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Can you describe your journey in becoming a tattoo artist?
“My journey to becoming a tattoo artist has been something brewing since I was a teen. I would watch a show entitled “Ink Master” and I fell in love with the talented artists who were permanently adorning people with images that were simple thoughts of their imaginations. Artwork on skin was just mind blowing for me! A few years passed and my focus was diverted, still in the art field but not necessarily focusing on tattooing. My focus was more on Graphic Design, which is the field I actually got my degree in. I’ve been working as a designer for a few years and while it was great, I still felt empty sometimes. I still felt like there was more I could be doing with my talents. It came to a point where I was sad all the time, feeling overworked, overwhelmed and not satisfied because the work being produced was not necessarily my style or my kind of creativity.
Then along came 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, causing everyone to be home more than usual. This is where the fire for tattooing was ignited again. I was home more often and this allowed me more time to learn new skills and really push my creativity. I was browsing videos on YouTube and came across a few old episodes of “Ink Master” and the thoughts came rushing back to my head. I was like, ‘Yooooooo – I CAN DO THAT! I SHOULD DO THAT!!! This could be a means of permanently getting my creativity out there in the world!’
I took a few weeks, did some research, watched a few tutorials and got advice from other tattoo artists that I knew. This newly found information only made me more anxious to start and get it done, so I went ahead and bought my equipment and practice canvas and got to practicing. I would post myself practicing and post the finished products on social media, and the responses I got were amazing. This only gave me more confidence to go forth and conquer. I did my first tattoo on a real human and I felt amazing. I’ve never felt that kind of joy creating art before. That is when I realized, ‘Yes Sash, this is for you! Go and be great!!!’
When you put yourself last it becomes difficult to remember the person buried beneath all those layers of expectations, so I stayed true to my art and it brought me right back to something I was avoiding all along.”
What advice would you give to someone thinking about getting their first tattoo?
“There are a lot of mixed thoughts and emotions you may experience before getting your first tattoo. Don’t worry! It’s normal. My advice to you would be: take your time and figure out what design you would like, the style of it and the placement of that design. Then I would say to do some research on the tattoo artist you would like to do your tattoo. Next steps would be to talk to the artist and discuss your ideas, discuss placement, and get advice from the artist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; ask as many as you need to. Also, do your research on aftercare.
Getting a tattoo is a big deal and can impact your life in many ways. Ensure that you prepare yourself for either that positive or negative feedback, but let no one stop you from self-expression.”
What are some of the social stigmas you face in your field?
“There are negative stereotypes surrounding any form of body art, but tattoos are often seen as rebellious, irresponsible and unprofessional. I’ve heard many people say tattoos are evil and a form of devil worship. Even though the tattoo culture is becoming more accepted in the world, there are many workplaces that discriminate against persons with tattoos, either having them cover up or just not hiring them at all.
For those of you who broke your mother’s heart when you came home with your first tattoo, I say rejoice. The years of tattoo stigma are fading into acceptance as an art form. Tattoos are a form of self-expression that shouldn’t serve as a reason to discriminate against someone. If you are someone who views tattoos as unprofessional, just keep in mind that tattoos aren’t a complete reflection of someone’s character.
Today, tattoo artists tattoo people from all walks of life, all age groups, all social backgrounds, and all races.”
As a designer, how important are visuals to you?
“As a designer, visuals are extremely important to me in any sense of the word. Visuals in the first case are videos of my work and images of my work. These are extremely important because this is the first thing that people see and use to form an opinion. I ensure to post my process and my finished piece so that persons are aware of the services that they are getting, as well as the finished product that they would be paying for. The main purpose of having visuals is to market yourself.
In tattooing, visuals are extremely important. Lots of focus needs to be placed on the images, the colour, the size, the space and the typography. As the artist you need to make sure that you are aware of the elements of design in order to provide the best services to your clients.”
Who do you look to for inspiration?
“Honestly speaking, I don’t look to one person for inspiration. I tend to draw inspiration from several persons and things, merge them together and create. As an artist, inspiration comes in many different forms. I tend to do a lot of research on several different artists and several different types of tattooing styles, and from that I get inspired.
One female tattoo artist who I definitely do look to for inspiration is Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Season 8 winner of Ink Master. I also draw inspiration and advice from Sean Lewis who was a classmate and a friend of mine who is also in the tattooing business.”
Feel free to contact Sasheina at:
Blessings in abundance!