Kingston entrepreneur specializes in tattoos, other art forms

Stinging Nettle Studio is owned by 29-year-old Ana Dueñas

Ana Dueñas has spent much of her life devoted to art, an effort that has led her to become the owner of a tattoo shop in Kingston that also offers art classes and events.

Stinging Nettle Studio is located in downtown Kingston off Highway 104, and has been open for over a year. The business is appointment only so it doesn’t have set hours.

“It allows me to really give my client my full attention,” Dueñas said about why the business is appointment only. “It’s a private setting, basically one-on-one. Most days I only see one person a day. A lot of tattoo artists are pumping out tattoos all day but for me, I really like to put all my energy and focus into the tattoo I’m doing for that person.”

Dueñas, 29, and her studio mate Holly Howton are both tattoo artists as well as artists of various other forms. They have work on display and available for purchase at the studio.

To start off, it was only Dueñas who worked at the studio until Howton came on board in October. Both have bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts. Dueñas fell in love with art at an early age and began doing it professionally at age 16. She’s attended art institutions such as Tacoma Academy of Fine Art and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

“In elementary school, I would always win the art competition,” Dueñas said. “I found myself through the art. It wasn’t always easy as a kid. It was something I always had that I could go to.”

In 2016, she moved to Kingston and started selling her art little by little. She also worked at a tattoo shop on Bainbridge Island, where she learned that craft. She realized many of her clients were from Kingston, and knowing there was a lack of tattoo businesses in the area, she decided to open her own business.

“I just thought I should open a studio in Kingston since we don’t have a tattoo shop here,” Dueñas said. “I’ve been thinking about it for years but was only ready for it last year. Kingston is growing so much, there’s so many cool new businesses. It just felt like really good timing. “

She said the way the North Kitsap community embraces small businesses has been to her benefit. “I can definitely say I’ve been on the receiving end of that. When I first opened the shop I was really scared. I thought nobody was going to get a tattoo in Kingston. But I’ve been nonstop busy since my first week. My first year working in Kingston was the busiest year I’ve ever had in my career. I just like being part of the community…you get to know people.”

As for more traditional art forms, Dueñas specializes in oil paintings and drawings. “For me, I like to stay within the bounds of what I love to do,” she said. “I love doing botanicals and animals, anything nature-based. I specialize in black and gray so I’m more inclined to take on those kind of projects… I’m putting art on someone for the rest of their life so I want to feel confident in what I’m giving them. I also want to feel passionate about the work I’m putting on someone.”

Dueñas said she hasn’t had much time for art classes and events, but with Howton on board she is looking forward to ramping up that part of the studio. Other local artists will be able to display and sell their work. “I would like to have part of my studio be for local artists and have little art nights,” she said. “My first year I was pretty dedicated to tattooing and getting the hang of things. Now that I have a studio mate, it’s kind of opened up my time to put together some of these ideas I have—more community-based events.”

Specifically, her main focus has been a drawing night that occurs the last Thursday of every month from 6:30-8 p.m. “They’ve been going really well,” Dueñas said. “The main thing for me is quality over quantity. The last one I had only a few people show up but everyone was feeling super inspired. That’s what matters to me.” For more information, visit

Stinging Nettle Studios is a tattoo shop but also offers various art classes and events.

Stinging Nettle Studios is a tattoo shop but also offers various art classes and events.