Tattoos are nothing new and not much of a controversial statement any longer. Most of us surfing the online universe tonight are probably doing so with one regrettable tattoo or two on our bodies. I for one had a friend eternally etch in a wonky Harry Potter sign with a needle and ink on my arm, 4am on a drunken night. What is new is how the world has grown to respect these ink embellishments as works of art, at least the once who deserve it. And some truly are.
Tatiana Kartomten, a badass Californian tattoo artist and illustrator, is one of those who has pioneered in making stick and poke tattoos a respectable art form. The 27 year old, originally from San Francisco, has decorated her friends’ skin for years but only started tattooing professionally last year. Since however, her success has been exponential. With several album art works for bands such as Ty Segall, an Instagram following increasing by the hundreds every day, and appointments fully booked for months ahead, the high demand for her detailed designs shows no sign of slowing down.
Well, of course I wanted to pick her bewildering brain a bit.
Hi Tatiana, thanks for having a chat with me! Where are you right now and what are you up to?
Hi, I’m in bed chillin’ with Alejandro Jodowroskys “Where the bird sings best”.
I obviously think you rock, but for those unfamiliar with you, could you describe yourself?
I’m from the Bay Area in California and I support being open minded and questioning everything.
How come you started doing illustration and then stick and poke tattoos?
I’ve always drawn since I was a kid and stick n’ pokes came about when my friends and I were hanging out getting drunk etc.
Ty Segall – ‘Slaughterhouse’ illustrated by Tatiana Kartomten
Doing the ‘Slaughterhouse’ cover, because it was an honor to be asked to do it and it was awesome that people actually liked it.
What’s the weirdest request you’ve received?
Haha a little stick n’ poke butt with a dick ‘n balls you could see hanging down. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it!
You must meet a great deal of interesting or perhaps weird characters through your job. Do you have any strange moment you could share?
My favorite was when I wasn’t tattooing but working at Wasteland in SF and we “caught” this motorcycle cover magazine babe screwing a dude in our photo booth with our roller skates on.. so funny.
How do you deal with assholes professionally?
Tell ’em who’s boss!
If you got to tattoo anybody, who would you pick and what would you give them?
Hmm.. My name on my boyfriends ass.. haha just kidding.
What’s your best tip for getting out of a creative rut?
Smoke a joint and/or relax.
You’ve done illustration work and album covers for musicians like Ty Segall and mentioned that music often influences your art. What would your life and art look like if you never got to listen to music ever again?
I’d probably die or be miserable.
You recently reached over 45k on Instagram, congrats! Let’s say you were able to gather the entirety of your followers, what would you do with them?
Whoa that would be super scary… I only do good in really small groups where everyone knows each other well. Our brains are only supposed to get to know around 200 people or something like that. If that did happen though I would get everyone together at a huge outdoor movie theatre or something and watch “Cowspiracy”.
Which track do you have on repeat right now?
This feature is about highlighting inspirational women so I’d like to know who are your biggest girl crushes are and why!
Emily Epstein cause she’s a mega babe drummer, Ruby Quilter and Tamara Santibanez cause they are wicked tattooists, Reba Maybury cause she’s on fire! Otherwise I’m not telling who my real girl crushes are.
Any final advice for all aspiring kickass women out there?
Keep it real.
OTHER INSPIRING WOMEN:
Illustrator MARIA HERREROS
DJ HANNAH FAITH
Artist REBECCA LARSSON
Indonesian blogger ROSALINDA TIJOE
Fashion blogger CLARISSA HENRY
Instagram twins ELISABETH & VICTORIA LEJONHJÄRTA
All images are from Tatiana Kartomten