Artists: Meghan Patrick
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
MEGHAN PATRICK: I started tattooing when I was 21, in 2002.
How did you get into tattooing?
Coming from a family of artists, I always knew that I wanted an artistic career, but I didn’t know what. When I finished high school I wanted to go to art school, but I was a poor kid and not only couldn’t afford it but also knew I didn’t want to be an art teacher or a starving artist. Instead, I opted for community college culinary school. Eh, it made sense at the time. So anyway, after I decided that this was not what I’d like to do for a living, I started assessing other options. I was already interested in tattoos, and I was drawing tattoo-y type things, and it hit me—I could totally do this. So I went to my “friendly” local tattoo shop to find out what I needed to do to apprentice. They kinda gave me the runaround, so I got together what now I realize was the worst art portfolio ever and showed up every single day until they told me I could stay.
Where did you apprentice?
I apprenticed under Alex Feliciano at 12 oz. studios. He taught me everything I know.
Do you have any special training?
I don’t think this counts, but I’ve got two years of culinary training under my belt and can whip up a Tennessee lemon pie or some delicious guacamole for parties.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I have about twentyish awards from conventions. Although it is nice to have a shiny row of trophies in my room, I try not to put too much stock in them. It’s really an opinion contest, and at the end of the day if you and your customer think that they have the awesomest tattoo, then they do. Everybody wins! We always do the Philadelphia convention. We’ve also done Boston, Milwaukee, Atlantic City, Forged in Ink, Vegas, and Miami. My nicest tattoo convention memory was two years ago at Mario Barth’s Las Vegas convention. My now husband, Alex Feliciano, proposed to me at the Mirage before the opening party. I know, he’s my boss, it’s pretty naughty.
How do you describe your style?
I guess my style is mostly about fine lines, bright colors, and trying to accentuate the body as much as possible. I enjoy making things “pretty.” I don’t do tough-looking tattoos. No horror portraits or bloody skulls. If it has eyes on it, it’s probably going to have miles of eyelashes. That being said, I don’t necessarily stick to a very specific style, but I do feel that my tattoos all look like I did them. As Dan Higgs once said, “My way may not be the only way, but it’s the only way you’re gonna get it from me.”
What inspires you as an artist?
This is a real girl answer, but I really enjoy fashion photography. I literally have folders stuffed with pages I’ve ripped out of magazines that I found visually appealing for whatever reason. I’m also very inspired by nature. It constantly amazes me, the things that exist in this world. Things you wouldn’t think of in your wildest dreams, like a narwhal. It’s a whale-icorn—crazy.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I’ll approach this question by saying what my strengths might be. I feel that I have good attention to detail and that I am good with colors. I’ve been told that I have the ability to blend colors that shouldn’t go together and make it work.
What other mediums do you work in?
I sometimes do colored pencil work, but I mostly paint in oils. I tried to make a Munny once—it didn’t work out very well.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
I haven’t really branched out from tattooing. It’s what I do every day; it’s pretty consuming. I love to paint, and I do that in my free time. In the future it would be nice to be able to dedicate a larger portion of my time to that.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
My husband, of course—he thinks that he doesn’t impress me anymore, but he does. Shige’s composition is gorgeous; he kinda makes me want to cut my hands off. I like James Kern for his attention to detail, and fun backgrounds. Sabine Gaffron’s ornamental work is beautiful. I really admire artists who use their tattoos to complement the body of the person wearing it.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Some of my customers come in with the best ideas for tattoos, stuff I’d never think of. Then I get to take their raw idea and do it in the best, most creative way I can. I think some of these are the ones I end up most looking forward to doing. I had this guy come in who wanted an outside half-sleeve of a Day of the Dead skeleton boy wearing head- phones that are plugged into his heart. While talking to him, it came out that there were other music-related tattoos he wanted, but he didn’t know where to put them. I thought to myself, Why not do them all? Long story short, we end up doing a half-sleeve of the Day of the Dead guy like he originally wanted, but with a speaker in his belly. Music from Stravinsky’s Firebird is coming out of the speaker, which turns into wave forms, which turns into 0s and 1s. I never would have come up with any of it had he not had the raw ideas. I just figured out how to make it work. That’s awesome. That’s why I love my job.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I’m sure someone will come in with an idea that’ll be the next thing I’m dying to do. I had someone come in that wanted a half back piece of lace and red poppies—that was one of those.