Style + Beauty

The Art of the Tattoo: Karen Slafter
We’re headed to Texas to talk to 20-year tattooing veteran Karen Slafter. From how she broke into the industry to where she gets her inspiration, our exclusive interview covers it all. Also, make sure to check out our slideshow of her best artwork below! How did you get your start? I have always been fascinated with tattoo and body art. While attending UT Austin for art, I started getting tattooed and thought it would be a wonderful career. I started tattooing in Atlanta, then got an apprenticeship with Steve Borrego at Native Images. What's your tattoo style of choice and why?I like to do tattoos that inspire — spiritual or artsy work, but I'm capable of doing any kind of tattoo style that comes my way. What do you think makes tattoos special? I like doing spiritual tattoos because I feel that getting tattooed can be a shamanic experience to transform open-minded people to a higher level. Tattoos seem so mainstream now. Is that good or bad?Tattoos being mainstream has a few effects: a more general acceptance in every part of society, a dramatic increase in the skill of some tattooers, and the dilution of what a tattoo really means — a transformation and a marking of that time in your life, forever. Do you see a current trend in the industry? I see more creative art and new techniques for applying and creating tattoos, as well as a reworking of traditional images to a more modern look. People seem more open to getting work that defines them as a person rather than [selecting a design] off the wall. What's your most memorable tattoo experience? I have a client that got a mandala with chrome and fire on his back. He was, unfortunately, in a fire when a plane hit the building he was working in. He was burned so badly on many parts of his body, but the tattoo on his back? Virtually untouched. Amazing! Which piece of work has been your favorite? I once helped the survivors of a tragic traffic accident that took four of their family members. They used tattoos to help them through the grief process. It was an honor to be included and to be of service. What inspires you? LIVING inspires my art. I can do no other. Do you have a message for aspiring artists? Respect the tattoo traditions, get well trained, [and] don't take on a tattoo you don't have full confidence to pull off successfully. Tattooing is for people and not for galleries! DRAW, DRAW, DRAW! Check out some of Karen's designs below:
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The Art of the Tattoo: Karen Slafter

We’re headed to Texas to talk to 20-year tattooing veteran Karen Slafter. From how she broke into the industry to where she gets her inspiration, our exclusive interview covers it all. Also, make sure to check out our slideshow of her best artwork below! How did you get your start? I have always been fascinated with tattoo and body art. While attending UT Austin for art, I started getting tattooed and thought it would be a wonderful career. I started tattooing in Atlanta, then got an apprenticeship with Steve Borrego at Native Images. What's your tattoo style of choice and why?I like to do tattoos that inspire — spiritual or artsy work, but I'm capable of doing any kind of tattoo style that comes my way. What do you think makes tattoos special? I like doing spiritual tattoos because I feel that getting tattooed can be a shamanic experience to transform open-minded people to a higher level. Tattoos seem so mainstream now. Is that good or bad?Tattoos being mainstream has a few effects: a more general acceptance in every part of society, a dramatic increase in the skill of some tattooers, and the dilution of what a tattoo really means — a transformation and a marking of that time in your life, forever. Do you see a current trend in the industry? I see more creative art and new techniques for applying and creating tattoos, as well as a reworking of traditional images to a more modern look. People seem more open to getting work that defines them as a person rather than [selecting a design] off the wall. What's your most memorable tattoo experience? I have a client that got a mandala with chrome and fire on his back. He was, unfortunately, in a fire when a plane hit the building he was working in. He was burned so badly on many parts of his body, but the tattoo on his back? Virtually untouched. Amazing! Which piece of work has been your favorite? I once helped the survivors of a tragic traffic accident that took four of their family members. They used tattoos to help them through the grief process. It was an honor to be included and to be of service. What inspires you? LIVING inspires my art. I can do no other. Do you have a message for aspiring artists? Respect the tattoo traditions, get well trained, [and] don't take on a tattoo you don't have full confidence to pull off successfully. Tattooing is for people and not for galleries! DRAW, DRAW, DRAW! Check out some of Karen's designs below:

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