BILLINGS — A new permanent makeup and tattoo shop has opened in Billings—taking over the lease from a more notorious shop, Rise Again Tattoo.
In January, MTN News reported on the sudden closure of Rise Again Tattoo, which happened seemingly overnight. Customers were angered, stating the business sold thousands of dollars in gift cards during the holiday season without informing anyone of the plans to close. The business contacted MTN after the original story aired, stating they were closed for remodels and would open again Feb. 2. But it turns out, that was a lie.
Tyson and Carmen Middle took over Rise Again's space at 1343 Central Ave. weeks after they left. They named the new business Evenflow Permanent Makeup and Tattoo, where Carmen does permanent makeup and Tyson operates his own shop, Underground Culture Krew.
“My wife and I have been able to put both of us under one roof. And we’re really trying to create a warm, safe, welcoming environment for kids, for people, for art enthusiasts,” Tyson said on Tuesday. “The experience is what it’s all about here. You’ve got some really great people, down-to-earth people. You’ve got an amazing thing going on here with a lot of cool stuff happening. We’ve got a lot of art, we’ve got a lot of culture, we’ve got some history, a lot of cool things."
And Carmen is excited about the new venture of owning a business—something she has never done.
“I’ve never had a business before. I was working under somebody else before. There’s a lot of freedom, almost too much freedom. Because you can totally create whatever you want to create. And I’m pretty excited about what we’ve done in here with a lot of help from Tyson,” Carmen said on Tuesday. “It kind of came all together with this location being available and some other things kind of worked out."
The Middles also brought on two tattoo artists who previously worked at Rise Again Tattoo, Coltin Bernhart and Jordan Cruz-Martinez. The two were laid off without notice.
"(This shop is) amazing. It’s got balance, it’s got flow, it’s got vibes, it’s got people, it’s got the right stuff,” Bernhart said on Tuesday. "Everything has its blessings. Definitely some things have a lot more than others, but that’s just the way it is and that’s just the way it goes."
And Bernhart said the new owners are good people.
“Amazing people. I would not be anywhere without them," Bernhart said. "They took me in when I was nowhere. And that’s love."
And Cruz-Martinez agrees.
“I’m absolutely grateful that I was able to secure a job with Tyson and Carmen, especially with Coltin. I just love these people so much. It’s such a different experience to get to be with them,” Cruz-Martinez said. “Tyson and Carmen are amazing people. Very nice, I am extremely grateful that they gave me this experience to continue tattooing."
And the Middles are thrilled to have the young artists join their team.
"We’ve got Coltin Bernhart, who's wicked talented. I’ve known the kid for years. He’s painted the last eight years of professional murals with me. We’ve taken him in as a foster kid at one point, a lot of cool things,” Tyson said. “Jordan Cruz-Martinez, another upcoming artist. Wicked talented. He does a lot of fine line stuff, does some really cool dainty styles of micro-tattoos. He’s really pushing the limits on some of the smallness that he can do and produce which is very cool."
But the Middles said they want to make it known that they are completely different than the previous business.
"We are Evenflow PMU and Tattoo. It’s a whole new shop, whole new vibe, new owners, new everything that’s going on here,” Tyson said. “We’ll make our mark in another way in Billings, which is amazing. We’ve got the tattoos, permanent makeup, the shop in the back here with the spray paint, the murals, and everything that we have to offer. It’s great to have it all under one roof.”
MTN reached out to the owners of Rise Again by phone on Wednesday for comment, but they have not responded.
The Middles are excited for the future.
“We have permanent makeup and tattoos of any size. We have, currently, two tattoo artists and we have one more joining, probably next week already. And he will do larger tattoos and big-scale stuff. He’s a little bit older and seasoned, so it will be fun,” Carmen said. "We’ve had only positive feedback. Not much pushback. I was expecting more pushback honestly, and I’m pretty happy and glad that people are open to us, and they give us a chance to be a part of the community.”
Evenflow opened on Feb. 24 and has already taken on multiple clients. And the clients say they are excited about the new shop—and that it's a breath of fresh air.
“The vibe here is definitely better. When you walk in, it feels better. It’s not a heavy air. Everybody's vibes are really good,” said Justin Donaway, who had a tattoo done by Jordan on Tuesday. “Everybody’s great, super friendly. Come down anytime, they accept walk-ins.”
And another client, Silas Benally, agrees.
“Yeah, definitely. I think I would (come back). I would definitely go back to Coltin and get another one,” Benally said on Tuesday. “Definitely friendly people."
The Middles said Evenflow Permanent Makeup and Tattoo is eager to move forward in its new space.
“Tons of good things. As I’ve said, we’re really excited for the future here. We’ve come across this (space) here, and my wife and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rent this location. It’s a great location," Tyson said. “We’ve renovated the new space. It’s been real fun. We’ve learned a lot, done a ton. We’ve done some spray painting in here, we’ve done some regular painting, added a lot of details to make it warmer, brighter, welcoming."
To learn more about Evenflow Permanent Makeup and Tattoo, click here.
To learn more about Underground Culture Krew, click here.
“I just want people to make art and be comfortable coming to us and creating art with us," Carmen said. "No matter who you are, come in here and be a part of it. We are pretty friendly and family-friendly, and we kind of want to build it that way, so everybody’s welcome.”
RELATED: Sudden closure of Rise Again Tattoo angers Billings customers