Got Ink? Def Cod Tattoo Fills the Upper Cape's Body Art Craving
By: Sam Houghton, April 18, 2012
SAM HOUGHTON - Def Cod tattoo artist works intently on an octopus and anchor tattoo. A veteran artist and Dennis native, Craft joined Def Cod in February 2012.
The buzz of a tattoo machine rattles through Def Cod Tattoo, a small parlor off the beaten path in downtown Falmouth.
An older fellow with a thick southern drawl and a worn face is at the counter, shooting the shit with the guy behind it about the designs running up and down his arms.
“Yup, I sure do love tattoos,” he says matter-of-factly.
A shorter, younger man sits rigid and attentive, zeroing his eyes in on a client’s shoulder blade, his machine at the ready.
“Man, I’m so hooked on tattoos, I chose it as a profession so I wouldn’t have to pay for them anymore,” he says.
Meet Phil Craft, the new tattoo artist at Def Cod Tattoo.
Welcome to Def Cod
Def Cod is the sole tattoo parlor in Falmouth – in fact, it's the only one on the entire Upper Cape.
Opened in 2010 by Falmouth native Ben Mezzacappa—who also runs a T-shirt design business—the idea behind Def Cod is to infuse a little young blood into the sagging population.
Got ink?161 Worcester Court (behind Falmouth Plaza, next to Enterprise Rent-a-Car) Falmouth (508) 540-5080
Walk-ins or appointments welcome. The shop is open from 12 to 7 PM, Monday through Saturday.
Def Cod is holding a tattoo raffle on April 20 at The Beach House in North Falmouth. Tickets at $5 a pop and grand winner will receive a $250 tattoo, second place a $100 tattoo, and third place a T-shirt from the shop.
“If you’re not old here, it can get boring. I wanted to add some excitement for the youth,” Mezzacappa says.
With a couple of bumps along the way, the shop is starting to come into its own, thanks in part to Craft.
A Dennis native, Craft has worked for almost every parlor on the Cape, as well as in tattoo shops across Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.
When he was just a 12 year-old skater, Craft felt his first thirst for tattoos. Inspired by the body art all the older and cooler kids had, he took matters into his own hands—literally. His first tattoo was “a demented X” cut into the back of his hand.
Now with 11 years of professional experience under his belt, Craft has matured from an amateur rebel into an artist with an impressive resume.
Arts and Craft
Being a tattoo artist is not unlike being a bartender, Craft says, who also puts his psychology studies to the test while on the job.
“I’ll say this: people are special. One guy came in once and wanted fishnet stockings down both of his legs. I’ve learned that all money is not necessarily worth it so I said ‘no way’ to the guy,” he recalls.
“You have to read the person and act accordingly. If a girl comes in with her jealous boyfriend, you gotta have the guy be a part of the situation. I’ll talk about my wife a lot just to keep him at ease.”
Craft’s signature aesthetic comes from his mastery of shading. Using different depths in the grey shades, one of his most memorable works captured the smirk of a client’s grandmother—a difficult task to draw on paper, never mind on someone’s skin.
Any painter needs to know how to work with his paints and canvas, but a tattoo artist also needs to understand how to keep the mixture of blood and ink clean, safe and clear.
“When it comes to art, you don’t want to be trapped in a box. Knowledge of the process lets you out of that box,” Craft says.