The Highland County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the grand opening of another business with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon at Bilancia Tattooing and Permanent Makeup, at the corner of Elm and West Main streets in Hillsboro.
Owner Heidi Vail is a busy lady with not only 10 years’ experience as a tattoo artist, but also being the lead singer for a rock band.
“I’ve been into art and drawing since high school,” the native of Austin, Texas said. “I grew up in the country and since there wasn’t a whole lot to do, I used to sit around and sketch.”
She said her artistic skills have served her well, judging by the compliments posted on Facebook, and added that Bilancia is a full service facility.
“I love doing black and gray portraits, neo-traditional pieces and color-realistic flowers,” she said. “And I try to be pretty versatile in my styles, so I can do just about anything that someone would ask me for.”
Vail said the tattoo industry has changed over the years and she sees both men and woman, young and old, coming into her shop getting tattoos that range from little starter designs to full sleeves that cover the arm.
“Like my tattoo clients, my permanent makeup clients run from 18 to 80 years old,” she said. “I don’t think women ever grow out of wanting to look beautiful.”
She said the reasons for getting a tattoo range from people wanting memorial pieces to honor someone who has passed away, to kids who have turned 18 and don’t need parental consent anymore.
Getting a tattoo, she said, starts with coming to her shop and looking at reference pictures for ideas as to what they want and what style, and how much it will cost.
“After that, we’ll set up an appointment and I’ll have a drawing ready for them when they come in,” she said. “Then they’ll either approve it or make changes on the design, and then they’ll sign some papers and the process begins.”
Vail emphasized that everything throughout the tattoo process is state of the art and sterile, with all materials being single use and disposable, which includes the needles and the tubes they go into.
Her other passion is music and her band, Missing November, will be appearing at Alley 21 in Hillsboro from 9-11 p.m. Saturday Oct. 6 with no admission fee or cover charge.
“We do a lot of pop and rock, and classic metal covers,” she said. “And we’ve also got nine or 10 originals that we throw into the set as well.”
Vail said the group is looking for a new drummer and since there have been some changes in the band, Missing November will take some time to revamp its set list and work on some fresh arrangements with the new members.
“After the Alley 21 gig, we’re booked at the Columbia in Portsmouth,” she said. “We’ll be opening for a national act called Eva Under Fire, so we’re excited about that.”
She said the band has five original songs recorded for use as a demo with plans to get back into the studio and complete its first album, which they hope to release early next year.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-4271.