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Becoming a Female Tattoo Artist: One Woman's Story

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In 1989, seventeen-year-old Stephanie Parker gets in her boyfriend’s car, slamming the entrance behind her. A grizzled tattoo artist, a carbon copy of everyone she sees employed in and around London, has given her the brush-off she receives everywhere when she asks to apprentice with him. It’s such as the same wrinkled old guy within a Black Flag t-shirt just travels from shop to shop to give her the party line: “This industry isn’t designed for women.” The guy doesn’t even bother to open up her portfolio.

Tattoo School

More than two decades pass. She getsdivorced and married, married again, and contains a couple of kids. Between changing diapers and filling bottles, tattoos show up on her arms. Though she draws, refinishes and paints a table from time to time, she never forgets the sensation of loss she felt when she shut that car door and stopped asking to turn into a tattoo apprentice.

Become a Tattoo Artist

“[Little else] felt completely right…my dream about tattooing was hidden away inside a dusty filing cabinet within my heart, locked up, and I genuinely think it is there to stay,” she says.

Like many women, Stephanie internalized the content that girls didn’t belong in the business or simply plain weren’t adequate. An artist in England told her flat-out that he’d never seen a female tattoo artist, and that a woman “wouldn’t have the capacity to hack the apprenticeship.” A simple examine her portfolio today, full of Technicolor skulls, comic-style Star Wars characters, and delicate dragonflies shows she’s about to stick it to each dude who’s ever told her “no.”

Stephanie found A.R.T. accidentally on Facebook, and the filing cabinet that held her long-lost dream eased open. Because of a fundraiser suggested by her husband, she signed on on her behalf apprenticeship with the help of friends and family.

“People I hadn’t noticed in decades---old friends from high school who said they’d remembered me talking about how I wanted to become a tattoo artist-donated to my fundraiser,” she says. “It meant so much in my opinion which i had made this type of impression all of the years ago.”

Even though it took twenty-five-years for Stephanie to start her hands-on training, she’s finally working as an apprentice in a real tattoo shop. The curly-haired highschool girl from such a long time ago has a chance to follow her calling, and she says she can’t wait to replace with lost time.

“Coming to 'school' inside an actual tattoo shop gets you in the thick of this all…every day I proceed to the shop keen to learn and able to work tirelessly,” she says. “I’m itching to get my on the job a tattoo machine! ”


Posted Mar 29, 2014 at 1:13am