Welcome To The Aloha Monkey
The Aloha Monkey, is a tried and true, no-bullshit, old school, traditional street shop. Opened in 1999 by world famous tattoo legend Mike "Rollo Banks" Malone, the shop was passed to tattooer Josh Arment, in 2001.
We are located in Burnsville, Minnesota south of the river and service the surrounding areas of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Eagan, Apple Valley, Farmington and into Wisconsin. Our staff of top quality tattoo artists and piercers ensure that you will receive the best tattoo or piercing possible.
We have 1000's of ready to go designs in our wall to wall, floor to ceiling gallery of tattoo flash and can also custom craft something just for you. We also have the best selection of the highest quality body jewelry available.
Walk-ins are always welcome and appointments are available for larger pieces when necessary.
We are craftsmen and take pride in our trade. All of our focus is on giving you a solid, quality tattoo or piercing that will be worthy of wearing for the rest of your life! This was the vision of founder, Mike "Rollo Banks" Malone, and that's the way it's going to stay.
Lineage of “The Aloha Monkey”
The Aloha Monkey Tattoo's origins go far back in time, and far away from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Although it is located in the Great State of Minnesota in beautiful Burnsville, it actually began long ago in Honolulu, where tattooing legend and master Sailor Jerry Collins lived and worked, creating work that would affect the art and tattoo world for decades to come.
Read The Shop History
Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins
Sailor Jerry was originally from Ukiah, California, but through his travels around the world, eventually landed in Honolulu, Hawaii, where though his constant pushing forward his skills and artistic eye, creating a fusion of styles that blended the best of both traditional Japanese and American tattooing the likes that the world had never seen before. It was his strong style and originality that brought the attention of good friends Michael Malone and Ed Hardy to come to Hawaii and work with Jerry, learning to expand their tattooing abilities, which Jerry was happy to teach to two such skilled and eager artists as he saw them both as "torpedoes" who would go back to the mainland and sink the plethora of what Jerry felt were unskilled tattooists who didn't have the heart it takes to commit one's self to his beloved art.
Unfortunately, in 1973, Sailor Jerry passed away from a heart attack. He left instructions for his wife to sell his shop at 1033 Smith St. in Honolulu's historic Chinatown district to one of his prodigies. Mike Malone took the challenge, and moved from his spot at Zeke Owens' Ace Tattoo in San Diego California where he was working at the time, and plunged into the historic depths of Jerry's old shop.
Mike “Rollo Banks” Malone
Mike renamed Jerry's shop to China Sea Tattoo, which he owned and operated for decades; only moving for a short time to Austin Texas in the 1980's where he ran a shop there for a short while having his crew held down the fort back in the Pacific. China Sea Tattoo continued the great traditions that Jerry started in it's tiny but mighty location: strong, beautiful tattoos with roots firmly embedded in the traditions that make American tattooing some of the most recognized in the world, but with long growing branches to the future so the work never become stagnant and stale. Mike's work became known world wide for being immediately eye catching and colorful, but also appealing to a huge swath of different people from all walks of life. From bold, beautiful tattoos that covered the entire body to show all to small mementos that were just for the wearer to have knowledge of, there was never anything like a Mike Malone tattoo.
Eventually in the late 1990's, Mike became restless. Hawaii, while a beautiful place, was also very small, and Mike wanted to live in a place where one could easily get to the rest of America with short hops on airplanes or cars, but still had enough of a small town feeling that he didn't feel like he was blocked in by the overly corporate life that was becoming common in cities all over the world. Surprising even himself, he found such a place in Burnsville. So, in 1999, Mike decided that he would open a new shop in Minnesota. But what to call it?
Romeo, “The Aloha Monkey”
After much thought, Mike remembered a story that Jerry had told him long ago. A tale that Jerry insisted was the truth, as fantastic as it was. Apparently Jerry at one point had a monkey that he kept in the shop, who he affectionately named 'Romeo'. Romeo was part of Jerry's life as a sailor, with the tradition of bringing exotic pets from far away places. Romeo amused Jerry to no end, having the unsavory habit of bending over and 'mooning' customers as they walked in. Jerry and one of his partners eventually came upon the idea of tattooing an "AL" and "HA" on each side of Romeo's butt, so when customers came in, they were greeted by Romeo's "ALOHA". Unfortunately, having a monkey in a tattoo shop was not the best of ideas. One day, it is told, Jerry came into the tiny 1033 Smith St. location to find that Romeo had gotten loose, and in the process of throwing needles around, tearing sheets of designs, and causing general havoc, had drank a brand new bottle of black ink that Jerry had just bought. Infuriated, Jerry was cleaning the shop and yelling at Romeo for causing such a mess, when one of Jerry's good customers from the US Navy walked in with his brand new, and regulation at the time, tropical white sailor's suit. Romeo let up a screech, turned around to spread the 'ALOHA' and sprayed black ink diarrhea all over the poor swabby's pristine white outfit.
This story of Romeo, who was immortalized on one of Jerry's sheets of tattoo designs (called flash), became the basis of Mike's new shop name; The Aloha Monkey. It was also Mike's way of tweaking the conservative noses of those who scoffed at tattooing, something Mike was always fond of doing.
As Mike realized that he would need help at his new location, eventually he brought in a young tattooist who was recommended to him by friends. This tattooist was named Josh Arment. Josh came to Burnsville to help Mike out with the Aloha Monkey while it got started. Learning to expand his skills while under the tutelage and friendship of Mike. They became close friends and Josh eventually made Burnsville and the Aloha Monkey his permanent home. It was a partnership for the ages.
Eventually, although Mike enjoyed tattooing, he realized more and more that he just wanted to focus on his own painting and decided to retire. He knew that Josh would be the right man to hand over the wheel of the Monkey to, so he sold the shop to his young friend and moved on.
Josh Arment “HMIC”
Josh Arment took the reigns and made the Aloha Monkey from a great tattoo shop into one of the greatest tattoo shops in first Minnesota, then eventually America. Tirelessly working harder to constantly improve his skills as well as making the Monkey into one of the tightest run ships in the industry, he has surrounded himself with a great crew and a constant flow of amazing tattooists from around the world to make sure that the people of Burnsville get the finest tattooing available to anyone, in an area that was formally known as 'nothing special' to tattooers who are now clamoring to come visit.
Josh Arment still keeps the Monkey in ship shape, bringing world-class tattooing to the Great State of Minnesota, proudly decorating the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters of the Gopher State. We look forward to ensuring that the traditions carried by Sailor Jerry and Mike Malone are still strong and continue to move forward. We invite you to join us at keeping Minnesota beautiful, and to get tattooed at The Aloha Monkey!