Sticky Fingers

26 June 2012 | 11:43 am | Paul Andrew

Mark Alexander-Erber chats to Paul Andrew about the decadence of Kings Cross Ink tattoo parlour, the new reality show that is about to start filming, and his rock and roll family.

Actor, entrepreneur and Kings Cross Ink visionary Mark Alexander-Erber was so inspired by a visit to High Voltage Tattoos in Los Angeles, the famous studio featured in the hit reality TV show, LA Ink, that “we” – he is particular about using the pronoun we – “decided to open a parlour,” and make some reality TV along the way. “I also had a particularly great tattoo experience in Hong Kong a few years back, at Ricky's Tattoo,” he adds. “Ricky's studio has been there for over sixty years now. I remember the tattoo artist there that night had a cigarette hanging from her mouth, there was even a cockroach scuttling across a wall, but the rock was pulsing, the streets were alive, the  feeling was amazing. It was just right.”

Alexander-Erber is quick to point out that it's the ambience of his two particularly memorable inked experiences, not the cigarette smoke, cockroaches and seediness he wants to infuse in his Kings Cross parlour. “I have travelled a lot during the last twenty years and I haven't seen anything like what we have created. I didn't want that standard clinical, sterile feel you often get in studios around, I wanted decadence. We have called it a parlour because it is bohemian, the decor is all black and silver, all black leather couches, black chandeliers, leopard skin wallpaper. I wanted to create a '70s rock vibe. I've even had wall paper made from classic band photos of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Metallica, The Who and The Rolling Stones, and the only place that seems to have 1970s rock band photos is in Germany these days, so, I had them sent over from Germany.”

Alexander-Erber pauses, reflecting for a moment and dropping his kid-let-loose-in-the-lolly-shop fervour. “If there is one thing that has inspired the feel and mood of the Parlour it would have to be The Rolling Stones 1971 album, Sticky Fingers. That album sums up the feeling I wanted to create here.”

Kings Cross Ink is also the centrepiece of a new reality TV show being shot in July along the lines of the hugely popular Miami Ink TV series. He remains spoiler alert about the details of the show but outlines that it is by the same crew who produce TV mainstays like Australia's Got Talent, The X Factor, Masterchef, So You Think You Can Dance and Australian Idol,

“What we can say is the TV show includes the personalities in the studio, in the Cross at places like Coluzzi cafe that I also manage, and my son Jagger, the nine year old drummer who is on Australia's Got Talent right now.” As mentioned earlier, Alexander-Erber prefers to use the pronoun 'we' during the interview when speaking about the parlour and he explains. “It's a family business, and we have all had some major input, Jagger too.” I ask him whether his son Jagger wants to get a tattoo there when he turns 18; it seems a fitting gesture for a prodigy drummer. Jagger smiles, he too is reflective for a minute like his Dad. “It's a cool place, Yes I would like to get a tattoo one day. I would get Animal from Sesame Street on my back; it will be all pinks and purples.”

Kings Cross Ink, 63 Darlinghurst Road Kings Cross is open now.