A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Chris Nantz

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Chris Nantz

Chris Nantz has been doing tattoos for nearly 30 years. He first started while he was in college majoring in English and minoring in art. When Nantz got his first tattoo kit, he did a tribal on one of his friend’s forearms, and the rest is history.

“I realized that this was something I loved and something that I wanted to do,” said Nantz. “I actually went and did an apprenticeship in Chicago 28 years ago.”

Nantz had always been artistic, he has been into drawing ever since he was a kid. He ended up turning his minor into a major and made art more of a reality.

“Ever since I was a kid, I would draw album covers, and I was really into Dungeons and Dragons,” said Nantz. “I was always into drawing something I was passionate about.”

As a big fan of H.R. Giger, Nantz’s style is dark and detailed. The bigger, more detailed art is much more attuned to his style. 

“Thematically, I can be all over the place with things like dark skulls, but I also like doing natural stuff,” said Nantz. “I've done some really cool sleeves that I like which included geometric shapes and things like that.”

Nantz has now owned the Bluebird Tattoo in Portage for five years, and for him it is a passion, not just a job. It is something that he does that has even become a family affair.

“I love what I do,” said Nantz. This is not a job, it’s my life. I absolutely love tattooing, and I love dealing with people. It is a great career, and I have now gotten my daughter into tattooing. It’s a family thing, and it means a lot to me.”

One of Nantz’s favorite things about his work is the relationships he builds with customers and people. Getting a tattoo can take hours and can be therapeutic for some. It is because of that Nantz has been able to get to know the Portage community.

“I feel like a lot of times, when people get tattooed, it's a type of therapy for them,” said Nantz. “They come in, they get the tattoo, and they talk to me like I'm a therapist. This is a type of therapy for people to come in and have the heart-to-heart conversation while we're getting the tattoo. I think it's just the position they are in where having a needle within the skin may hurt a little, so they tend to open up about a lot of things. I know that a lot of people feel much better after getting a tattoo because of the combination of the experience and the conversation we had during that time.”

Nantz and the Bluebird Tattoo also do blood drives with the American Red Cross. They did a bloodborne pathogens class with the American Red Cross and want to show the importance of getting a tattoo at a place that is certified. 

Outside of tattoos, Nantz has a little farm where he has farm animals. He also likes to ride his motorcycle, read, and listen to music.