Jessica South Perdue was born in New York and lived in Pennsylvania and West Virginia before settling in Danville after he mother took a job with Corning Glass. You’ve probably seen her artwork around Danville without even knowing it. She has been a tattoo artist for 25 years. Along with her husband, “Peanut,” a fellow small business owner, Perdue lives with six dogs and two cats. “There is never a dull moment,” she said.
“From the time I could hold a crayon, I was constantly drawing something,” Perdue said. She was introduced to tattoos at an early age as well. “As a small girl I would trace over my grandpa’s tattoos, he had gotten while in the military, with my finger.”
Being a tattoo artist requires a steady hand and a creative mind. At the root of creativity is inspiration. The beauty of nature and other artists’ work inspire Perdue. “I love everything from Van Gogh to Ed Roth. The more unusual, the better,” she added.
Perdue’s journey to career of inking skin began with a roommate who was a tattoo artist. “I would drive him to and from work.” She started apprenticing at the shop. “One day, we came to Danville so that Red Turpin could tattoo him. While he did that, I was drawing. Red saw my drawings and said I should be tattooing.” Perdue’s roommate, Kenny, agreed. She wasn’t immediately convinced, but still pursued the art.
Today, Perdue owns Blue Moon Tattoo & Body Piercing.
Owning a small business has its advantages. For Perdue, one is being able to offer a safe, quality of service to her clients. “I feel like we may bring some people to the River District who, otherwise, may not experience what’s available.” Helping her apprentices develop skills is another perk and something Perdue values in high regard. “These things can change their lives for the better and help to provide for their families,” she added.
Perdue must be at the shop so her apprentices can work. This creates a conflict with scheduling other things, but their gaining experience is invaluable to Perdue. “Sometimes, it is also challenging to set a positive attitude during difficulties,” she said. But Perdue knows doing that is the sign of a good leader.
There is a different customer service that comes with something permanent, like a tattoo. “When putting something on your body that lasts a lifetime, we want you to be happy with the finished result. We go to great lengths to make sure clients are happy with the design, having them approve it before we begin,” Perdue said. Aftercare is another aspect of tattooing and body piercing that is important. “How you care for your tattoo or piercing is crucial to the result.”
Quality of service is always at the forefront of Perdue’s mind. She said, “We use the best products available, and products and tools are ever evolving in this industry. We encourage clients to contact us with questions as soon as they arise so we may help them.”
Perdue is looking at the changing climate in Danville through a positive lens. “I feel like there will be a growing list of small businesses in the area. We have already seen a lot downtown with more being developed. Spaces don’t stay empty long.” She is in love with the downtown area. “I got married on the cobblestone street outside my shop. The transformation, and positive change is exciting to watch, and I look forward to seeing it expand around,” Perdue said.
In the future, Perdue hopes to expand her business as well. “I hope we can have a larger space allowing for more artists and services, possibly open seven days a week at some point.”