Jose Ruiz, also known as Enrike Ruiz, started tattooing by watching people and practicing.
After tattooing for four years, Ruiz brought his tattoo business, Center Left Tattoo Studio, to Crete in November.
Center Left Tattoo Studio closed on April 5 because of COVID-19 measures, but opened its doors again on May 18.
Changes to the studio’s function include appointments made over social media or the phone and mandatory mask wearing in the building. Those getting service at the studio have to come alone to the appointment to reduce potential exposure. The studio is also appointment only now.
Center Left Tattoo Studio specializes in tattooing, stretch-mark camouflage, lip pigmentation, microshading and ombre eyebrows.
For now, Ruiz runs the studio by himself, but by the beginning of July there will be a permanent makeup artist to assist in those services.
Ruiz said the Crete community is responding well to his business. Since November, Ruiz said he has only had eight or nine days that he hasn’t tattooed. He has raffled off free tattoos through his social media in exchange for publicity.
“I like to give out a lot to the community since they are responding really well to the business,” Ruiz said.
The name for his studio comes from the fact he was born in the “center left” part of Mexico.
Ruiz was born in Poncitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, and his parents immigrated to the United States when he was 3 years old. He lived in Illinois until he moved back to Mexico when he was 13. Riuz was there until he married his wife, Melissa Quiroz, whose family was in Crete.
“I love everything that has to do with art,” Ruiz said. “Another thing I love and am passionate about was music.”
When the two got married, Ruiz decided he was tired of “normal work” and wanted to follow the things he was passionate about.
“I told my wife either I am going to become an accordion player, because that’s a big thing down in Mexico, or a tattoo artist,” Ruiz said. “Came to find out that a tattoo machine was way cheaper than a good accordion.”
Ruiz started drawing realistic dogs when he was around 8 years old, and that led him to believe he was capable of tattooing, Ruiz said.
Ruiz enjoys doing American tradition or neo-traditional tattoos and floral designs. He is open to anything though, he said.
Ruiz charges $100 per hour or $70 for “minimalist” tattoos that take less than an hour.
Center Left Tattoo is located at 1244 Main Street and shares the building with Therapeutic Wellness Massage and Bodywork.
Ruiz’s work can be seen on his social media including Center Left Tattoo Studio Facebook page and @enrikeruiztattoo and @centerlefttattoostudio Instagram pages. He also has a YouTube channel, E.R Tattoo TV, where he posts videos of his tattoo sessions. Ruiz has 13,500 subscribers to his YouTube channel.
For more information, or to book an appointment, call (402) 418-4327 or message the Facebook or Instagram accounts.