or portfolios can be sent to email@example.com.
Dearly Departed is located on 344 Union St. in Milford on the second floor, and will be open for visits during the Milford Memories Summer Festival, taking place Aug. 9-11.