LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From Marine Corps to small business owner, one Louisville man uses the tools he learned in the service toward his passion for tattooing.

What You Need To Know

  • No Division is a tattoo shop located in Louisville on Pope Street

  • Owner, Steve Gatrost served in the Marine Corps before becoming a tattoo artist

  • Gatrost has been tattooing for 25 years


Inside an old garage on Pope Street, you won’t find cars or tools. Instead, there’s one Louisville man who’s dedicated to his craft.

That man is Steve Gatrost, and tattoos have always held a special place in his heart.

“It’s just one of my absolute favorite things and I’m very lucky to get to do it for a living,” Gatrost, owner of No Division Tattoo, said. It’s written all over his shop, No Division. Gatrost’s path to getting behind the business end of a needle and ink gun wasn’t a simple one.

“So I was in the military for four years, two and a half years of that was active duty and a year and a half was reserve duty,” Gatrost said. “During the reserve duty I was supposed to start college, and I had gone down for my interview and sat in on some art classes and toward the end of it I decided that wasn’t really going to be for me, I needed to figure something else out.”

That’s when Gatrost landed an apprenticeship spot at a Louisville tattoo parlor. He spent the last year and a half of his reserve military service there learning the trade.

What started Gatrost’s now 25 year career in the industry also inspired him to travel and learn from the best. “I moved to Bloomington, Indiana, I moved to Indianapolis, I moved to Cincinnati, and I would just work with people immensely better and more talented than me in every regard,” Gatrost said. “By being in the same room with them and human nature, you’re competitive, you don’t want to look bad, you’re going to do your best work.”

Just like on any journey, challenges presented themselves. Gatrost was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an obstacle he viewed as an opportunity.

“It’s hard to put into words, it made me a better person, like it made me very empathetic for people and made me more empathetic to other peoples plights in life that maybe I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t gotten sick,” Gatrost said.

The situation never kept him from pursuing his passion. He used lessons he learned along the way from other artists and in the Marine Corps to create art that he could be proud of.

“It’s also a huge responsibility. This is something that they’re going to look at the rest of their life,” Gatrost said. “So every time they look at it, they’re going to think about you in some regard you’re going to subconsciously cross their mind and so the experience has to be so good.”

Gatrost feels that he’s created a shop that promotes unity, and also art that keeps customers coming back.