The power of Instagram has undoubtedly changed the face of tattooing in recent years. Like with most things the internet has produced, this has its pros and cons. Perhaps the ideal place to showcase your aesthetic, the social media platform can draw clients and a cult following from around the world. However, stylistic trends are more prominent thanks to the spread of imagery online – meaning what you choose may not be the most original and personal – and the democratic nature of Instagram means anyone and their aunt can call themselves a tattoo artist, to the detriment of trained professionals.
One thing that’s changed for the better, though, is that more women than ever before are tattooing. So what is it like being a woman in the tattoo industry? Of course, every experience is multifaceted and unique. From those who refuse to qualify their work as ‘female’, to the change of pace that comes with becoming a mother, to having customers question your proficiency, there’s no one way for women to navigate this typically male-dominated profession.
We spoke to five talented artists currently owning the field about how their style has changed over time, the impact of Instagram on their career, sexism in the industry, and what they wish you knew about being a tattoo artist.