Artists: Lauren Winzer
How did you get into tattooing?
I kept all my paintings and drawings on a blog and people started requesting to have them tattooed and then my husband, Heath Nock, who had already been tattooing for quite some time talked me into learning how to tattoo so that instead of other people making a living on my drawings, I could.
What was your first shop experience like?
It was private and just three of us, it was great. The boys would help me as much as they could by answering any questions I had, but it was also a little hard having my partner tell me I was making mistakes. It was hard not to take it personally.
Given the old stereotypes that can exist in this industry we were wondering if you had trouble breaking into the industry given your gender and the feminine style of your tattoos?
Hell yes I did! I had the hardest time. I was lucky enough to have a lot of respected tattooers respect me because of Heath, but I was bullied online for years and told I was doing it “wrong” because I liked brighter colors and didn’t use much black. It took its toll. I would cry all the time and want to throw it in but, as I said, I had an amazing support network so they pushed me to keep doing new things and pushing it and it’s amazing how common the way I tattoo is now.
How do you describe your specific style? Even your tattoos of pop culture icons look uniquely yours. And have you always been working in this style or was there an evolution to get to it?
My style is kind of illustrative, I use traditional techniques but I always like to add a little extra. My art has slowly evolved, although it has always been the same sort of subjects from when I was younger. I think it’s my colors that make my stuff easy to pick ouy, I mix nearly every single color, it’s actually one of my favorite parts. I’m definitely heavily influenced by pop culture and Japanese culture, as everyone can probably tell (laughs). It’s just fun and nostalgic… I just like making people happy and it makes me so happy, too.
We first became aware of you with that absolutely insane glitter eye tattoo. How in the world did you figure out how to make that glittery look work as a tattoo? Did you have any doubts about whether or not it would actually work?
I was doing a sparkly effect which I figured out by trying different sized dots together and then I was lucky enough to be asked to do the glitter eye. I said to him straight up, worse case scenario it’s gonna look a little sparkly with highlights if the rest doesn’t work, haha. Then I had saved a bunch of pictures of full sequins and glitter and just really studied the highlights, what a reflection looks like (bigger dots) and you have to have a shadow to give depth so I’d put tiny dark dots throughout, even in the parts you’d assume would all be light. I’m so sorry if I’m rambling it’s just so hard to explain… I just kind of “do.” Haha.
I love the way that your watercolor pieces are often built around a solid line drawing, what is your inspiration for creating these? My theory is that you hated coloring between the lines as a kid…
Hahaha, I love that! I used to be obsessed with coloring in the lines so maybe now I’ve just had enough! I just think as long as the color doesn’t take away from the actual line work you can freak out and do whatever you want, so I make sure the lines are strong so I can go wild!
You got a lot of publicity after inking that lil’ avocado on Miley Cyrus… how do you feel about how tattoo artists become celebrities themselves after they ink stars?
It has actually been equal amounts of good and bad. It has given me a few extra opportunities which have been fun to explore, but I think some people don’t take me seriously as if that was the first tattoo I ever did and I’m just busy because of that. Where as I was already busting my ass and that’s why she contacted me in the first place. I hope that doesn’t sound cocky or anything, I’m super grateful and flattered, I just want people to know I’m still trying to grow. I don’t think I have it easy in any way.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give?
Make any changes you want, get what YOU want, don’t be scared to be picky, it’s YOURS. But also if I’m giving advice it’s only because I want to do the best job I can.
You’ve done more than a few Simpsons tattoos. What would be the absolute craziest Simpsons ink that you would like to do some day?
Hahaha yes!!!! I really want to do fake Marge. When Homer fucks up he makes a fake Marge out of a tree and a paper plate with a horrible drawing of her face on it, I lose it every time I see it!