Artists: Rachel Baldwin
What year did you start tattooing?
How did you get into tattooing?
After finishing my degree I annoyed local tattoo shops until one of them gave me an apprenticeship.
Do you have any special training?
I can make a pretty slammin’ mojito! Bar training aside, I have a bachelors degree in fine art painting.
Do you travel for work? Where do you do guest spots or conventions?
In the UK I have done guest spots from Brighton to Scotland and have done a couple of spots in California and Vegas. I love doing guest spots and working conventions, however, I am taking a year or two off from them as I recently had my first baby! Next year I hope to do a few guest spots in Europe and in a couple of years we plan to come back to the US, I really want to see Oregon!
What inspires you as an artist?
Fashion, cartoons, children’s illustration, graffiti and food! Although I do take influence from traditional tattoo imagery, I think it’s important to mix it up with new ideas.
What other media do you work in?
I paint watercolor inks mostly, but every now and again I bust out the acrylics or oils.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
There are so many amazing tattooists out there now! When I first got into tattooing there were only a handful of really big names I admired; Xam, Steve Byrne, Valerie Vargas, those guys are still killing it. Now there are even more outstanding artists making unreal tattoos. Emily Rose Murray, Jason Minauro, Curt Baer and Alex Strangler, to name just a few.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Anything cute and palm sized! I enjoy doing big work also, but there is something really satisfying about doing a one shot piece.
You have a background in fine painting, did this influence your tattoo style?
It definitely helped that I had a few years to work out what I enjoyed painting the most. Despite specializing in portraiture when getting my degree, I still found myself creating a lot of stupid cartoons that nobody really liked.
You describe your style as putting a girly spin on “traditional.” How did you come up with this unique style?
There weren’t many tattooists who mixed girly and traditional when I started out. New school was starting to fade out. I was trying to make my tattoos look more solid, with fun colors and less ‘graffiti’ style, I guess I picked up where that left off.
You use a lot of color, are there any circumstances where you do black and grey?
I used to do black and grey tattoos, I think they look great, by the right person! I just don’t think they work in my style.
Your shop raised money for the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on its first birthday. Are there any plans in the works for its upcoming birthday in September?
Now that was a party! With a lot of help from my friends we made over $12k for the local children’s hospital. It was a really fun day and I will definitely be doing another charity event in the future. Maybe not until next year, I have a lot on my plate getting the hang of being a mum!!
In 2013 you helped raise over $32,000 for cancer research through tattooing, why do you think it is important to give back to these charities?
I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer in 2012, that event was in her memory and I was thrilled with the response! I can’t thank my friends enough for helping me with that event. It was crazy but so worth it. It’s nice to give something back if you can. We’re here for a fun time, not a long time!
Your work combines Japanese culture and cartoons. How have you perfected this aesthetic?
I wouldn’t say I have perfected it! I’m a long way from being happy with my tattooing. I just make silly drawings. I am lucky enough that people let me tattoo them! Generally if a drawing makes me laugh (or squee) I know it’s good enough to tattoo.