Miryam Lumpini is an internationally recognized tattoo artist who got her start in Sweden but has since taken over Los Angeles. She's tattooed a number of celebrities, from Swae Lee to Kehlani, and impacted the industry with her vibrant color designs. We caught up with Miryam to learn more about her entry into the tattoo world and her recent collaboration with BIC.
How did you get into tattooing?
I grew up in Sweden and I was traveling really far to go to school to study graphic design when I was in the 10th grade. I was reading tattoo magazines on the school bus and I was so fascinated by what you could do on skin with needles. I wanted to learn more about how that really worked and how these artists became so good at their craft. I really admired the massive black-and-grey realism pieces by artists like Victor Portugal and saw that more people were getting color tattoos.
At 17, I was already looking for tattoo apprenticeships, but I told me that I had to be 18. I waited up the day after I turned 18 and then I got my chest piece tattooed at the local studio where I went to school. I figured that if I got a whole chest piece done, they might think that I was serious enough to take on as an apprenticeship.
Back then, it wasn't easy to find a good apprenticeship and I was super anxious to start. I bought a kit online and started tattooing myself on my thigh, my boyfriend at the time and the homies. Shortly after that, I got an apprenticeship with Diego Hernandez in a small town in Southeast Sweden, who's a really talented black-and-grey artist. It's so funny how the universe aligns because his cousin is Victor Portugal, who'd been studying.
I really feel in love with color and even though my teachers were black-and-grey artists, they really inspired me to bring depth out of my colors—which I still do today.
Who was the first celebrity you tattooed?
I designed a special poster for a music festival in Sweden when I was apprenticing. I told the festival that they should book Skrillex because he was going to blow up and they did, so I ended up tattooing him. He invited me to LA and I got to experience the city from a crazy view. I got to meet a lot of cool people and saw a lot of opportunity in America, so I'm happy that I could immigrate here and start my own business. It's not an easy process and I'm very blessed.
How would you describe your personal brand?
I go by the Witchdoctor and I'm basically a healer with art. I feel like everyone has a way to heal, we just have to unlock that. My way of healing is through tattoo art, showing how creative you can be and liberating yourself from things that hold us back from true happiness.
I like to help people express themselves through tattoos and bring the magic out of them. I want them to feel that they have something custom made that's timeless, that they can wear forever with pride.
Take us through your collaboration with BIC. How were you approached about the BodyMark product?
This was a very cool start to a new chapter in my journey. I have a very amazing agent, Kevin, who reached out to me saying [BIC] was looking for a global director for their new product. It was a temporary tattoo marker and they wanted someone from the industry to collaborate with it on. I saw so much opportunity on the jump with this product and we started working on it for a year and a half before it even launched.
It has to come from the heart when I do things like this and I need to feel like I can always use this on a daily basis as a tattooer. A lot of artists in the industry use other markers that aren't made for skin, which can lead to medical issues. I wanted to make sure that I could give back to the tattoo industry with this product and so many artists have said that they love it. It really holds up and lets you work without a stencil for so much longer without worrying about it rubbing off.
How do you plan to expand the BodyMark by BIC brand?
There's so much more coming. We're dropping a fine-tipped pen, which allows you to draw a consistent line no matter how much pressure you use. Right now, the markers have a fine brush tip, which allows you to do super thin lines but if you angle it right, you can make big coverage or a shading effect. The [fine-tipped] pen will make it easier for doing script and mandalas. We'll also be adding updates and features to our BodyMark app—which shares tips and tricks on how to use the product. And there will be new color packs coming soon, so hold tight.