FORT WAYNE, IN- An Indiana tattoo artist has developed a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way tattoos are applied. The tattoo is only as good as the artist’s talent and tools.

Resident artist and State of the Art Tattoo founder Shea Rutherford is changing the way it’s done — and shaking up the industry at the same time. Tattoos have long been performed in a linear fashion. The artist holds onto the device like they would an ink pen. There are many drawbacks to this technique, especially while performing precise and permanent markings. Visibility of the needle tip is obstructed, stability requires a great deal of skill, and leverage and range of motion are limited.

These disadvantages were recognized by Fort Wayne, Ind. artist Shea Rutherford. Seeing this need firsthand, the entrepreneur developed the Mantis Grip. It’s a handle, more or less, that the artist grips. Attached to the handle is a vice in which the tattoo machine fits. The vice is strategically placed for the ideal angle for insertion of ink. The grip offsets the machine, swings it out of the way, similar to a calligraphy pen with an offset nib. This creates an ideal angle and improved visibility for the user.

Furthermore, the new grip allows the artist to pivot the hand back, giving him or her greater range of motion. All in all, it’s a more efficient tool for the job of a tattoo artist.

This is great in theory, but does it work? The answer is an enthusiastic yes. Rutherford has used the tool for more than a year and a half—proof that it works. “It’s going to be exciting to see what other artists can do with it,” he said. “I’m just trying to improve my daily life of as a tattooist. I don’t expect every artist to want to try it— it’s new, and new is scary, especially when you’re already accustomed to what you use. I just know how useful it has proven to be.”

Rutherford sees the tool as a way to push the envelope and open doors to new possibilities in the industry. This initial prototype is just the beginning. He has high hopes for its marketability and success. In the meantime, he filed for a U.S. patent and the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty). The business entity, Mantis Grip LLC has been established, and will have a strong presence at tattoo conventions in the U.S. and potentially abroad. The product is manufactured from stainless steel and made in the USA.

For more information, visit or follow him on Instagram at @themantisgrip.

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