Check out this gallery of Marie's portrait tattoos.
1. What inspired you to become a tattoo artist?
I've always liked drawing and painting. Coming from a very alternative family full of rock and rollers, guitarists and rockabilly djs and being into punk rock myself, tattoos were a familiar sight, and it all just seemed to make sense. An old drummer of my Dad's called "Wild Bob Burgos" was covered in tattoos, and I remember being fascinated by him from about four or five years old. I never wanted to go to bed when he was around.
2. How would you compare tattoo artistry with other forms of visual art like painting and drawing--and on the other hand, how is tattoo art distinct from other art forms?
It's very different from painting and drawing, although these are a good base for learning to tattoo. The canvas is what separates tattooing from other art forms. A living, breathing, moving, canvas that tells you what it wants painted on it. And because every skin type is different, it's like having to paint on different textured paper every time! When painting a picture it is almost always going to be on a square or rectangular, flat canvas. Tattoo art needs to have the right composition for the body, for different body parts--it will wrap around parts like the arm and leg, so you have to think how this will affect your design, too.
3. What are some of your favorite tattoos that you've done?
I love tattooing colorful animals, so I guess the tigers, tree frog, and sea turtle :)
4. For someone who is trying to decide whether or not to get a first tattoo, what's your advice?
If it's your first tattoo and you are not sure, then there's no harm in waiting a little or just not getting it. Tattoos are better suited on people who don't worry about getting one! They have gotten so popular that people who actually don't want one feel like they have to have one. It used to be more of an alternative thing for strange and interesting people. I never feel comfortable tattooing people who are not sure if they actually want it but are just doing it because of fashion or their friends have one.
5. In planning a tattoo, what can someone do to collaborate with a tattoo artist to make sure that the tattoo is a realization of what the person has imagined it to be?
The best thing to do is bringing lots of images with you to talk to the artist face to face. It's much easier to get an idea across when you are talking directly to people--you can use your arms and legs and pointing to explain what you want. It's very difficult if you insist to do a consultation over email or phone only.
You can ask to see a rough idea of the design before the appointment in case you want any changes made. But be aware you won't see a fully finished, detailed, polished piece of art. It will most likely be a rough outline or sketch or maybe a Photoshop file. If tattoo artists spent five hours on each design before tattooing it, we would never have time to tattoo. I also feel that when I do the final design with all the details it should be the one on the skin--if I've done it beforehand by painting it with all the details, it would feel like a replica or a shadow of my original. The first time you do a design is always the best because you have thought about it more and put more effort into it.