Thursday, October 4, 2018

Featured Tattoo Artist | Astrid Elisabeth

Name: Astrid 
Age: 28
Location: New York City

How did you get into the industry? Was it hard to find an apprenticeship?

I did not have an apprenticeship. I met a stranger at a bar one night. He was an apprentice and had been practicing on his legs during his free time with the machine he’d bought online. It was like a big cartoon light bulb went off over my head. 

I started out with the intention to just tattoo myself — it only took a week or so for brave (and maybe a little bit reckless) friends to offer up their skin. They liked my drawings, so they didn’t really care about the quality. I’m lucky. I also have regrets.

How long have you been tattooing?

Two and a half years now. Six months of which I was probably doing one tattoo a week in between my full time job as a coffee shop manager. One year in which I actually felt confident in what I was doing.

What inspires you?

Most of my pieces are collaborative with my clients. They usually provide me with emotions, sometimes poems, sometimes twenty paragraph essays about their lives. Then it’s my job to make something visual out of their content. Most of the tattoos are memorial pieces or revolve around recovering from trauma. 

Who are your favourite tattoo artists?

I can’t answer this. I have at least 20 favorite tattoo artists. 

How would you describe your tattoo style? 

Extreme feelings, with a little bit of razzle dazzle.

If you weren't tattooing what would you be doing?

I write music. I’m a classically trained cellist and I play guitar and piano. It’s not lucrative at all, so I’d probably still be making lattes for angry businessmen in Manhattan. 

What advice do you have to people considering careers in tattooing?

Be an artist first. While I’m glad to see the frat house of traditional tattooing get cleaned out, I’m equally wary of people getting into tattooing because they want to appear cool on the Internet. I see new home artists pop up all the time and I can immediately tell whose style they’re trying to recreate. If you’re not creating original content that comes from your soul, what the fuck are you doing? 

What are some of the best things you have experienced as a result of your career?

My relationships with clients. I’ve heard the most amazing stories, I’ve been gifted with incredible vulnerability and trust. I’ve held people’s hands as they cried, and I’ve gone home and cried myself. Tattooing is a whole lot more than just putting an image on someone’s body. Artists who don’t want to take on the (sometimes exhausting yet extremely rewarding) emotional aspect shouldn’t be in the industry. 

Where do you currently tattoo? 

I’m all over the place, but I hope to be opening a private studio in Brooklyn soon!