Big Deluxe Celebrates 10 Years of Tattoos, Antics and Art

As Big Deluxe celebrates its 10th Anniversary this fall, owner and founder, Rich Dohoney, sat down with SLUG to talk about the history and legacy of the Big Deluxe empire. As an accomplished and nationally recognized artist, Rich D gave his first tattoo at the age of 13 in a friend's living room. He did his first real studio tattoo 16 years ago at 20 years old (working under Don Brouse) at ASI Tattoo and after a six-year stint at ASI, Rich D. seized the opportunity to create his own shop. In 1998, Big Deluxe was born. Although the management side was never his dream, he now enjoys all aspects of owning the shop, but his true passion is tattooing. "Some days, it is hard to be the boss, to make shit run," Rich says, "but it is what it is, I never expected to have two shops. I always expected to have a studio, some place in the mountains where I could do what I want. But I realized real quick that's not how you support a family. I have had some good opportunities drop in my lap and I took advantage of them." Despite owning two SLC tattoo shops and the live music venue, Bar Deluxe, Rich D still tattoos five days a week, and is currently booked out for over a year.

Antics and Apprentices

Imagine, if you will, the largest guy you know, in every sense of the word, begrudgingly entering a bar in a strange city wearing the shortest of shorts and a spaghetti strap top, asking to be bought drinks by an impossibly-even-larger man. Now this may sound like a bad dream, or a bizarre fantasy, but it is actually one of the practical jokes engineered by Rich D for one of his apprentices. One infamous Big Deluxe tradition involves Rich D taking his employees out to drink and buying all of them rounds. If someone can't keep the alcohol down or turns a drink away after accepting the challenge, they are subjected to any number of humiliating acts. In the past, apprentices who couldn't keep up have had to dress up in a G-String and streak a tattoo convention, parade down the street in a 10-yearold's dragon costume and even wear an Irish school girl outfit while delivering pizza to other tattoo shops around the valley.