a man in a shirt and sunglasses standing in front of a tattoo shop

No matter how many individuals appear in the pages of each edition of Keys Weekly, there are always so many more of our community members who deserve to be recognized. In an effort to shine a spotlight on more of the incredible individuals who live and work in these islands, Keys Weekly is proud to spotlight our Neighbor of the Week feature, dedicated to celebrating a community member with each issue. This week’s neighbor has been leaving his mark on our community, literally and figuratively, for over 20 years. Allen Mertsock arrived in the Florida Keys in 2001, bringing his passion for art and tattooing. “I live and breathe tattooing,” he told the Weekly. Allen’s artistic journey led him to become the owner of Doc’s Tattooz in 2006, which is approaching its 25th year in operation. 

Owner, Doc’s Tattooz

How did you end up in the Keys? I arrived here by boat, a sailboat, in 2001. 

If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and what would you eat? Jimmy Buffett, and a cheeseburger. 

What’s the best and worst part of the Keys? The heat and the hurricanes. 

What piece of advice would you give to new tattoo artists? Stay calm, don’t stress.

What’s your best “hot take”? I have a hot take on people complaining about the way things used to be. Live in the now. Progression always prevails. 

What music do you listen to when you tattoo? Everything, all good music.

What would you do if you won the lottery? I would buy a little house in every city. Just a little place to live in every city. 

What’s your favorite tattoo that you have on yourself? My wife’s name.