Chet Duvenci is a tattoo artist and owner of The Mercy Seat, a tattoo gallery located in the Crossroads Arts and Design District. Often referred to as a “dermagraphic illustrator,” rather than just another run-of-the-mill tattooist, it’s evident he takes his line of work very seriously. Specializing in custom large and extremely detailed pieces, Duvenci prides himself in building relationships with his clients and taking the time to understand their needs before he even picks up a needle.
Like Duvenci, The Mercy Seat is anything but average. Located in a neighborhood full of art galleries and design studios, this tattoo shop is adorned with enough unique paintings and wall décor to keep customers enthralled even before they get to the chair. The Mercy Seat also moonlights as an art gallery and concert venue as an active participant in the Crossroads District’s famous First Friday celebrations, occurring on the first Friday of every month.
What makes KC a great environment for creativity and the arts?
We’re the Galapagos Islands of America. All of the attention is on the coasts…people don’t think twice about the Midwest so we’re kind of allowed to grow on our own without a lot of pressure. It’s cheaper, easy to find work, central to everything you might want to travel to. It’s great.
What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
On the top of most any building in downtown Kansas City, taking in the vistas. The bluffs near the Westside neighborhood are also great.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
That would be Bali, Indonesia. It has the spiritual energy of a place like Hawaii but times ten.
What's your most treasured possession?
Nothing. I’m not a possession guy. I’m wearing my favorite possessions. Twice in life before it’s all been taken from me so I’m not into physical things. I guess I’d be sad if my skull collection were gone. But, you’re not what you own.
Who is your favorite hero from fiction?
I can’t really think of any.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
I really appreciate people who like to live free… a lot of the artists and musicians I know. Joe Strummer from the Clash. Bob Marley. Robert Williams the painter. People who understand that there are no limits.
When and where are you happiest?
All the time. Every day. I get to live a charmed life and get to do everything I want to do. I don’t have to answer to anyone.