BLACKFOOT—At the age of just two or three, it was obvious to the parents of Blackfoot tattoo artist Durst Hayden that their son was a gifted artist and would go on to do great things with his talent.
"When I was little I'd spend hours drawing detailed pictures of monsters, trucks and airplanes," he said. "My mother, who was a Born Again Christian, always told me 'God has a big plan for you.' "
His father, who Hayden said, 'was born into and died in a rough biker gang,' wanted something better for his son, and told him, "I am an example of what 'I don't want you to become.' "
"I told my dad, who was someone that I never B.S'd with, that I wanted to be a tattoo artist," he said.
Hayden said at the age of 13 he was presented with a full-line of tattooing equipment, a gift from his father, and that he taught himself as a tattoo artist.
And, indeed, Hayden's gift as an artist has taken him places.
Hayden, who also served as U.S. Marshal, has traveled the country and the world creating tattoos for the simple person to top name judges, actors and musicians including hip-hop singers Chris Brown and Jesse James and actor Wee Man (from the movie Jack Ass).
"It used to be just bikers and sailors got tattoos, but now, tattoos have become mainstream," he noted. "Tattooing is one of the top industries in the nation right now...right up there with Walmart and Microsoft."
To date Hayden has logged 23 years in the tattoo business, saying, "I've tattooed in Italy, Germany, Japan, Hawaii and had 15 different businesses around the country, including a recent tattoo business in Sandpoint, Idaho. "I am 'self-promoted, self-made and self-paid,' " he exclaimed.
It was Hayden's wife Sarah, who is from Lava Hot Springs, who ultimately brought him to East Idaho, where he has settled in Blackfoot.
After looking around other East Idaho communities, Hayden felt Blackfoot was a good fit for his new business "Kind Soul Tattoos." He opened up shop about two weeks ago across from the Tumbleweed Saloon on Pacific Street.
The business is fully licensed and insured and Hayden said his business motto is: "Come in as a customer, leave as a friend."
"I welcome everyone in, but at the same time, I reserve my right to refuse service to anyone. I recognize the signs of drug use, and my business is a drug free zone," he explained. "If someone is using, they will be asked to leave. My business is family friendlyand parents are welcome to bring their kids in with them."
As the business grows, Hayden will employ a body piercer and body modification expert. In the near future, he will also offer what he calls "second chance tattoos."
"These are for anyone who has gang, drug or racist-related tattoos. I will cover them up for free," he explained. "This is something that went over well in Sandpoint and I want to get it going here in Blackfoot as well."
Kind Soul Tattoos is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10a.m.-6 p.m. For more information call: 208-201-3577 or find them on Facebook at: KindsoultattoosDurstHayden.