Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Trudie Kaiser

trudie kaiser

First-year tattoo artist Trudie Kaiser has such a beautiful sense of artistry, it's clear she learned a lot thanks to her bachelor of fine arts and through her tattoo apprenticeship under the incredible Josh Lord and other artists at East Side Ink and Graceland Brooklyn. Her gorgeous tattoos and insight into the craft are very impressive.

Advertisement

Trudie shared how she got her start and some of her favorite moments of tattooing so far. Her work is lovely, as well as thoughtful, making her tattoos ones to remember and cherish.

How did you get into tattooing?
I actually just started tattooing. I'm in my first year. I still feel incredibly green and indebted both to the craft itself and to those who've taught me. I began pursuing tattooing right out of college, after working as a shop girl through art school. I realized how hardworking and crafty tattooers were, and how seamlessly they seemed to be able to collaborate, face to face, with their clients. This is a feat that most other working artists aren’t afforded -- graphic designers, architects, and those in similar fields tend to communicate largely remotely, and much less often get the opportunity to work so intimately with their clients. I’ve always found bodies both dangerous and fascinating. They are incredibly complicated, as are our relationships with them. I haven’t always felt connected to my own, but learned quickly that decorating it gave it weight and energy. Bodies are more than the sum of their parts. 

More from The Stir: Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Meredith Little Sky

trudie kaiser

trudie kaiser tattoo

trudie kaiser tattoo

What was the first tattoo that you got?
The first tattoo I got, I agonized over. I redrew it thousands of times, trying to control every aspect of it -- it was of a fossil called an ammonite. I chose an artist that I really resonated with from a reputable shop, and then quickly realized in the months succeeding as I learned about the craft that I had effectively prevented myself from participating in the best part of the process. Being tattooed is a delicate balance between control and chaos based largely in trust. As soon as this became apparent to me, I relinquished my obsessions and allowed myself to be complicit in the artistic play of those I admired. Subsequently, each tattoo has been exponentially more enjoyable. 

trudie kaiser tattoo

trudie kaiser tattoo

Share a good story about a tattoo that you have done.
I can’t speak to how I have affected a client, but I’m affected by most of my clients. Tattooing someone creates a shared vulnerability that is really palpable. I am most touched and honored to tattoo anyone who I can access those moments with. When I have the honor to tattoo someone who has clearly struggled with their body, that gets me the most. To be in dire conflict with your physical self, and to give me the trust to permanently alter that body? Kind of awe-inspiring. And certainly very humbling.  

I’d have to say my first tattoo experience was my most meaningful. It was a tattooer who I had worked under while I was a shop girl, who knew how badly I wanted to learn to tattoo. He let me tattoo Beavis from Beavis & Butt-Head on his leg. I was so honored to be let in on the craft though I wasn’t technically a tattooer or even an apprentice. I was also both immediately terrified by it and hungry to do it again, better. I still love that tattoo. 

trudie kaiser tattoo

trudie kaiser tattoo

Have you ever tattooed yourself?
Tattooing myself was a great experience. It felt like a special rite of passage. I worried that because I didn't tattoo myself "first" that it didn't count, or wasn't the same, but I ultimately realized that the experience to be gained was vital no matter when I did it. The design I chose was the first tattoo I did during my apprenticeship, a little dead sparrow shot with arrows, and I thought it would be interesting to tattoo the same design on myself. The act itself was pretty easy pain wise. It definitely gives you a little rush. 

trudie kaiser

trudie kaiser tattoo

trudie kaiser tattoo

More from The Stir: 18 Incredible Insect Tattoos You'll Want to Collect

Who and what influences you?
I think it’s as important to look outside of tattooing as it is to look within it -- not just as a tattooer, as an artist of any medium. Everything is derivative, but I think the best way to keep it from getting too nepotistic and dull is to draw from all sources available. I love Jenny Saville, David Maisel, Kiki Smith, and Louise Bourgeois. I’m inspired every day by the artists around me, my mentor Josh Lord and the kind and talented team of artists at East Side Ink/Graceland Brooklyn. I’m fascinated by biology and the images it produces on a more micro level. As trite as it may sound, nature is my ultimate influence, but it feels like there’s inspiration everywhere, bursting from the gills of everything I encounter.

trudie kaiser tattoo

trudie kaiser tattoo

trudie kaiser tattoo


Images via 2rood/Instagram

Read More >

tattoos