"It’s constant and it's hard work, but knowing somebody loves your artwork that much they're willing to have it on them for the rest of their life is truly humbling "
The Journal went to hang out with tattoo artist Shawna Leigh, We actually came across Shawna through modelling for Hobo Jack and discovered she ain't to shabby with a needle too, a girl of many talents. I guess fairly new to the industry Shawna's art is developing into something beautiful. We ask what tattoos mean to her, how she got into the industry and what makes a good artist.
So Shawna when and how did you get into tattooing?
Hey! So I’ve been tattooing 4 years now, I got into because my ex was also a tattoo artist, I always found myself in the studio in my spare time, I’d always be watching him and I found it really therapeutic to watch. I asked him one day if I could tattoo him, so he let me tattoo a line work cherry blossom on his leg. Safe to say it really wasn’t that bad (In my opinion :) It wasn’t until a few years later when my old job “toys r us” closed down I got my chance with an apprenticeship. I’ve never looked back, best thing I ever did.
What advice would you offer someone considering the industry as a career? And what would you say to young creatives trying to find their style or voice?
Be in it for the long game, practise and hone your craft, with me I found that making mood boards and researching different artists helps me with the whole design process. It can be difficult coming up with something straight off the top of my head, before any design I spend about half an hour taking screenshots of tattoos and things that just inspire me, whether it’s actual tattoos, photography or other genres. I do find inspiration in a lot of things, and when it comes to designing I will look over the things I’ve found and come up with a completely individual piece. I’d definitely say you’d need a lot of patience for this type of career. I never really knew what I wanted to do, I feel like customers do really help you find your style, the thing I enjoy most to tattoo now is blackwork, mandala, geometric and ornamental designs however I’d love to branch out a little more and get more into realism.
What do tattoos and tattooing mean to you?
I honestly don’t know what I’d do without tattoos and tattooing, I feel like every day it’s something different, we meet so many amazing people and hear so many different stories and I really wouldn’t change a thing. It’s constant and it's hard work, but knowing somebody loves your artwork that much they're willing to have it on them for the rest of their life is truly humbling, It really does melt my heart knowing that. It motivates me a lot.
Do you find there Is there a common misconception people have about the industry that you are in?
I think nowerdays tattooing is far more accepted, but there is still a bit of a stigma about people with tattoos, people can be seen as “intimidating” and “scary” but honestly some of the loveliest people I’ve met are covered in tattoos and what somebody does with their skin absolutely doesn’t determine the kind of person they are. Before my tattoos, I was so shy and couldn’t start a conversation to save my life. Now I will talk to anyone it’s made me feel so much more confident in myself and my body, It’s actually a nice conversation starter as it’s the first thing that people notice so yeah I’d say it’s really made me come out of my shell in a good way!
What’s the hardest thing to deal with as a female in the industry?
This is a difficult one for me to answer really because I don’t think I’ve had any difficulties of yet, I’ve had an amazing experience in my career and the people I’ve met along my journey to this point so I really don’t know.
In your opinion what makes a good artist?
For me, a good artist is someone who makes you feel comfortable, who will take time to listen to their customers needs and wants and if an idea just isn’t working will speak up and advise any changes. Everyone’s art is different and everyone has to start somewhere. A good artist to me is someone that would listen, and create something unique and beautiful.
Here at The Hobo Journal we love to travel hence the name, where is the best place you have visited and why?
I write this as I’m actually on the plane on my way to my favourite place which is Dubai! It is my third time coming out here and I feel like I’ve spoilt myself with how beautiful it is, like I never wanna go anywhere else now The city of a night is just so glittery and beautiful, the people are so friendly and would do anything to ensure you’re having a good time and oh, the food! I could go on for ages about how much I love the place but you'll just have to take my word and see the beauty for yourself.
More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer