God and ink saved this man’s life

God and ink saved this man’s life

Tommy Kirschbaum was locked up four times. When he started his tattoo business, Mid-West Tattooers, he found a passion and a vocation that has helped him change his life.

A note pad and Sharpies were Tommy Kirschbaum’s sanctuary in prison.
Now his sanctuary is ink. 

The Spencer native was locked up four times — one 16-year conviction and three times for revocations of parole — over the course of 20-plus years. Kirschbaum is an 11-time felon on charges such as strong-armed robbery, felony battery, battery of an inmate. 

“I’m not the same person, but it’s tough to get out of that past. … It follows you, especially in a town this size,” Kirschbaum said. “I’m not proud of some of the things I’ve done.”

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