Oliver (Uncle Sudsy) and Zeek Walker have taken a shop in the heritage-listed Cambrian Hall building in Booval, right near the railway station where they worked on a mural 15 years ago.
Oliver (Uncle Sudsy) and Zeek Walker have taken a shop in the heritage-listed Cambrian Hall building in Booval, right near the railway station where they worked on a mural 15 years ago. Darren Hallesy

Father and son make their mark

IT would be an understatement to say that the man known as Uncle Sudsy has made his mark on Booval.

Many years ago, he was commissioned to paint the mural in the tunnel at Booval train station, and his then four-year-old son helped, putting his own touch on the artwork.

Today, Oliver Walker (aka 'Uncle Sudsy') and his son Zeek (19) are excited to open their new business just a stone's throw from where it all began.

Sudsy & Son is the new tattoo studio just metres from Booval train station in the Cambrian Hall building, and the father and son team are stoked to open the first tattoo studio in the suburb, bringing with them clients from all over the country who like their work.

"We're trying to brand ourselves on our personality, along with our art," Sudsy said. "I've been doing this for six years now and it was because I'd accomplished everything, I wanted to in the graffiti work with sponsorships, exhibitions, competitions, I'd done it all and surpassed my goals.

"I just need a new challenge and Sudsy & Son was it, I needed a new outlet for my art, and the challenge to grow and do better."

Sudsy and Zeek were not allowed to change the exterior of the building as it is heritage listed, but it ticked every box for the pair for what they wanted to offer.

"This spot in Booval is close enough to the CBD but far enough away from other shops so we're not cutting anyone else's grass. It's a good, private studio, and its perfect that we can lock the door and focus on the client without answering phones, dealing with walk ins and so on.

"I've had someone come from Townsville already."

Sudsy believes the VLAD laws (Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013) in Queensland cleaned up the industry and has resulted in an injection of artists and new studios, along with the change in the stigma of tattoos.

"Tattoos are often about milestones and commemoration of things, it's not a spur of the moment decision for most people, but in saying that there are no rules for the client. Just enjoy it.

"I think that the tattooist's chair is often a therapist's chair. If I had a dollar for each time someone had said to me 'I've never told anyone this...'

"Zeek's been doing art with me since he was four, and he's grown up working beside me. It's awesome working all day with my son."

Sudsy has done lots of work for free on breast cancer survivors, and says the difference in women is amazing.

"We've been offering free nipple tattoos, because health cover considers it cosmetic surgery which is expensive," Sudsy said. "These women have paid enough, and it doesn't tax us or cost us much to do. The change when they look in the mirror after is amazing, their confidence is higher because of it.

"Ninety per cent of our clients come back, we know that our service is good."

Zeek loves working with his dad, and has even practiced his art on his father.

"It's like hanging out with a mate, we get along great," Zeek said.