Artist Spotlight: Female Tattoo Artists to Watch in NYC
As many are already aware, tattoos are the new norm. What was once considered a taboo or even a sign of rebellion is now widely accepted as a form of self expression. Although it is unclear what the cause of the shift truly was, whether it was the influence of loved celebrities, or perhaps the evolution of society itself, tattoos are here to stay and with that comes a more prominent spotlight on the artists themselves.
Like many other industries, the tattoo scene has been historically male dominated since the beginning of time. The rising trend births an investigation into the unsung heroes—better known as the talented women who are making waves despite being previously passed over. In this article we will be taking a look at some powerful female tattoo artists who are solidifying their reputations as some of the most talented within the New York City tattoo scene.
Megan Massacre: Grit N Glory Tattoo and Boutique
First up is Megan Massacre. You may recognize her from NY Ink, the reality show in which she first appeared in 2011. Massacre quickly became a fan favorite with her preference for colorful, multi-style tattoos. Since leaving the show, Massacre has gone on to open Grit N Glory, a tattoo shop and boutique that hosts a handful of established artists as well as merchandise spanning from clothing and accessories to housewares.
Massacre started tattooing at the age of 18. Her recent interview with Refinery 21 references the previous ubiquity of tattooing.
"I knew I wanted to tattoo since I was 14 years old, but back then, it wasn't really recognized as profession like it is now. A lot of shops were run by bike gangs, but that didn't stop me from walking into a shop and demanding that someone teach me how to tattoo,” Massacre said.
She continues to tattoo and has described her love for neo-traditionalism, new-skool, and realism. Rather than identifying a single style as her specialty, she chooses to explore varying styles, occasionally incorporating multiple styles into one tattoo. This is a marketable skill that she has refined over her illustrious career.
Rose Hardy: Kings Avenue Tattoo
Rose Hardy is a widely respected artist, known for her traditional style of tattooing. She has reinterpreted the traditional style by adding her own decorative twists. Like many of her peers, Hardy explores her art through other mediums as well—paint being her preference. Having earned her place in the industry after almost 20 years of tattooing, Hardy is looked at as an artist worth listening to. She has been featured in Inked Magazine and on the reality show Ink Master, where she acted as a guest judge alongside fellow tattoo legends Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez. She currently resides in Kings Avenue Tattoo and can also be found at various tattoo conventions.
Amanda Wachob has broken barriers with her innovative style of tattooing. Unique to more familiar styles, Wachob is working to converge the world of fine art with tattooing. She has acted as a leader and pioneer of the watercolor movement, a style that she has made her own. Wachob’s art spans to mediums of fruit, linen, skin, and leather. She has completed projects in collaboration with the likes of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the New Museum, the Whitney, and more. Although her books are temporarily closed, you can follow her on Instagram at @amandawachob to keep up to date on all of her artistic ventures.
Nice Tattoo Parlor
Nice Tattoo Parlor hosts four female artists. Along with offering customers access to clean tattoos, the shop has worked to provide clients with an “alternative” environment to the stereotypical tattoo parlor. While some customers may feel intimidated when going to the average tattoo shop, Nice Tattoo provides a relaxed and stress free space that puts clients as ease. Along with maintaining the image of a customer friendly shop, Nice Tattoo has also become a space for female tattoo artists to build their craft. Although the initial intention for the shop wasn’t to focus on female artists, it was hard not to follow this route after seeing an opportunity to promote equal representation within an industry that has been historically male dominated. This is how the team began to organically take shape.
Robert Boyle, founder of Nice Tattoo Parlor, addressed this when interviewed by the New York Times.
“After we started to understand the implication of providing an alternative space for female artists, it became a position we felt was culturally important,” Boyle said.
And the rest was history. Located in Brooklyn, this parlor hosts four female artists who all vary in tattooing style. As business continues to expand, Boyle aims to open a Nice Tattoo Parlor in every major city worldwide.