Based in Detroit, Lady L isn’t only a professional tattoo artist: she’s also an activist for women in the tattoo industry. She independently founded a tattoo artist collective, called ‘Ladies of Ink,’ which uniquely features women of color. With 43.1 thousand followers on Instagram, it’s safe to say that Lady L is a success in her career role. We interviewed her to find out more about her life as a tattoo artist.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?
My favorite part of being a tattoo artist is connecting with my clients. Tattoos are therapy for a lot of people. You’re not only bringing their vision to life as an artist, you’re also a counselor and a listening ear.
Q: What are challenges that you’ve encountered as a woman in the tattoo industry?
The most challenging part about being a woman in a male dominated industry is being taken seriously. It seems as if you have to work three times as hard to gain respect. Being a black female tattoo artist is even more challenging. There are shops that will not allow you to guest spot or conventions that suddenly become “full” just because of the color of my skin. I don’t get discouraged- discrimination of any sort motivates me!
Q: What are your strengths as a tattoo artist?
I actually was a fine artist first. I was blessed to have natural talent, however I furthered my education in art during high school and college. My education of composition, allows me to produce solid pieces for my clients. Also, being able to freehand a large majority of my work saves a lot of prep time.
Q: What’s your funniest experience tattooing a client?
There are so many, I find it hard to think of which one stands out the most. I will say that any client who takes pain pills- they never put it on the waiver like they’re supposed to- to try to stop their tattoos from hurting, they always show out in my chair.
Like many other professional women in the tattoo industry, Lady L has encountered her fair share of challenges. Despite these, she has really flourished, succeeding as a tattoo artist, business woman, and activist. If you know of any interesting stories about women in the tattoo industry, let us know about them in the comment section below!