On the brink of ink


Two Perth women are carving a path for themselves in the traditionally male-dominated tattoo industry.

Samantha Sharland, 20, (pictured in the top three photos) grew up loving art and went with her parents to the tattoo parlour every time they got a new tattoo.

“I always looked through the tattoo designs when I was there and I just loved it,” Miss Sharland said.

Miss Sharland’s first tattoo, etched at Na8iv Ink in Ballajura, was on her fiancé, Nathain Pimblett.

Today she works at Emerald Ink Tattoo and Art Studio based in Osborne Park where she does two to three tattoos a day and works five days a week.

At Emerald Ink, Miss Sharland is one of only a few female tattoo artists.

“There’s more girls in the industry now so it’s getting a new school hip vibe,” she said.

“People are more drawn to women when it comes to talking and just getting out what they want to get tattooed and stuff.”

Miss Sharland recently tattooed at the Australian Tattoo Convention at the Perth Convention Centre and hopes to take part in the Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo in Perth in September.

“You have to be dedicated and show you really want it, otherwise you won’t get anywhere in this industry,” she told Inkwire.

Mikayla Burman, 18, has only just started tattooing and is very keen to learn more.

Miss Burman recently did two months’ work experience at a tattoo parlour where she learned about the importance of cleanliness, and how to deal with clients.

Since then she has tattooed six people at her home, doing her first ever tattoo on her mother, as pictured in the photo below.

Miss Burman hopes to work for a few months to save some money and then enter into a six-month visual arts course.

“After that, I will then think about looking for an apprenticeship [in tattooing],” she said.

Miss Burman’s love for tattoos came when she got her first tattoo at age 16.

“Of course I want to go somewhere with my art and the reason I want to go into tattooing is because it’s different, like its not like teaching or anything like that,” she said.

“I guess over quite a few years it’s become more popular for women to get into the industry.

“A while ago it was just seen as a male-run industry and it was really hard for women to get there but it’s becoming more and more popular.”

Owner of the Kalamunda-based Celtic Circle Tattoo Company, Gary Welch, has been tattooing for 25 years, and is the national president of the Professional Tattooing Association of Australia.

“There’s always been one or two [females in the industry], but now with the increase in the more artistic side of things the practitioners are more so artists and you are finding more women involved,” Mr Welch said.

“The new artists are bringing a higher quality of art and there’s a lot more to offer now.

“I think that the new artists are typically younger people, and are maybe more sensitive and artistic.”

Top three photos by Chloe Vellinga and bottom one by Kris Burman.

Categories: Arts, Fashion

1 reply »

  1. Gday. I feel a need to remind Gary Welch, respectfully and in good humor of course, that indeed there were always a ” couple of females ” in the tattoo industry. Two women who were taught the proper old school craft of tattooing by one of our countrys best freehand artists and the first president of the P.T.A.A, Danny . Robinson snr. The two women in question of course are Raelene Robinson and Cindy Ray (Bev Robinson) Artists for over half a century. Nutz is still slogging it out on the gold coast as far as I know. Every now and a gain I recon all tattooists should remember the Robinson name. After all, I grew up with all of them and my last name is….Robinson

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