Two Hartford tattooists hope to make mark in New Britain

Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 20:29
Written by Karla Santos


NEW BRITAIN - The space at 844 Main St. is undergoing renovations and in March it will be the home of a new tattoo shop.

KoLab Tattoos will be located at the former site of C&L Mini Market.

Hector Rivera and Javier Oquendo, both of Hartford, are the partners in the new business.

“I caught sight of the place in October 2018,” Rivera said. “I love the location because of the traffic and the fact that people know the spot already.”

The two are expecting to keep the renovation cost between $5,000 and $8,000.

After painting and making renovations to the floor, Rivera said, they are planning to build work stations. There will be visual entertainment, televisions on the walls and merchandise for sale. The space will have stations with cabinets, an emergency wash area and a private piercing room.

Rivera has been a tattoo artist since 2011.

“I taught myself on my own body to work the machines, to work the ink,” Rivera said. “I also have my brother and a couple of cousins that were my practice dummies. I was naturally good at it because I was always an artist as a kid. I naturally drew and I was good at all type of art.”

Rivera established a tattoo business at his home, later becoming a professional licensed artist.

“It really helped me provide for my family for the past five or six years and now we are ready to become a public service all together,” he said.

For Rivera, tattooing is more than an art. It’s a way of helping people overcome certain situations.

“I started getting tattoos myself and finding the meaning behind the tattoos that I wanted on my body, I think that drove me,” Rivera said. “A lot of people, they open their lives to me. They tell me their stories, they tell me their situations and how tattoos help them get through certain things. It helps me to find more passion for it because I’m helping people at the same time. A lot of people break down through depression or a memory or a situation they want to have forever and they put it on a tattoo. To me is like leaving a permanent mark with them.”

Rivera said his goal is to offer quality tattoos and piercings and a safe, family-type environment.

“That’s how I based my business throughout the years, so I want to keep the same comfortable feel,” he said.

To check out some of Rivera’s and Oquendo’s tattoo work, visit KoLab Tattoos on Facebook.

Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Business, New Britain on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 20:29. Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2019 20:31.