Our next featured artist from the fantastic Tattoo Zoo crew is Tami Tattoos. Tami has been tattooing for over a decade and has found her niche creating beautiful mandalas as well as gorgeous black and grey creations. When she's not been helping to create our Tattoo Zoo collection, she spends her spare time exploring Vancouver Island with her wife!
LEARN MORE ABOUT TAMI TATTOOS IN OUR Q&A
How did you get your start in tattooing?
A friend of mine owns a tattoo shop called Ink and Honey in Port Coquitlam. After getting tattooed by him he hired me to manage the shop. I did everything but tattoo there. Eventually, I was allowed to tattoo someone, mostly just for fun. I wasn’t exactly trying to become a tattooer at that point, however, the second I finished tattooing that first time I knew, I had to learn and would do whatever it took! Thanks to Steve and Janaya, and then Fester and Marcella, I had my foot in the door. After that my gratitude could be extended to Art Godoy at Funhouse and of course Gerry Kramer at Tattoo Zoo. Not to mention numerous other talented tattooers I have had the pleasure of working with.
How long have you been a part of the Tattoo Zoo crew?
Just over 4 wonderful years!
Any random facts we should know about you?
I’m a lefty, earlier this year I married my beautiful wife Kao, I play the ukulele, and I have 2 smart and talented nieces, Kali and Raylee.
Can you tell us a little about how you found your signature style?
I was already being drawn to geometric patterns and mandalas when I came to Tattoo Zoo but I didn’t realize just how much it would take off when I got here. I grew so much in my first year on the island and definitely became known as the dot work/geometric tattooer that I am today.
What is your favourite thing about tattooing?
My job is literally drawing all day. On my iPad and on people. I get to create and research, learn, meet amazing clients, and encounter constant challenges. Boring isn’t even in my vocabulary anymore.
Can you talk us through your customized Baggins Original?
I wanted something that would translate well onto a shoe while at the same time showcase my style. A bold, solid line weight mandala will do the trick! And I felt like having half of the design on each show would be a fun play on it all.
Converse, Dr. Martens or Vans- what’s your go-to shoe?
Can you tell us about your first pair of Converse, Dr. Martens, or Vans?
I got my first pair of Dr. Martens over 7 years ago. They were a gift from a very close friend of mine. He passed away 2 years ago. So they have a significant sentimental value to me. I wear them with pride and love always.
What is your favourite thing to do in Victoria?
I spend a lot of time at the beach by my house. Regardless of the time of year, it’s always a beautiful place to run, walk or sit and watch the sunset.
Who have you been listening to recently?
Led Zepplin always. I’ve been listening to a beautiful piano album lately as well, Inscape by Alexandra Stréliski. It’s my go-to morning soundtrack. At the shop, we rotate music constantly. So I am listening to anything from stoner rock to funk to hip-hop to punk to the oldies.
What inspires you?
Nature is a big one for me. Flowers and leaves, animals, landscapes, the galaxies in the sky. There is never a shortage of subject matter. I love sacred geometry as well, our world is made up of so much of the same elements and patterns. It’s fascinating.
How do you stay inspired?
By maintaining balance in my creativity. Remembering to take breaks from drawing. Even just going for a walk, or taking a weekend off. Also, the creation of something that isn’t tattoo-related. When drawing is your job you have to make sure you don’t burn out on it.
Do you have a favourite tattoo on your body?
I have a few! All of the tattoos my wife has done on me over the years, the last one she did on my ankle says “fun”. My owl and books on my left hand and Mother Earth on my hip and thigh that Janaya Singer did. The script on both of my shoulders that Gerry Kramer did speaks to who I am and how I feel about life. And of course, my snail that Eckel did on my calf.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring?
Coffee, a good book and my cat.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Frida Kahlo, without a doubt.
What is your most important artist tool?
My tattoo machines.
TATTOO ZOO LOVES TATTOOING YOU!
Tattoo Zoo has been providing a welcoming atmosphere for all walks of life since 1994. Nestled in the heart of Downtown Victoria, you can find Tami Tattoos and the rest of this team of creatives just outside the Fabulous Fort neighbourhood, at 826 Fort Street. Tattoo Zoo has built a reputation as a leading tattoo studio in the city for providing the highest quality body-art in a variety of styles. Whether you're in need of a cover-up, a bold pop of colour, a beautiful black and grey piece or something more traditional, Tattoo Zoo is the place for you. If you haven't check them out before, do yourself a favour and stop in to say hello! One thing is for sure, Tami Tattoos and the other folks at Tattoo Zoo love tattooing you!
Learn even more about Tami Tattoos and Tattoo Zoo by visiting their website or checking out their IG feed! If you're in the neighbourhood, we suggest popping by the shop! You might even get to meet Gerry and Sarah's insta-famous pup, Walter. Stay tuned for more Tattoo Zoo greatness coming your way in a flash!
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