Pursuing a career in anything entertainment-related in Oklahoma City, OK is almost guaranteed to be a bumpy road to travel down. Before 2006, OKC was desolate with only a minor-league baseball team and an inconsistent hockey presence, to say the least. Also, before May 3, 2006, you couldn’t get a legal tattoo in the state, making Oklahoma the last to lift a prohibition on tattooing.
A sixth-grade kid named Joseph McCormick with football aspirations probably didn’t notice the lift on the tattoo prohibition, and surely didn’t think it would impact his life in any way, but 12 years later, after retiring from college football, tattoos are his forte and his full-time career. While Oklahoma City still isn’t a real hub for entertainment from a national standpoint, Joe, now known as ‘Big Homie Joe’, has maximized his potential in his hometown with his tattoo shop, Ink Plug Tattoo Co.
“It may be easier to blow up in a bigger city, but I want to put on for OKC and blow up here first.”
Joe’s experience doing tattoos may stretch for several years, but his experience in a tattoo shop only goes back two. “Coming from just doing little small tattoos, little names here and there. That’s all I would post on Instagram,” said Joe. “I couldn’t wait to start posting big pieces.”
Joe is dedicated to Oklahoma City but acknowledges that he could perhaps do well in larger markets. Cities like Los Angeles, New York, Miami, etc., may be more popular in the tattoo industry, but Joe doesn’t care for being a small fish in a big pond. He’d rather be a big fish in a little pond while helping build OKC’s notoriety in the realm of entertainment, culture, and the arts.
“If I moved to California, I know there’d be more opportunities as far as celebrities go,” said Joe. “With Oklahoma being a smaller market, you kind of have to take advantage of what you can get. It may be easier to blow up in a bigger city, but I want to put on for OKC and blow up here first.”
Knowing that about Joe, he knows that he must make the best out of this situation, which is what lead him to get connected to local college and professional athletes that need his services. From OU football players like Jadon Haselwood, and Cody Ford to professional athletes like Tenessee Titans wide receiver Cameron Batson, Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Terrance Ferguson, and recently, Atlanta Hawks star point guard Trae Young, Joe is making moves quickly.
Joe talked about how spontaneous his interactions were while getting some of his first notable clients. “I actually ran into Terrance at a Chris Brown concert and slid him my card,” claimed Joe. Former Millwood talent Batson was Joe’s first customer, but that was before his professional career. The connection with Young started from social media via Instagram.
“Some girl told him to hit me up, and he did…but that was the first time,” said Joe. “But when I replied, he didn’t and I was like ‘ah, this n***a playin’ with me.’ But then he hit me up again a few days later and asked if I had time to do it (today), and the rest is history.”
Joe’s love for tattoos stems from art. He finds peace in both forms, but the feeling and relaxation that comes with paint and canvas gives him a euphoric feeling that even tattoos don’t give him.
“Painting is a little more relaxing because I can just sit back, chill, and sip on some wine. It’s just more of a vibe,” said Joe.
He did mention that he loves to do tattoos as well. He said that both of these forms of art give him peace. “Whenever I’m doing either, time seems to go by quickly. To me, that’s how I know that’s my passion. When you forget about time, I believe that’s what you’re meant to do.”
Big Homie Joe hit the tattoo scene at a near-perfect time. His generation introduced tattoos to mainstream society and changed the perception of tattoos being reserved for criminals to them being socially and oftentimes professionally accepted.
“We’re seeing tattoos on more media members, athletes, television. It’s just a common thing now,” said Joe.
Those things are all true, but the inception of social media, and it’s growing influence on society has played an active role in Joe’s career skyrocketing. He’s just reaping the benefits while watching his company, Ink Plug Tattoo Co. take over downtown OKC.
You can find Ink Plug Tattoo Co. at 409 Kings of Leon Ln. Unit B-4 Oklahoma City, OK 73104.