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"Wolfman" works his ink expertise

Terry "Wolfman" King and Denice Bardsley operate Wolfman Tattoos, located at 1015 Third Avenue in downtown Worthington.

WORTHINGTON --Anyone who wants to see examples of Terry "Wolfman" King's work only has to take a look at his arms, which are covered in art -- tattoos.

"I've done my own legs, chest, stomach, arms," King explained, adding there are only a few areas that he can't do himself --his neck, for instance, which was inked by a nephew he taught to tattoo, and his back.

Wolfman Tattoos, run by King and his girlfriend, Denice Bardsley, who is receptionist and office manager, has been open for about a month at 1015 Third Ave. in Worthington. A native of Marshall, King has been tattooing for 29 years and has relocated back to southwest Minnesota.

"I was living in New York doing custom paint jobs," explained King about how he got his start. "This older guy came by and saw me doing airbrush on a car without a stencil ... and told me to come down and see him."

The gentleman introduced King to the art of tattooing and imparted his knowledge.

"I really liked old-school tattooing," King said. "That's what the guy taught me. He was 60-some years old when he got a hold of me."

To King, drawing on the skin is just like drawing on paper.

"A lot of his detail work, he has in mind what he wants it to look like and goes for it," said Bardsley.

"I even do custom work," King added. "There was a guy who wanted a vine around his arm, and I just drew it on."

During his lengthy career, King has amassed about 20,000 designs. People who are interested in getting a tattoo can page through his repertoire in book form. If they don't find what they're looking for, King will draw up a sketch.

Tattoos have become more mainstream in recent years, according to King and Bardsley.

"Everybody gets them now," King said.

"It's not just for sailors or bikers," added Bardsley, whose skin is also a canvas for King's art.

"I've tattooed stars, judges, politicians, congressmen," King detailed. "I've even done some overseas work, too. ... I tattooed four generations in one sitting. They all came to get tattooed, and then the great-great-grandma came in to get about 15 more. Great-grandma got into it more than the rest of them."

King has also ordered piercing equipment and hopes to offer that service soon.

In addition to scheduling appointments and receiving clients, Bardsley is in charge of ordering all the supplies and promoting the shop. King currently works for a local construction company during the day, so the shop is open from 5 p.m. until midnight, Tuesday through Saturday.

"And we'll do it by appointment, seven days a week, if possible," noted Bardsley.

The unique name of the shop comes from King's nickname, which evolved from his Native American heritage.

"Apache and Irish," he explained with a grin. "A lot of people know me as Wolfman."

A grand opening celebration for Wolfman Tattoos is planned for Halloween Day, Oct. 31, and a $20 off special on tattoos costing $150 or more is being offered until the end of November.

For more information, phone 376-4950.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327