She describes her tattoos as “bold and organic”. And she’s looking forward to opening in 2023 ‘Tiger Club Tattoo’ on Oahu along with her partner Judd Bowman.
Hello Yvonne, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m very much an introvert, so my life mostly revolves around making tattoos and art, with my off time spent cooking, reading, gardening, or adventuring with my partner and dogs. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the last couple years and while it’s been great, I’m excited to be moving back to Hawaii at the end of 2022. I can’t wait to get back to a more slow-paced life spent mostly outside and in the ocean.
How did you get started in the tattooing profession and why did tattooing come into your life in such a decisive way?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a city in which tattoos have always been so prevalent, so the influence has been there from a very young age. I always knew I wanted to make art, and moved to New York City when I was 17 to go to art school.
How many years have you been tattooing?
I did my first official tattoo in 2012 in a little shop in the Bronx, mainly just to make ends meet. I didn’t have a proper apprenticeship so I didn’t really know what I was doing. It wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii in 2014 that I really started taking tattoos seriously and made it a full time commitment a few years after that.
I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I feel so fortunate to have stuck with it.
Do you think you should say thank you to someone if you do what you do today, or would you like to be thankful only to yourself?
I’m thankful to a few guys at the shop in the Bronx who tried to show me what to do, even if they didn’t really know what they were doing at the time!
They were always supportive of my art, but it was really hard – the shop minimum was so low and there were lots of days I didn’t get to eat. It was a weird dynamic, a kind of “figure it out as you go” kind of spot.
I was gifted my first machine there, an old Micky Sharpz hybrid that I used for the next 5 years.
And I’m so thankful to every client who has supported me throughout the years, and continue to support me today.
How would you describe the predominant style of your works? There is elegance, there is a lot of use of decoration, a very careful use of dots, maybe even a bit of surrealism… and then what?
Anything bold and organic. Some people say it looks Neo Traditional, others say Illustrative. Either way, I try to keep the subjects looking classy, unless it’s a special request for something naughty or silly. Faces, foliage, animals, tribal-inspired patterns, different cultural inspired themes.
I like images I can create a lot of contrast with, and can have fun “decorating” like you mentioned. I get a lot of influence from different classic images, Art Deco and nouveau, and old patterns. Mostly I put a lot of time and thought into how the piece will adorn the body, and flow with the space naturally in the most flattering way.
Am I wrong or do your female figures all have some kind of “double face”?
I actually don’t do a whole lot of “double” faces, but I do love doing them! Usually they are client’s requests, but I would love to make some flash in the future with more designs expressing some sense of duality! I do like sneaking in the idea of balance or even “yin and yang” in a lot of the framework I make for my tattoos though.
Tell me about your private studio ‘Among the Willows’ in Los Angeles and the upcoming studio ‘Tiger Club Tattoo’ which is in Hawaii and will open in 2023?
‘Among the Willows’ (IG: @amongthewillows) was actually a private studio space started by my partner and his best friend. I moved from Hawaii to Los Angeles in 2020 and joined the studio. ‘Tiger Club Tattoo’ (IG: @tigerclub.tattoo) will officially be the first shop I’m opening. My partner, Judd Bowman (IG: @juddbowman) who is also a phenomenal tattooer, and I envision the shop to be an inspiring space for us and all those who walk through the door.
We are so excited to make a welcoming and classy spot that we can call home for the rest of our time as tattooers!
What 2023 do you picture in your head? Do you think you will travel a lot to attend international tattoo conventions or guest spots in other parts of the world?
Considering we won’t have the shop completely up and running smoothly until spring 2023, I unfortunately don’t see a whole lot of traveling for 2023. Which is fine. After the craziness of the last few years, a year to relax a bit and reconnect with the island doesn’t sound too shabby. But fingers crossed that in 2024 I can participate in more conventions and guest spots!
One of the greatest parts of tattooing is the people you meet along the way, and I’ve definitely been fortunate in making some amazing friends around the world that I would love to work with again.
And your last famous words are… ?
Learn the rules. Then break some!