After doing the usual ordering the at-home kit and then scarring all his friends (and losing most) Pete had the fortune of meeting Colonel William Todd and at the age of 18 with an I.D. saying he was 21, Pete was off to California for an experience that would greatly alter his life and everyone around him; an apprenticeship at Bert Grimm's Tattoo Studio on the Pike in Long Beach!
Shortly thereafter Pete was working for the Colonel in a studio in San Pedro. But the Windy City and family were soon calling him home.
Tattooing in Chicago in the mid 70's was unlike anywhere else. It was a truly "Closed door" "Fuck you, Get lost kid, You'll never make it" attitude.
Undaunted, he opened his own studio with a friend and called it Windy City Tattoo. That was a very short lived proposition because back then there truly wasn't enough business for a two man studio.
In 1976 Pete looked for a seedy enough neighborhood to open a place of his own. He settled in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and at 4441 N. Broadway, Pete's Tattoo Studio was born!
Soon there was enough business for two, so Pete took in a partner, a local artist named Bob Oslon. The name was changed to the Tattoo Factory and more artists were put on. In the beginning there was Dan Melzer, Tattoo Mike Ortmann, and Pete's little brother Paul.
Pete's obsession with Tattoo Factory necessitated total control, so shortly thereafter, Bob Oslon was bought out and Pete was in command.
After 28 years the Tattoo Factory blossomed into what can now be truly called a Chicago landmark. The fresh ideas pour forth from the young talent, who in turn absorb the traditionalist styles that abound at the Tattoo Factory.
Unfortunately, on May 22, 1996, "Tattoo Pete" died in a motorcycle accident.
His vision lives on through the eyes of his brother Paul, who truly believes that if the Tattoo Factory stays open, then Tattoo Pete will live on.