Artists: Liz Cook
Rebel Muse Tattoo
570 South Edmonds Lane
Lewisville, Texas 75067
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
LIZ COOK: I started tattooing in 2009. It’s been a short but very intense past three years.
How did you get into tattooing?
I was a broke college student in Dallas while working at a beauty salon and was offered the opportunity to learn permanent cosmetics. I took it as a chance to earn more money and maybe be able to eat for a change. After college I went on a working holiday in Western Australia, where I was given an apprenticeship based on my art experience combined with the tattoo basics of the permanent makeup.
Where did you apprentice?
I apprenticed at Abandoned Art in Perth, Australia, under the lead of the amazing artist Jonny Head. It was a short eight months but crazy intense! I tattooed a solid eight hours pretty much every day, with back-to-back-to-back clients the entire time. After about two months of initial shock and going home daily wondering why I was doing this to myself, it all just started to really click and I knew I would never look back. It wasn’t just the money or the perceived glam of the tattoo world that made me stick with it, though. It was the art of it; another medium and challenge for me to try and master in my own way.
Do you have any special training?
Outside of the permanent cosmetics and my apprenticeship, I also have a bachelor’s degree in studio painting and drawing. All in all, I’ve done a lot of trial and error to find what works best for me. Every piece is a learning experience, and I’m constantly trying to learn new techniques or adjust old ones.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
Some of the conventions I’ve worked were Surf n’ Ink and Rites of Passage in Australia, Texas Round Up in Dallas, Ink Masters Tattoo Show Convention in L.A., Inked Hearts in north Cal, Ink- N-Iron in L.A., the Tattoo Life Tour in Texas, and the Motor City Show in Detroit. I’m honored to have won some awards, including best black-and-gray, best realistic, best portrait, best color, best of day, and best of show. Some of the best memories are when my clients finally look at the finished tattoo and are completely satisfied with the result. I do get many tears-of-joy moments, especially with portraits of loved ones, and it’s always a moment that makes it really worth it.
How do you describe your style?
I specialize in portraits, realism, horror, pinups, and black- and-gray.
What inspires you as an artist?
I feel inspired when I see other artists work. Not just tattoo artist, I mean painters, sculptors, musicians, any- one who can create something. I see their work and dedication to what they’re doing and it gets my artistic bug going crazy. I love when I look at a piece of art and it evokes so much.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I have a dedication to my clients to give them a truly one-of-a-kind design. I’m not afraid to let them know that their idea might not trans- late well into a tattoo while helping them find an idea that will. I critique my work religiously, so I’m always improving to correct little things that I feel could have been better, and I keep an open mind and try to learn from each piece and each client.
What other mediums do you work in?
Any that I can get my hands on! I love paints, charcoal, pastels, and pencils. Anything, really. All forms of art intrigue me, and I like to try everything at least once.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
I have done several pieces of art for different shows and for upcoming books, and am now designing art for T-shirts and clothing companies.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Guy Aitchison, Mike DeVries, Nikko Hurtado, Byron Drechsler, Roman Abrego, Victor Portugal, Bob Tyrrell …
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I definitely look forward to tattooing alternative, close-up, creepy girls, and bloody, macabre portraits and zombies.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Tattoos are a big commitment. Not just financially or time-wise, but it’s with you for the rest of your life. So research your artist, and when they suggest something, listen. If you don’t get the “warm and fuzzies,” then they’re probably not the art- ist for you. Also, look at artists’ portfolios. If they do a lot of biomech and organica, don’t ask them to do a small tribal or lettering … they will probably not appreciate it very much.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I’d really love to do some weird, creepy insects mixed with gothic, creepy girl faces.