Nemesis Tattoo moves to new ‘street-facing’ location, accessible from Gilbert Street

Nemesis Tattoo's new digs
Nemesis Tattoo now faces Gilbert Street, across the street from the Iowa City’s recreation center.

Nemesis Tattoo Studios has moved to a new location on the corner of Gilbert and College Street, and while the business remains in the same building as before (393 E. College Street), its new suite faces Gilbert Street and offers street-side access. Today marks the business’s first day of operation in its new location.

Owner Matthew Cooper says the move represents a vast improvement for the esteemed body modification studio, which was formerly located in the building’s interior courtyard, requiring customers to walk into a rather obscure section of the building to gain access.

“Basically, they’re covering the courtyard that we were in,” Cooper said, referring to an ongoing construction project designed to shield the courtyard from exterior elements. “I didn’t really feel comfortable, you know? It gets really dark there at night, and it’s not very comfortable for people to walk through there.”

Cooper says safety, particularly the safety of unaccompanied women at night, was one of the chief considerations behind the move.

“It seemed a little unsafe,” he said. “I’d rather be on the outside, where it’s more well-lit and also where we can be more visible from the street and take more customers.”

With a new suite comes a new interior layout, as well. This time around, Nemesis is opting for a more communal design.

“We have one large room for tattooing,” Cooper said. “We can still do private tattoos, but we’re all tattooing together now, so there’ll be a little bit more of a community as opposed to separate rooms. Cooper says the new layout is an improvement over the old studio.

As for the move itself, the decision was easy for Nemesis. “We wanted to be a little more ‘out there’ for the public,” Cooper said. “It’s a little easier, a little safer.”

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