Becoming a Female Tattoo Artist: One Woman's Story


In 1989, seventeen-year-old Stephanie Parker gets in her own boyfriend’s car, slamming the door behind her. A grizzled tattoo artist, a carbon copy of everybody she sees employed in and around London, has given her the brush-off she receives everywhere when she asks to apprentice with him. It’s like the same wrinkled old guy inside a Black Flag t-shirt just travels from shop to purchase to provide her the party line: “This industry isn’t created for women.” The man doesn’t even bother to open her portfolio.
Tattoo Apprenticeship

Greater than two decades pass. She getsdivorced and married, married again, and it has a few kids. In between changing diapers and filling bottles, tattoos show up on her arms. Though she paints, refinishes and draws a table here and there, she never forgets the feeling of loss she felt when she shut that car door and stopped asking to become a tattoo apprentice.

Become a Tattoo Artist

“[Hardly anything else] felt completely right…my imagine tattooing was hidden away in a dusty filing cabinet in my heart, locked up, and that i genuinely thought it was there to stay,” she says.

Like lots of women, Stephanie internalized the message that girls didn’t belong in the industry or perhaps plain weren’t sufficient. An artist in England told her flat-out that he’d never seen a female tattoo artist, and this a lady “wouldn’t have the capacity to hack the apprenticeship.” A fast take a look at her portfolio today, full of Technicolor skulls, comic-style Star Wars characters, and delicate dragonflies shows she’s planning to put it to each dude who’s ever told her “no.”

Stephanie found A.R.T. accidentally on Facebook, and the filing cabinet that held her long-lost dream eased open. Thanks to a fundraiser suggested by her husband, she signed on on her apprenticeship through the help of family and friends.

“People I hadn’t noticed in decades---old friends from high school who said they’d remembered me referring to how I wanted to turn into a tattoo artist-donated to my fundraiser,” she says. “It meant a lot in my opinion which i had made this type of impression all those in the past.”

Although it took twenty-five-years for Stephanie to begin her hands-on training, she’s finally working as an apprentice in a real tattoo shop. The curly-haired highschool girl from such a long time ago has a chance to follow her calling, and she says she can’t wait to make up for lost time.

“Coming to 'school' inside an actual tattoo shop gets you within the thick of it all…every day I go to the shop keen to learn and ready to work hard,” she says. “I’m itching to obtain my practical a tattoo machine! ”