Dark Mark Tattoo

Dark Mark Cynthia Finch

This sleeve tattoo by Finch is a delightful mash-up of Saturday morning cartoons.

Dark Mark Tattoo
341 West St.
Keene, NH

If you’re ever on the tattoo side of TikTok, you may have already seen some Dark Mark Tattoo designs without even realizing. About a year and a half ago, owner Cynthia Finch started offering what’s known as “Get What You Get” tattoos.

Instead of coming in with a preconceived idea or picking from a book of flash, clients can pay a flat rate to spin an old-school candy dispenser containing an assortment of pre-drawn designs — at which they get what they get. Videos of clients in this thrill ride of chance have gone viral on TikTok, particularly during Halloween when the dispensers are filled with spooky designs.

Dark Mark isn’t the only shop to offer the concept, but Finch says the way they do it is unique. “I use them as one-time designs, and I’ll let you go until you like the one you get, for an extra fee,” she says. “I don’t believe anyone should get something they don’t like tattooed on them. The designs are taken out once I tattoo them, and I draw a new one to replace it.” Finch tries to keep about 50 designs for each of the five themes on hand at all times. “That’s a lot of pre-drawing to do,” she says.

Dark Mark 3

From left to right, Cynthia Finch, Tristan Lewellyn, Dylan Boucher and Crystal Warner.

While the GWYG method might be flashy, Finch says the majority of customers “prefer to make an actual appointment, instead of getting a random tattoo.” For that, they can go to one of the shop’s four artists: Finch, Tristan Lewellyn, Crystal Grace Warner and apprentice Dylan Boucher, who just started taking appointments last spring. Currently, most of the artists are appointment-only, though Finch says Boucher will start taking walk-ins soon.

While Dark Mark has a reputation for its nostalgic, pop-culture-themed designs — the shop’s Instagram page (@darkmarktattoo) is a veritable treasure trove of millennial nostalgia, from Disney characters to Pokémon and Neopets — Finch celebrates each artist’s unique style. Frequently, the team will do an exercise where they pick a random prompt — “snake inside a bottle” or “pant fox,” to name two recent ones — and all draw their own interpretation. Finch started this because it was fun, but also because she wants to create a culture where people reach out asking to get a tattoo from a particular artist who could excitedly bring an idea to life.

“We are artists and we love partnering with someone in that way,” Finch says. “This is our artwork, our passion, and we want to give you something amazing. It is important to care who does your forever body art.”

Note from the editor: 01 Nhm Cover Sept No Upc

This profile appeared as part of a larger article in the September 2023 issue of New Hampshire Magazine highlighting some of the wonderfully talented tattoo studios in the Granite State.

To learn more about the other studios, click here.

Categories: Tattoo Studios