Artists: Brandie Popps
391 Winthrop Street
Taunton, MA 02780
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing professionally in February of 2005 at a shop called Sinners and Saints in Wareham, MA. A dear friend of mine, Brandon Duarte, introduced me to Roger Chouinard, who was open- ing a shop with a friend of his, Matt Carrol. That’s where I actually got the nickname “Lil Poppz.” I really miss those days and my boy Matty.
How did you get into tattooing?
I really loved tattooing from a really early age. I was so fascinated by it and was determined to become an artist. My mother and grandfather both had work done on them, and the idea of being able to cover myself and others in art was such a beautiful thing to me. So I drew, and drew, and drew. Constantly getting reprimanded at school by teachers. My first tattoo, I was actually 13 and I had done it on myself (which I highly don’t recommend). A friend of mine had committed suicide and I tattooed his initials and an ankh on the side of my hand. It was your typical “stick and poke” tattoo and it healed just fine, luckily enough. Now looking back on it, I can’t help but shake my head at the fact I thought it was a good idea. Needless to say, my mother wasn’t too impressed. Yet I was convinced at the age of 13 that I knew everything (like most 13-year-olds, ha ha ha), that I was going to tattoo for the rest of my life and she knew nothing.
Do you have any special training?
I do, actually. Right after my daughter was born my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and colon cancer. After hearing that I decided to go to school for cosmetic tattoo. I really wanted to be able to help her in any way possible. Chemotherapy and radiation do a number on the body, and if she lost her hair I really wanted to be able to tattoo eyebrows on her. At least it would be one thing she wouldn’t have to worry about or feel self-conscious about. After finishing my training I was able to cosmetically tattoo eyebrows, eyeliner, lip liner, full lip, and correct or mask scarring or birth- marks by manipulating the pigment into the skin to hide a number of different skin discolorations.
How do you describe your style?
I really enjoy doing new school and the bright, bold colors it calls for. I really enjoy doing gray wash as well. I actually was mainly a gray wash artist for a long time. Within the last year or so maybe less people have mainly started to come to me for color. I really love the fact that I am able to do more of it, but it’s bittersweet sometimes ’cause I miss doing gray work as frequently as before. I really enjoy doing realism when it comes to flowers and skulls. Or even mixing new school with them to get a contrast of styles as well within the color palette I chose to use.
What inspires you as an artist?
I’d say now the biggest inspiration for me is my daughter, Aili. Seeing the world through her eyes is such a refreshing thing. Plus, she is the main driving force that makes me strive to be a better person, constantly learning and growing as a person, not just an artist. Fellow artists and friends in the industry are a big factor as well. I love seeing what is being put out there now. To me it’s not a matter of being competitive; there’s plenty of work to go around. It’s about learning from each other. Every time I do a show or guest spot I return home overflowing with creative inspiration. I just can’t seem to get it all out quick enough and onto paper when I arrive back home.
What artists do you admire the most?
For years I have looked up to artists such as Tony Ciavarro, Paul Booth, Bob Tyrrell, Nikko, Gunnar, Jesse Smith, Jime Litwalk, Joe Capobianco, Tom Renshaw, Timmy B, Josh Woods, Darcy Nutt, Angelique Houtkamp, and many, many others. As of recently, thanks to social media networks I have been able to find so many artists I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to keep up on as often. Lately I have been a huge fan of Dave Tevenal’s work, along with Russ Abbott, Jeremy Miller, and Myke Chambers. I am constantly amazed how clean and bright their work is. My boys Robert Kane, Josh Payne, and Halo are such dedicated and amazing artists as well. They are such humble guys that just really love what they do and do it so well.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I really look forward to being able to tattoo anything that has super bright colors, bold lines, and large-scale pieces. Even the small pieces can be a blast to do as well, though. It’s not every day I get to do a piece start to finish in one sitting. As far as a particular piece … I think it depends on how I’m feeling that day. I really enjoy having creative freedom, which is becoming more and more available for me. I really love that. As much as I love the bright work, I get all excited to do a nice gray wash skull. Realistic or borderline realistic, really dark and evil. I’m like a little kid on Christmas when I get the chance to do pieces like that. Plus, whenever I can actually use the gray wash machine Ernie built for me I’m like a little kid who just got a new Huffy for their birthday. Whenever I get to use the machine it reminds me just how much I love it.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you’re dying to do?
I am starting a Medusa on a friend of mine coming up soon. I’m pretty pumped about that piece. There are also a few pieces I have drawn up that I can’t wait to tattoo. I’ve been booking out like crazy lately, so once I draw up the next piece on the list I get all excited, then realize I have to wait a few weeks to over a month or two to be able to do it. I really have been wanting to start doing horror portraits. I am a HUGE zombie fan and overall horror fan in general. I even have “Brainsssss” tattooed on the inside of my lip, ha ha ha. So yeah, I’ve been dying to get the chance to start doing them.