She became a tattoo artist after pursuing artistic studies in which she developed other forms of expression. Today she truly is an excellent tattooist, and the perfect manager of her famous Garage Ink Manor on the Australian Gold Coast. She is also a renowned model, something she adores doing because it helps highlight tattoo art (thanks to her amazing body). In short: she’s a volcano bubbling with ideas and creativity, with a heart that’s very fond of tattooing.

The full interview by Margherita B. is published on Tattoo Life magazine (September/October 2018 issue)

Teneile Napoli
Teneile Napoli

How did you enter the tattoo industry?
I believe I was meant for this life, as it found me. I’d had no prior background with tattooing, and I’d never thought I would become a tattoo artist. My family was not very supportive of me when I discovered this industry, but a series of events led me there. At the start, even I was a little hesitant. But I fell in love with it more and more, and my passion for art and people drew me back every time I was led in another direction.

Teneile Napoi ©Heidi Lumsden
Teneile Napoi © Heidi Lumsden

And now you are the owner of a very well-known tattoo shop, which has a peculiarity: your entire team is only female. Could you tell me something about that?
When I started my studio back in 2010, it was never my intention for it to be all female. But over the years the studio has seemed to draw in like-minded artists, and they all just happen to be incredibly talented and beautiful women. We are all country girls from small towns all over Australia, Europe, and New Zealand. As you can imagine, the industry can be quite perplexing for a young woman. The studio provides a safe and supportive environment, free of ego. We love and support one another like sisters.

Teneile Napoli, Garage Ink Manor, Gold Coast, Australia
Teneile Napoli, Garage Ink Manor, Gold Coast, Australia

Who is part of the team?
In order of when they started, we have me, Castelle Napoli, Karlee Sabrina, Juanita Tahere, miss Kimberly, Debby Napoli, Mary Jenson, Sammi Atkins, Jade Bouton, Mikki Atkins, and Holli and Emily are our newbies. Some of the girls have been with me since the start, and the rest for many years. But we are always open to finding new talent! We also have some incredibly talented guest artists who come from all over the world to stay and create at the Manor.

Let’s talk about your style. Is it just Black and Grey? How would you define it?
I love realism fantasy, and I have the freedom to create my work because all my clients are pretty amazing that way. I also love doing cover-ups and portraits because it is so beautiful to work with people on a subject they are passionate about, like a loved one. I enjoy cover-ups because I sense how the clients end up feeling transformed in their skin. And it’s also a challenge to formulate a design and recreate a tattoo based on something pre-existent. Personally I don’t tattoo colour, for many reasons. For example, it doesn’t go with outfits, it takes double the time for me to tattoo, black and grey heals faster, and my black and grey lasts longer.

Now this is just my opinion about my own style of tattooing. I adore so many colour artists; they blow my mind with their talent.

Are there any subjects you like to do and draw more than others?
Weird stuff, creatures, fantasy, sexual subjects, realism and energy. I mainly work in mixed media, with anything I find lying around, really. My art depicts my emotions.

You also did a TV show and you’re a model: what would you like to tell us about these experiences?
I believe modelling is an important platform, in that it showcases art on skin. I also love photography. Modelling is a great way to keep yourself in shape, and it’s always a fun day out with the girls when we do shoots. It’s also great for branding and media. I loved working on the show: I enjoyed the crew and the new environment, and being out of my comfort zone. We had a lot of fun! It was bloody hard work, but worth every minute.

Garage Ink Manor
Gold Coast
Instagram: @garageinkmanor