Celebrating a decade of Looking Glass Tattoo & Gallery

Story Scott Stormann, [email protected]

Looking Glass Tattoo of Topeka Kansas has reached 10 years of business and in celebration is throwing a party to let their hair down.

Local Topeka tattoo shop Looking Glass first opened its doors on Oct. 13th, 2004.  Judith White owner and tattoo artist graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts through Washburn University in 2002. After a canceled art trip to Italy the summer after graduating, Judith decided to try her hand at a new medium, tattoo. That summer, Judith traveled to Spokane, Wash., where she was professionally trained by Kristi Kilbourne at Lady Luck Tattoo.

Judith returned to Topeka and opened Looking Glass Tattoo in 2004.  She ran the shop on her own for the first three years of business until her husband, Danny White, quit his job to become the Looking Glass manager.  After five years of being licensed as a tattoo artist in Kansas, Judith was able to receive a trainers license. Since she has hired and trained two artists, Chris Lyon and Klayton Edwards.

Chris Lyon was Judith’s first addition to the company after getting her training license and has been with Looking Glass for the past five years.  Originally trained at Lady Luck Tattoo the same time as Judith, Chris decided to move to Kansas and work with Looking Glass.

The third tattoo artist of Looking Glass Tattoo is Klayton Edwards. Hired on in June 2013 after graduating from Topeka West, Klayton completed his full tattoo apprenticeship through Looking Glass.

“Klaytons’ color work is really similar to mine. He likes a lot of real vivid high contrast stuff which is great for tattooing, but his subject matter is a bit darker and little bit more masculine,” said White. “My work seems to be more elegant and beautiful, I like that aesthetic. So he helps to add that edge.  Chris really has a good grip on that classic tattoo style.  He does a lot of old school stuff; military insignia and lettering and stuff like that. Each one of us have our own little niche, which allows us to offer a little bit of something for everyone.”

When Looking Glass decided to add to their artists, they kept customer care as a priority along with the quality of work provided.

“We try to be as gentle as possible and give free touch ups and things like that,” said White. “I learned in a woman owned shop with a little bit of a different attitude toward customer service and trying to keep make tattoo something that’s more respectable. I really wanted everyone that came to Looking Glass as an artist to have a similar philosophy so it was important to me to train my own people.  I’ve always said if your going to hurt someone, mark someone, and take their money, then you need to respect them and treat them well.”

Kristin Matthewson, a student at Washburn University, has spent a lot of time at Looking Glass since first starting her tattoos through Judith in 2007.

“I have developed a friendship with the staff at Looking Glass, as most people do,” said Matthewson. “It’s an excellent place to be. I am positive that without the existence of Looking Glass, I would not be as tattooed as I am. In a way, LG helped me discover a part of me that I never knew existed.”

To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, Looking Glass is throwing a party Oct. 10th at the 6th Avenue Ballroom in Topeka. The party will feature three area bands – Lawrence indie rockers The Westerners, local hip-hop act The Skeptics and Topeka’s Echo Lake. Along with the music there will be a performance by burlesque group Foxy By Proxy Revue, party favors, snacks and drinks.

“This will be the biggest party we’ve ever had,” said White. “It’s a big thank you to everyone for ten awesome years. This is my dream come true. To be my own boss, I work harder than I would at any other job and it’s so rewarding. I’ve met so many amazing people throughout the years. So it’s pretty cool to go to work and hang out with my buddies. By throwing these parties, it gives us a chance to hang out with the clients when they’re not hurting.”

The party is all ages, but there may be some adult themes. Tickets are being sold in advance for the event and can be purchased at the Looking Glass Tattoo and Gallery shop located at 2110 SW Brandywine Lane, Suite 140.