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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Family that owns Moon Mercury Tattoo leaves permanent mark on community

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

Ink runs in the blood of the Koskela family.

On Oct. 31, 2022, Peter Koskela opened Moon and Mercury Tattoo with his wife, Eelisha, and sons, Kevin and Dayin.

While working as a paramedic in Southern California, Peter often sketched while waiting for calls.

“I was always an artist,” he said.

His drawings caught the attention of coworkers, who asked him to design tattoos for them, but it was his design of a tattoo for Eelisha that launched his career. Her tattooist admired his art and told him he should do it for a living.

“My wife encouraged me to pursue it,” he said. “She thought my job was too stressful.”

That was 24 years ago, and he hasn’t looked back. His style attracted some well-known clients like Dutch former pro soccer player Greg van der Wiel.

“He flew us out to Paris twice when he was playing for PSG (Paris Saint-Germain),” Peter recalled.

Major League Baseball player Carl Crawford, singer Chris Brown and singer/actress Brandy Norwood were also clients. But as high school approached for younger son, Dayin, the family decided to make a change.

“He did not want to go to high school in Hollywood,” said Peter.

His brother-in-law and former apprentice, Jeremy Corns, lived in Spokane and had opened Anchored Art downtown. The family decided to move to the area and Peter worked with Jeremy.

Two years ago, the time was right for the family to open their upscale custom tattoo shop, Moon and Mercury Tattoo. Tucked in a small shopping area on the upper South Hill, the shop exudes a Gothic vibe with its dark, wood-paneled ceiling, wrought iron chandeliers and examples of Peter’s work on the walls.

Their oldest son, Kevin, has been tattooing for five years.

“But I’ve been around it my whole life,” he said, smiling.

For him, the enjoyment comes in creating something memorable for his clients.

“I get to put permanent art on someone,” Kevin said. “A piece of art that they get to show off for the rest of their lives.”

While Dayin initially thought he’d become an EMT, the allure of the art called to him.

“They started their first shop when I was in the womb,” he said. “I remember playing in the back room.”

He’s still in the apprentice stage of his career, but like his brother, customer interaction offers him great satisfaction.

“It’s enjoyable to put art on someone, and I like talking to people,” said Dayin.

Eelisha has always managed the business side of things and is a piercer, but recently she learned the ancient art of hand poking.

Created without a machine, hand poke tattoos are made with a needle dipped in ink and then poked into the skin dot by dot.

“It’s one of the oldest trades in the world,” Eelisha said. “The ink stays in longer.”

She is Peter’s favorite canvas, and his distinctive designs are visible from just under her chin and throughout her body.

“I gravitate to geometric designs,” he said. “I’m doing more sacred geometry – it’s almost meditative – it moves with them.”

His background as a paramedic informs the stringent hygiene protocol at Moon and Mercury.

“A bloodborne pathogens certificate is required, and we use all disposable needles,” Eelisha explained.

Customers usually come in with a design in mind, and then the tattooists flesh it out. Significant events like breakups, loss, and personal milestones are often reasons people seek tattoos.

“It’s something permanent, so it needs to be well thought out,” Peter said.

While they do have one nonfamily employee, the bulk of the business involves the four Koskelas.

“Working together is not a stretch for us,” said Eelisha.

Twenty-four years ago, Peter didn’t envision his art becoming a family affair but his passion for tattooing has only deepened.

“It’s not something I specifically sought out,” he said. “But it’s something I’ll do for the rest of my life.”

Contact Cindy Hval at