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Somerville artist closes in on 151 Pokemon tattoos on 151 clients

Alicia Thomas of Boston Tattoo Company began tattooing Pokemon characters as a lark, but it has resulted in some of her favorite moments with clients.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

A Somerville tattoo artist’s quest to ink 151 Pokemon characters on 151 different clients is nearly complete. Now comes the hard part.

After almost two years, Boston Tattoo Company’s Alicia Thomas has just 13 Pokemon to go.

The trouble is, who really wants a tattoo of Grimer — a poison Pokemon of the sludge variety? Or Magneton of the magnet species? Or two mushroom crab-variety Pokemon called Paras and Parasect?

With mobile app Pokemon Go reaching peak insanity these days, Thomas said she’s gotten a lot of requests for tattoos of Pikachu, the chubby yellow mouse that’s the most recognizable Pokemon. Meanwhile, there’s no demand for Victreebel, which looks like a Venus Flytrap with fangs.


Still, Thomas, 26, is hoping a few good sports will lend a hand or an arm or a back to her cause. Maybe an ankle.

“I was hoping a nerdy chef would want to get Exeggcute,” she said, glancing at the Pokemon — a cluster of cracked, angry eggs.

The Pokemon tattoo goal started off as a lark. A friend — who was getting a Pokemon tattoo from Thomas at the time — suggested she try to ink them all. So she told her manager, who liked the idea. It has resulted in some of Thomas’s favorite moments with clients as they’ve shared their mutual love for the characters.

“For me, Pokemon has been one of the most constant things in my life,” Thomas said. “It’s one of those parts of your childhood you can still hold on to. It’s simple and fun.”

Thomas has just 13 Pokemon characters to go to reach her goal of tattooing all 151 on 151 different clients.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Thomas started playing the trading card game in Rhode Island when she was in the fourth grade. She says she has played every Pokemon video and card game out there, including the wildly popular Pokemon Go.

Thomas has been featured in articles on Vice as well as on a German television show, and people have driven all the way from Minnesota and New York to participate in her Pokemon project.


Thomas has promised herself a tattoo of Bulbasaur once she’s finished, she said. The green dinosaur with a garlic-like bulb on its back is her favorite Pokemon. It’s a good fit for Thomas: She’s been a vegetarian since the third grade.

Her boss and the owner of the shop, Jason Zube, said the project brings a positive feeling to the shop.

“It’s not [your typical] skull and crossbones or daggers or dragons,” Zube said. “It’s Pokemon.”

Cristela Guerra can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.