Bringing Classic Back to Life Tim Hendricks’ New Acquisition

Bringing Classic Back to Life – Tim Hendricks’ New Acquisition

by Evan Senn

This past July, one of Southern California’s most respected tattoo shops, Classic Tattoo in downtown Fullerton was bought by well known artist and entrepreneur, Tim Hendricks. This tattoo shop is one of many in this area, but none can compare to Classic. Eric Maaske’s Classic Tattoo in Fullerton is a small, unassuming shop in a small tattoo scene in Orange County, but its quality of work and artists, and its history are bar none. Tim Hendricks is known for his involvement with hit television shows like Miami Ink and NY Ink, his work with Hurley, his gorgeous tattoos and his own tattoo supply company, Saltwater Tattoo Supply. He has a knack for the business and has been involved in dozens of world famous shops over the years. Eric Maaske’s Classic Tattoo has been operating since its opening, regardless of the lack for the past 10 years. Originally opened in 1989, owned by Charlie Moore, then purchased by Eric Maaske in the late ‘90s, this shop has been in many different hands since then, but Tim Hendricks’ new ownership is sure to bring new life and energy to this great shop. {E} recently got a chance to sit down with Hendricks to talk about this new endeavor and all he’s got going on.

{E} – Classic has a solid reputation for being one of the best shops in Orange County. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of this shop?
TH – Well, I’ll give you the quick version. Charlie Moore opened it in 1989. He owned it until about 1998, when he sold it to Eric. Eric remodeled the shop to what it looks like now. I remember getting tattooed in there before that and if I recall correctly there was shag carpet in that shop. Haha. Eric passed away suddenly in 2004; his dad (Dave Maaske) acquired the shop after a long legal battle, with help from a group of tattooers. Dave passed away about 6 months ago and you know the rest of that story. That’s the quick rundown; there are countless Classic Tattoo stories though, as there are in any old shop. So many amazing tattooers have worked here and passed these those doors, so many tattoos and generations of families getting tattooed here, it would take months to tell you all of these stories. Just know that when you walk through the doors at Classic you can almost feel the walls breathing, it’s a ‘real deal’ tattoo shop, unique in its own right. If you get a tattoo there you’ll most likely hear at least a few stories while in the chair, you might even create a story of your own.

{E} – Fullerton isn’t exactly Tattoo Mecca. What significance does Classic Tattoo have to you? Why did you want to own this shop?
TH – Well, it’s the first tattoo shop in Fullerton. It was the first shop I ever laid eyes on, riding in the back of my parents’ old spray-painted VW bus staring out the back. I got my first ‘professional’ tattoo at Classic at the exact station that is now MY station. All of my friends have worked there and some even got their start there. It’s a special place for me, just like it is for so many others, tattooers and collectors alike.

{E} – You grew up in Fullerton, right? Did Fullerton always have a prominent tattoo scene? Do you think it was motivation for you to go into the tattoo industry?
TH – Yes, I grew up about 1-2 miles away from Classic Tattoo. I wouldn’t know if it had a tattoo scene anymore than outside my little neighborhood. I learned how to tattoo out of my garage and had no official apprenticeship. I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone and I always wished I had an official apprenticeship. I never really had motivation to be involved in an ‘industry’ so to speak. I just wanted to tattoo and the tattoo family welcomed me, I got lucky. There is definitely the industry part if it but I still consider my tattoo friends my family.

{E} – What was your first tattoo, and where did you get it?
TH – My first tattoo was in a garage at a ‘tattoo party’. Those were popular in my neighborhood and I was about 15-16yrs old I think, I don’t know, my mom remembers timelines better than me. I was like 5th in line, same needle, same setup. I got my arm tattooed, my last name, in case I forgot it…

{E} – What was the first tattoo you ever gave someone else?
TH – I gave my best friend at the time, Ray Polentz, an arm band. It took forever, in a garage, music blaring, it was great. From then on out I was hooked, like heroin. It was so intoxicating I wanted to do nothing else but eat, sleep and shit tattooing. I must have driven any tattooer I came across nuts, I was constantly trying to get information out of them. I feel like sometimes they’d give me a scrap of tattoo information just to get rid of me. I still drive people nuts by talking too much, I’m sure of it.

{E} – You are extremely busy and hard working. Can you tell us a little bit what it’s like in a given week for you? How many hats are you wearing right now?
TH – Thank you for noticing. I’ve had people tell me I’m so lucky that I’m a tattooer, funny, the harder I work the luckier I get. It’s like Luke Wessman is always promoting, “hard work pays.” My week is like one long day with seven naps. I do my best to balance Classic Tattoo, my tattoo supply business and the work I do with Hurley Apparel; all the while making sure my family comes first. I’m very grateful though, I have a solid crew of guys at the shop I can rely on, my two cousins and my three best friends working the web store business and some of the most amazing people and great friends to work with down at Hurley. Every day I wake up is pretty much an epic day.

TIM HENDRICKS – The Monthly Throw Up from Daniel “YB” Ybarra on Vimeo.

{E} – What’s on the horizon for you?
TH – Well, I just got a brand new bionic back in Germany from one of the best back surgeons in the world. I basically spent my life savings and bought 20 more years of tattooing, so I’ll be doing A LOT more of it. I’m going to focus on the shop, tattoo my heart out, keep building tattoo machines the best way I know how, and do my best to be a good father and husband to my family. That’s about it.

{E} – What are your goals with Classic, now that you own it?
TH – Well, Classic was once one of the most famous shops in the world and still is in my book. My goal is to do what I can to maximize Classic’s potential and the crew within it, with hard work, integrity and good tattoos. It may take time and elbow grease, but that’s my specialty.

{E} – What do you think Classic offers tattoo lovers that they can’t find anywhere else? Do you think Classic will change Fullerton’s tattoo scene or even larger, Orange County’s?
TH – Walking into Classic is like a time warp. It’s like you walked into something out of the sailor and zoot suit era. Original Bert Grimm and Lee Roy Minugh flash on the walls, original old photos from the early-to-mid 1900s, Sailor Jerry stencils and photos, even the furniture and lighting is vintage and all functional. You just don’t see that every day and definitely not in most shops. I don’t expect to change Fullerton’s tattoo scene, there’s some great shops here, and some are owned by close friends of mine. I just want to carry on the Classic Tattoo legacy, this place is special and a destination shop for any tattoo enthusiast, whether you tattoo or collect tattoos or both. With how large tattooing has grown, tattooing needs shops like this to carry on, to keep the history alive and to keep us humble and appreciate those who paved the way for us.

Eric Maaske’s Classic Tattoo
521 N Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, California

(714) 870-0805 /  Visit Us on Facebook  /  Instagram @classicfullerton

Bringing Classic Back to Life Tim Hendricks’ New Acquisition