Artist in spotlight: Stacy

I’m Stacy and I’m 32. I’ve been tattooing for five years now and it’s quite a story how I started my career. I lived in Denmark, I’m educated as an architect and I was doing my master there. I was also working in a restaurant kitchen as an extra job. There one of my colleagues saw that I can draw and asked me to draw a tattoo design for his chest. So I drew one and he went to a tattoo shop with it, showed the design to them and they were actually really impressed. They started asking who drew it and told that they actually would like to talk with me.

My friend called me and told he found a job for me from a tattoo shop. I couldn’t speak Danish and didn’t really want to go because I thought I wasn’t skilled enough so he literally had to drag me there. So I went and got offered an apprenticeship. Then I just started to draw and tattoo after a while.

I have free space left only in my inner thighs and legs somewhere. Usually, in the end, you’re just gonna have all the bad places left like under knees, armpits and boobs. And when you’re fully tattooed and have two white armpits, you just need to get them done whether you want it or not. I myself have a realistic rose on my armpit and yes, it was painful. But I think realistic doesn’t hurt that much. It takes a long time, but there’s not going over and over with colours. Like if I’m doing neo-traditional, it’s bold lines: painful. Then I colour in black: painful. And then I go over the black with colours so it’s extra painful. Of course the pain is individual but some places you just know are gonna hurt more.

I’ve heard one explanation why heavily tattooed people are usually more in pain. It’s because they don’t have any adrenaline in their body anymore when tattooing. When you take your first tattoos or get rarely tattooed, you get overly excited about it and have adrenaline in your body. It works kind of as a painkiller. But when you get tattooed every two weeks, you wake up in the morning and you know what you’re gonna go through and it’s the worst day ever. I don’t know how much of it is true but it kinda makes sense. 

I like to use a lot of colour in my tattoos but I don’t like to have many cups of colours on my table, so I mix everything in the needle. Basically I just have a few cups of white, black and maybe ten clear colours which are always the same ones. If I need a darker tone I just mix the colour with black in the needle. For example, if I’m doing a face and using brown and need a darker tone, I’m just gonna dip the needle in black. Then I dip it just once fast in water or wipe the black out from the needle with paper so it’s just the leftovers of black in the needle. Then I dip it in brown and it’s mixing up with the black and getting darker tone of brown. Of course some say it’s a little bit hard to do a touch-up, it’s hard to get the exact tones. But I would go crazy with all the cups so this fits for me.

My tattoos don’t really have a deep meaning, nowadays it’s more just getting rid of clear skin. Some smaller tattoos on my leg are more funny and meaningful, one from my boyfriend for example. Also the contortion girl because I’m doing the flexibility and stretching thing so it’s a little bit me. The ”I hate you” is from my ex-colleague, we kind of have a love and hate relationship and when I was quitting the shop we decided we had to get some friendship tattoos. I wrote him ”I hate you” and he wrote the same, ”I hate you too” and then we just tattooed each other. 

I think it’s rare to think you’re done even if you didn’t have any clear space left. There are always some places that need to be retouched or covered, a lot of people are really just starting a second layer or blacking it out. I have one tattoo I’m working on now, first I got it covered but didn’t like it so now I’m working on lasering it so I can get something new.

Lasering is a long process, from six to ten treatments and you still need to get tattooed after it. So there’s always gonna be a little something to do.

Lasering is a good choice sometimes. If you have some shitty tattoo and try to cover it, sometimes it just gets darker but still looks like shit. Then it’s better to laser it and get a new tattoo after. I do a lot of cover-ups and sometimes I just have to tell the customer to go laser it first. You don’t need to get rid of it, just bleach it two or three tones, that’s sometimes enough. Really the first rule of making a good cover up is that it should be at least twice bigger as the one that needs to be covered. If you have a bad cigarette-box-sized tattoo in your back and want to have the same tattoo in the same size to cover it, it’s just gonna be a dark spot. In those cases lasering works really well. But if you allow to go bigger, like a full back piece, it’s super easy to cover it. So sometimes it’s just about convincing the customer to go big. 

Get tattooed! More tattoos, nice tattoos and choose your artist wisely and by their style. Don’t go to an old school guy and ask for a realistic portrait. 

You can find me on Instagram @stacyvl. I’m gonna be based in Oslo in High fever tattoo studio. So come to Norway! You can contact me on Instagram or email, all information is in my Instagram. 

Photos: Pinja
Text: Elsa