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who i am?

female tattoo artist, glitter tattoos, rhode island, neotraditional, girly tattoos, custom tattoos,new england, nashville

Tattooing (for me) has been a long journey that began with a decision to take all of my energy, courage, money, and free-time and fearlessly take that first step by apprenticing under my friend and mentor, Jamie Grycell, in a field i knew little about based purely off of a life-long dream. I knew there was a 50/50 between success and failure… and there always will be, but it has just never been an option for me. That first step was followed by another and repeated until it became natural for me, just another day, never discouraging education and change. Tattooing is and always will be a part of me. 

 

Running my own business was never a question for myself or for the people around me, it is just something I wake up and simply do. Every. Single. Day. Even when I don't want to, even on the really REALLY hard days, even when I am frustrated, or my back is in pain or I want to quit. Of course there were people who didn't, and still don't, believe in me but who cares? Of course, people made fun of me. Again, WHO CARES?! 

I'm from a small state known for its prestigious art schools and alleged “unwavering support of independent ‘small’ artists,” Rhode Island. I love searching out new and different places to guest across the country. From Maryland to Illinois, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and beyond, wherever I am I provide the highest quality premium equipment (often made in the USA, handmade/small business owned), supplies, and customer service to all of my clients to ensure an enlightening, safe, AND fun experience overall.  

Nothing good happens overnight…and neither will I. I started tattooing in 2019 following over 1.5 years of purely, old school, cleaning and study filled days as the new shop apprentice. I've tattooed hundreds (if not thousands) of people from all over the country and (I am sure by this point), the world - after years of perfecting my craft and investing my all into this. Ive been featured in magazines for my glitter tattoos, booked solid, gone to conventions I never dreamed of, met and worked with so many people I look up to in the industry... And I am only just getting started. I have so many ideas to grow as a company in the future from building a team to merchandising and travel.

 

So, the next time you look in the mirror and see all of your tattoos, know it took much longer than a few hours to complete. Know, it took more than your money to pay off. Know, it was an investment for more than just one of us. And if i had to start life all over again, i would never do it any other way.

 

What is one thing you should know about me? Don’t you ever fucking doubt me. I understand the grind, the passion, AND the basics. Why would you trust someone who hated their job? Why would you trust someone who thought they knew it all, already? Why would you work with an artist who lies or makes you uncomfortable? Or seems unsure about who they are and why they do what they do? I understand what it is like to be called crazy, to be made fun of, to sacrifice everything to fulfill your dream. To be broke with no money and running on fumes, I understand losing all of your friends because it’s “just a job,” to them.  I understand sleepless nights and early mornings.  To try everything and it still doesn't work. I understand, handmade with blood sweat and oh soooo many tears, learning the difference between quality and quantity the hard way. I've had plenty of jobs before but I never jumped out of bed at the idea of bending over backwards for a job that didn't fulfill me. I was never “girly” enough, never pretty enough, never “feminine” enough to be “one of the girls,” I was never “strong” enough, “tough” enough, “dirty” enough to be one of the guys. 

 

Creating something, with my hands, was something that still means the most to me and that I work hard for every single day. Today, I continue pushing the envelope to demand equality in an industry still led by old-school sexism (as cliche as that sounds) and I ensure I will always be who I am authentically while guaranteeing my clients an unbiased service of quality over quantity, without sacrificing fun and individuality.

 

My brand is based on personal uniqueness, authenticity, drive, and morality. I will never lie to you, even if you want me to: I will never pretend to be someone I'm not or tell people what they want to hear. I would rather do everything on my own than play pretend and use people to get ahead. I will never tell you how to do something that I have never done myself. It's just not how I'm wired. I believe in the freedoms given to us in the American constitution to be just that… FREE. free to be our weird, unique selves, speak our minds, and live our chaotic lives.  From late tattoo conventions, to daily farm work, to early morning strength training 7 days a week, huge weddings, working full time in a hot kitchen and sooo many other miscellaneous jobs along the way, I have been working HARD since I was at least 10 years old. 

 

I think it is safe to say you look at me and think I'm a pretty unconventional, non-traditional type of person. I attended a catholic school for 8 years of my life, or course I hate authority. I grew up hearing “your body is a temple, treat it like one.” WELL then, I'm going to decorate mine like the Sistine Chapel. My parents raised me not to start fights but certainly to finish them- not to settle, know my worth and defend myself. I was basically outright shunned from catholic school in the 7th grade when another girl laid hands on me after a basketball game. Athletics taught me teamwork, leadership determination/encouragement, competition, as well as a lot of other skills I use today.

 

I am proud of the business I have built and the person I have become on this journey to intangible success and I know you can feel and see that in my art and in my services, every single day.  I welcome fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners of all kinds to openly network with myself and my clients.

 

All work and no play makes shay a dull girl. My idea of “fun” is the farthest thing from average. My days consist of early morning animal feedings then to work outs while i binge podcasts, and back to work. Then at night I repeat the same cycle, until I hit the pillow snoring. I am known for ditching social events for Leg Day and/or Chicken Disco Parties, but definitely don’t count me out on Spaghetti night. I'll choose a gallon of water over any soda or cocktail 99% of the time and I'll use words like “fortitude” one second and be cursing and using tik tok slang the next.  

 

So why did I choose to become a tattoo artist on top of everything else I do with my time? Because it's cool, I like art, and I'm damn good at it! Because fuck what people think. Fuck the people who have created this narrative that you cannot be both tattooed AND hardworking. Who tell you you cannot be weird AND professional. the people who doubt you. Call you names. Assume you’re a drug addict, assume you’re anything really. the people who would rather judge you based on what you look like rather than your actions, words, and morals. AND Fuck the people who TELL you who you are and what you believe in, to begin with anways. Fuck normal. That’s why. 

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