Even in an industry considered once on the fringes of society, women tattoo artists were not always the most welcome of members. I always found this so strange – I suppose I naively assumed given the creative nature of tattooing that all would be accepted if they had a true love for the craft.
But like anything, this wasn’t the case, and it’s taken some time for the contributions of female artists to be recognized. For myself, art is art – and I’ve wonderful experiences of being tattooed by both men and women.
It’s wonderful to see that people are now being appreciated for the quality of their work regardless of gender, as witnessed by the international acclaim for Teneile Napoli’s tattoos.
I recently had the chance to speak with the inspiring and talented Teneile Napoli – artist and owner of Garage Ink, an all-female tattoo shop in Queensland, Australia. Napoli will be one of more than 45 women tattooing at this weekends Northern Ink Xposure in Toronto.
“It’s fantastic to see more women becoming tattoo artists, but it’s no different than most industries around the world,” says Teneile, who specializes in dark and realistic fantasy tattoos. “The ladies are stepping up and its beautiful to see more and more women empowering and supporting each other.”
With a powerhouse of female talent working alongside her at Garage Ink, I ask if she has any advice for other young women looking to pursue a career as a Tattoo Artist –
“If you want this for all the right reasons you can’t fail. Don’t let what they say hurt you, just take it on board, learn from everything and have love and respect for every aspect of our industry. Never take for granted how lucky we are to do what we love every day. You need to work, you need passion and most of all you need love for yourself and for those around you.”
As the world of tattooing adjusts to more inclusive and accepting of women, the very art itself is evolving says Teneile.
“Women or men, we are seeing the industry change because of the quality of the art that is being done. More and more of the most amazing artists in the world are becoming tattoo artists. The art itself has come so far.”
Among the many strong women artists joining Teneile at NIX are several personal favourites.