Seen and Heard: Tattoo studio gets some good ink

From left, Martina Chester (receptionist), Matt Holt, Luke Austin and James Dahnert are artists and staff at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Tattoo, recently named one of the top 10 tattoo studios in Minnesota. In the background is Jim Hores, another staff artist.
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Sacred Heart Studios in Rochester was recently named one of the top 10 tattoo studios in Minnesota by Best Things in Minnesota, a site for both visitors and locals to learn about the best places for dining, shopping and living in our state.

Sacred Heart owner and tattoo artist Matt Holtis a Rochester native. However, he left town in his teens to move to Las Vegas, where he learned the art and industry of the tattoo business from his own father.

Ten years ago, Holt returned to Rochester intending to leave the tattoo industry in the past. He described the time as an era when clientele were interested in simply selecting a design off a wall. He enrolled in art classes at RCTC, hoping to "find another art-based career."

However, a change was on the horizon with a "renaissance in the industry." Holt said, "It (tattoos) was no longer a rebellious way to destroy your body." As tattoos have become more acceptable in our society, more talented artists emerge. Today, Holt and his team of tattoo artists Luke Austin, James Dahnert, Jim Hores, Mike Erickson, and Nick Sinclairare "driven by creating fine art."

Holt, the artist, said his business would not run without his wife, Stephanie. "I couldn’t do it without her." The studio prides itself on being "family-friendly with fair prices." Truly a family place, Matt’s brother Adamworks in the studio as a piercer.


Additionally, Holt is a co-founder of Mission 21 , a local nonprofit that "is an anti-trafficking service provider committed to the complete restoration of child victims of sex trafficking. Since 2010, Mission 21 has been working tirelessly to provide services to children being bought and sold in the commercial sex trade in Rochester and statewide." Sacred Heart Studios supports this worthy cause.

Fledgling filmmaker

Mantorville native Nate Vriezerecently presented his short film, "Somewhere, Nowhere," at the Unspooled Film Festival . The University of Wisconsin-Stout event showcased the work of students in the fall Digital Cinema Studio class.

Vrieze, a senior entertainment design major at Stout, was also responsible for creating the branding for the festival, which included posters and a short opening animation .

Vrieze’s film, which shows the "stillness of small town America," was shot in the small communities in the vicinity of Menomonie, Wis. In making his film, Nate’s goal was to "capture things people don’t really notice" in small towns in middle America.

The film was shot using Super 8 film, which is a rarity these days in blockbuster movies. The end result is a collection of small town images accompanied by the music of guitarist Melanie Faye.

Vrieze is now in the process of putting together his senior project, a documentary about an Eau Claire photographer Kyle Lehman. Lehman is someone Nate has "admired for some time." He anticipates this next film will blend Lehman’s personal "life and ideology of photography."

After graduation this spring, Vrieze hopes to work in filmmaking.



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