Artists: Rachel Weisz-Smith
What year did you start tattooing: 2009
Do you have any special training: I have a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. I apprenticed at a respected shop and got licensed there. Grew up in a very artistic household. Other than that, School of Life!
Tell us about the style of your work: It's hard to classify my work into one style, I take aspects from many different genres of tattoos that I like and incorporate them into my own unique style. I love fine detail and accomplishing pieces other artists say are "impossible." I love color but also do a lot of black and grey. I favor large pieces and refuse to do "sticker tattoos." I do a lot of cover-up work, not because I like it, but because there are so many artists out there doing crappy work that there is such a market for cover-ups. I like to evoke a feeling or mood with my work, and play a lot with light. Because I do all custom work and no flash, people typically come to me with either triumph or tragedy that they want to commemorate with their tattoo. The work I do is very personal for people, and I enjoy making those connections with people . The experience is typically therapeutic for them.
To view more of my work, please visit my website www.rachelws.com, and follow my work on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rachelwsink or Instagram @rachlws.
Conventions usually worked: I did my first convention last Spring, the Rhode Island Tattoo Convention. I'm still working off business I generated then! I have already registered to be there this Spring, and plan to expand out of the State eventually and do more.
Where did you apprentice?: I apprenticed at Dragon Lily Tattoo in Portsmouth, RI.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: I really admire Jeff Gogue. His work is immaculate and evokes feeling. It is true ART. I also admire his work ethic, attitude attitude about tattooing and life, and humble roots.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: The pain is temporary but the reward is permanent. I remind them that people don't "get" tattoos, they "EARN" them!
How did you get into tattooing: I was a stay at home mom 5 years ago. I took my two babies and left my abusive husband. He emptied our bank accounts and left us with nothing. I was forced to figure out a way to raise them on my own. I worked 4 jobs for years, working 6 days/week and juggling my two young children entirely on my own. Wanting to use my Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts, I realized that tattooing would be one of the only ways to make a living as an artist. I diligently pursued an apprenticeship, and got lucky enough to land one. I apprenticed, downsized to 3 jobs, and after a year of literal blood, sweat, and tears, I got licensed. I rewarded myself with my FIRST tattoo once I got licensed, to legitimize myself as a tattoo artist. At this point I downsized to 2 other jobs and worked part time in the shop where I got licensed. I could not work full time in any shop because I have to be available to catch the school bus every day, which conflicts with typical shop hours. I did custom work by appointment only, and have been available for my children as their only parent. After about a year working at the shop, I took a huge leap. I quit all of my jobs, including part time at the shop, and opened up my OWN studio. I kept it as simple as possible, wanting to be in control of every variable. I work out of one small, licensed room. I take one appointment each day, and am home each day to get my kids off the bus and raise them. All my work is done by appointment only and everything is custom designed. I am coming up on 2 years this Spring owning my studio, and am consistently booked solid 6 days/week year round. I raise my children 100% alone, physically and financially. I am motivated most by those who tell me I can't do something..and love to prove them wrong. I feel myself getting better each day, and hope to someday be considered one of the best. I am humble and feel so "young" in this industry, but my ambition is huge! Everything I do is for my children, they are my inspiration.
What inspires you to be an artist: Feeling. Emotion. Light. Scale. Interesting juxtapositions. Humility. Intensity. Color. Nature.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: I'd like to eventually be doing predominantly large scale work that flows with the body in an organic manner.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I'd really like to play with something geometric with repeating patterns...