The Good Son: Tattoo artist has  ingredients for success, Mom’s special dish

By Jose E. Garcia

Shirley Walters is concerned her son, Mark, a tattoo artist, won’t be ready for the food interview.
“You better look nice,” Shirley says in her English accent, as she warns her 30-year-old son. “Did you comb your hair? Did you cook the food right? Is (the reporter) there yet?”
Yes, Shirley, Mark, owner of Living Canvas Tattoos in Tempe, did cook the food right. As for his jet-black hair, well, lets just say it hasn’t touched a comb all day. Shirley, you’ll also be happy to know that the bed in Mark’s Scottsdale condo is made.
“I’m definitely a mama’s boy,” Mark says.
“People trip out when my mom calls the shop and I say, ‘I love you,’ when I hang up.”
Not what you’d expect from a tattoo artist, who often draws on hard-core, bald bikers. He also golfs, is an eBay junkie and, more importantly, cooks.
Today, along with the help of his mother’s kitchen, Mark is preparing an old English treat- Shepard’s Pie.

“I just love it, man,” Mark says, “Takes me back…I still remember when I used to eat it when I was little.”
Born in Wales, Mark also go to taste some of his mom’s Shepard’s Pie while living in Hong Kong for seven years. When Mark was eight, his parents sent him to a prestigious boarding school in England, Clifton College Preparatory, where wake up calls came at 5:30 a.m.
So, how does a kid with a nice disciplinary upbringing go from a briefcase toting boarding school kid to a tattoo artist with the word
“Faith” tattooed on his belly? “I don’t know,” says Mark, with a look of amazement. What is known is that despite his auspicious journey, Mark is pretty much a laid back guy with all the screws on his head well tightened.
“He’s a wonderful son and a wonderful artist,” Shirley says. “It has to do with his values, which is one of the reasons he’s so successful.”
Mark, who along with his family moved to Arizona 17 years ago, credits his parents’ strict ways for steering him along the correct path. And he credits his love of drawing for opening the first tattoo shop in Tempe seven years ago.
“I would say we are definitely the most popular shop in Arizona,” Mark says. “I run my tattoo shop a little different. I run mine like it is a business. It’s more than just a tattoo shop to me.”
Mark’s twelve hour days prohibit him from spending that much time in the kitchen. Because of his work schedule, Mark had planned on cooking a simple dish, pasta, but his mom wasn’t too hip to the idea of cooking Italian.
“You can’t make pasta,” Shirley says. “You have to make something English.”
Mark would eventually go on to produce the toothsome English delicacy, Shepard’s Pie, after getting yet another taste of his mother’s tough loving.


Shepard’s Pie
2 Ω pounds roast beef
2 Ω pounds potatoes
Flour, margarine, salt and pepper to taste
Ω cup water
1 beef cube (stock)
Cook roast beef for one hour at 400 degrees. Let it cool down, then put roast beef in mincer or Cuisinart. Take out and separate the juices. Mix the juices with the flour, water, and beef stock to make the gravy. Mix a little bit of the juice with the meat before putting in baking dish. Add seasoning as needed. Boil potatoes, then mash potatoes with margarine. Add salt and pepper. Put ground beef in oven dish and layer potatoes on top. If you like, make a design on top of the mash potatoes with a fork. Cook in oven at 400 degrees for one hour or until the top is brown and crisp.