LANCASTER – Some people are good at one artistic endeavor and some are gifted at multiple artistic endeavors. Count Richard Conrad, aka Rich Regal, among the latter.
Conrad is a tattoo artist who owns the Modified Studios Tattoo Gallery at 737 N. Columbus St. He is also a musical artist specializing in country rap.
Conrad has owned his shop since 2010 and owned another for about six years prior. He got into the business after injuring his back doing masonry work.
“Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of business owners do things the wrong way,” Conrad said of opening his own business. “And I realized that I had a pretty good head on my shoulders and if I was going to do it right, I was going to have to do it myself.”
While people who make mistakes in other jobs can sometimes correct them easily, Conrad can’t afford to make a mistake on someone’s body.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “Once it’s there, it’s there. The good thing is that I’ve gotten really good at cover-ups. So if someone is wrong somewhere and comes to me, I can cover most of the time.”
Conrad said the biggest pressure he was under was making sure a client was happy with his work. Part of that is being honest and upfront with clients about what to expect when getting a tattoo.
“I tell people, yeah, it’s going to hurt,” Conrad said. “It’s a form of medical procedure. Not technically a medical procedure, but a form of. So you’ll feel some pain. We don’t numb the agents, so you’ll feel the pain a bit. But it’s more mild discomfort and it’s something you invest in and keep for life.”
Conrad’s musical career started about 15 years ago and he started performing about 12 years ago.
“When I went solo, I put everything I had into it,” he said.
As a result, he has delegated much of the tattooing business to a few employees and doesn’t spend as much time there as before.
“I’m only here for certain appointments and to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Conrad said. “Music has become kind of a priority. Now I’m touring nationally with big national artists and booking shows and events.”
He said he recently performed seven shows in a row which sold out. The locations were Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Columbus.
“It was a lot of work,” Conrad said of his musical success. “We’re really just starting to get recognition, if that’s the word. Like any other business, it’s a business. Everyone looks at what we do as artists. They’re like, ‘They’re just here partying and having a good time.’ Well, I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t party. I’m the first to a show and the last to leave. I retire and go home.
Conrad said the business aspect takes a lot of the fun out of what he does, but he still has fun playing.
“I love it,” he said. “The best part of what I do as an artist is that people who come to me tell me that what I do changes their lives.”
Outside of work, Conrad spends time with his family when he has rare downtime.
“Usually that includes going to the county fair or doing normal things,” he said. “But honestly, my favorite pastime is just sitting and talking with my family.”
Conrad has two children and is married to his wife, Autumn.