Area51_Artists_KhalidMy name is Khalid and I am the Owner/Tattooist here at A51 Tattoos! Being a Crystal Lake resident since the age of 14, having a shop in Downtown C.L. is a dream come true. I couldn’t ask for a better area to open shop.  I’m married to a wonderful and supportive woman and have three children who are the light of my life. Of course in my down time (not much of that) I relish the moments that I have with my family. I try to do as much painting and creating as I can while continuously honing different techniques to apply to my custom designs.

I’ll talk about what I get asked the most …How did I get into tattooing? I suppose just like most tattooists, the wrong way. When I was fourteen, I found out that I could tattoo myself with a needle and ink. Well, that was the COOLEST THING EVER!! I’ve drawn since I could pick up a pencil and to do it permanently was well, pretty awesome. After upsetting quite a few of my friends’ parents I got a tattoo with an actual machine! That was a whole new level, I was 17 and I was hooked! From that day on I knew that I wanted to learn how to tattoo! So I did what a lot of people did and bought a “start-up” kit…bad way to go. Discovering that an apprenticeship was a better way to learn, I went from shop to shop with my portfolio and was fortunate to be taken on by Pamm at Visionquest Tattoos in Marengo where I completed my education in 1994 and fell away from the art form for a few years. After a few life changing events, the tattoo ink called me back and I was determined to make a living doing the thing I loved most. After a couple of years tattooing here and there, a financial backer turned good friend approached me by the name of Rick. Rick and I opened Area 51 Tattoo and Piercing in 2002. After a couple of years Rick was kind enough to sell me the business and all the headaches became mine! Throughout the years I’ve worked with some really amazing artists and people in general. The secret for me is real simple, I like people. I’ve had a lot of jobs, even careers, over the years and I look back at that and cant imagine doing anything other that tattooing ever again. I am truly fortunate to wake up every morning and be excited to go to “work”.


Area51_Artists_DesireaDesirea has been tattooing since 2002, she made her start serving her apprenticeship at Visionquest Tattoos in Marengo under the tutelage of Pamm. Not long after, the doors of Visionquest would be closed forever. In 2004, Khalid asked her to join A51 Tattoos. Since Desirea had a similar training regimen, she was a perfect fit for the type of studio Khalid was trying to put together. It has been a great meeting of minds and the years have seemed to fly by way too fast.

Even though Desirea lives in Rockford, she finds that the clientele of A51 are worth the drive. Desirea is always pushing her limits and striving to exceed the expectations of her clients. As with all students of Visionquest, she has a been taught a WIDE range of tattoo style and finds enjoyment in each one. She’s well known for being able to create a wide variety of design from Black and Grey to Color Bomb, from Fine Line to Bold and everything in between.

When not tattooing, Desirea is constantly creating with other mediums including watercolor, charcoal and pastels. If you want to get her started in a conversation, bring up your love for dogs. Be careful what you wish for though, Desirea is an avid dog lover and has two “kids” herself which she is more than happy to show off pictures of.

So, check out her portfolio and see what kind of work she brings to the table. As always, thank you for taking the time to read a bit about one of the Tattooists that make A51 great.