Just beyond the Montauk train station on Flamingo Avenue is a small, shingled building, the home of Lola’s Tattoos. Inside, Lola Snow, a wise and colorful character, can provide anyone with a high quality, personalized tattoo.
Snow has been tattooing for almost 40 years. She started her career in 1976, a time when women rarely succeeded in the tattooing industry unless they were married to a male tattooist. Snow, however, began her tattooing journey on her own, overcame many challenges, and ultimately became what she calls, the “woman pioneer of the East Coast” for tattooing.
Today, Snow owns her own shop, Lola’s Tattoos, which is one of the only professional tattoo shops on the East End. It’s been almost two years now since Snow opened her Montauk tattoo parlor and left her shop in Bogota, New Jersey, in the hands of other artists. Snow says her New Jersey location is beautiful, but moving to Montauk provided her with something extra for her business.
Snow thought back to reading Thoreau’s Walden and remembered, “the highest form of art is working with nature in your day, [and working in Montauk] allows me to do that.” The calmer and less stressful environment of the East End is the perfect place
Choosing Montauk was an easy decision for Snow. Her ancestry goes back to the Montaukett tribe and she has a personal connection to the town: “I don’t consider myself from the Hamptons. I say once you get on the stretch, you are on Montauk. The other Hamptons are beautiful but I never leave Montauk.”
The only people who may love Montauk more than Snow are her customers. The most common tattoo request that Snow and the
shop’s three other artists receive is a prideful Montauk tattoo. Whether it’s “MTK,” the lighthouse, or simply “Montauk,” customers want a tattoo to show how much they love Montauk and Snow is happy to provide.
Tattoo trends may come and go in other locations, but the general theme in Montauk is consistent: nautical. For the past two years, East Enders have shown their love for the beach in the form of a tattoo, and Snow predicts this trend will continue. Dark themes are off limits at Lola’s Tattoos. For a tasteful tattoo, Snow recommends anything that spreads a smile and warmth, like the sun, the moon and the stars. While Snow herself focuses on color and traditional styles, her artists can do any style, including everything from portraits to “new school” tattoos.
What makes Lola’s Tattoos special, besides the quality of their tattoos, is the shop’s atmosphere. Snow hates the “factory” feeling of many tattoo shops, where customers are moved through quickly. Even though a business is about making money, Snow believes it’s important for her shop to be intimate. Customers at Lola’s can make appointments or just walk in and have a free consultation. Unlike other shops that may rush customers in and out, Snow gives her customers as much time as they need to ensure they will get the tattoo of their dreams.
“If you’re lucky, you’ll find me,” Snow says. And many lucky people have found her. In the off-season, people from all over Long Island make the trip to Montauk to get a tattoo at Lola’s, which allows the shop to stay open all year long.
The shop is looking to expand and is actively looking for new artists and a piercer to join the staff. If you or someone you know is interested in working for Snow in beautiful Montauk, give her a call at 631-668-5511 or stop by
Lola’s Tattoo’s, 11 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk. 631-668-5511, lolastattoos.com.