Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Brie Brutal

brie felts tattoo artistNot only do we love the various styles of tattoos that Brie Brutal can do -- from incredible color to fantastic black work -- but we also admire her as a woman and a mother. This mom of two sets an incredible example to anyone who wants to follow a dream.

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Brie is currently tattooing at Primal Instinct Tattoo in Anchorage, Alaska; anyone not in that part of the world is going to wish they were in order to get tattooed by this amazing talent. We were charmed when interviewing this lovely woman, and you will be, too. And prepare to be in awe of her beautiful work, her humor, and her outlook on life.

How did you get into tattooing? 
Cupcakes! (Baked goods? Whuuut? I know ... but hear me out.) I have been active in the tattoo community since my teen years. Always fascinated with the art, the genuine people, and the feeling I would get whenever I entered a tattoo shop. I always felt at home, so when I first moved to Alaska in early 2008, I went to seek out some friends. I found a shop with people who I admired and started baking for them. It became routine to make a delicious delivery monthly, and from there, I became friends with many of the artists working there. When one artist was leaving the shop to open a new one, I was given a call and asked if I wanted to work the counter. I said yes of course, excited at the opportunity. Then, a week before opening, the same artist called me and told me he saw potential in me and asked me to be his apprentice.

At first, I wasn't going to accept his offer. I'm a girl, and doing as girls do, I convinced myself I couldn't do it. Doing permanent art seemed way above my abilities, but after some pushes from friends and family to pursue this, I took advantage of the opportunity and began to work my ass off seven days a week. [After] scrubbing tubes, mopping floors, drawing, and the day-to-day apprenticeship hardship, I was finally ready to do my first tattoo. I chose a cupcake. It seemed appropriate.  

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

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What was the first tattoo that you got? 
A band logo, in the middle of my back. Fast-forward 13 years and now I'm limited on what I can get as a back piece, due to this big black thing right in the middle. When choosing the placement of my first tattoo, I really wasn't taking into consideration any future tattoos I might get. Despite some bad choices along the way, I'm actually grateful for all of my experiences getting tattooed (good and bad) before becoming a tattoo artist. It made me aware of how important the experience, as well as the art, really is. I encourage all of my clients to speak up! If you don't like something about the drawing or how the stencil is fitting your body, it's your job to tell me that you are not loving it, and mine to change what I can until you do. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want -- you are the one who has to wear it forever.  

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

 

Share a good story about a tattoo that you have done.
People get tattoos for a number of reasons. Some for grieving the passing of a loved one, or documenting a certain milestone in their life. Others get tattoos because they look pretty and [people] want to express themselves. I don't take any of my experiences for granted, but my favorites, where I always walk away with the biggest smiles, are when people realize their beauty and worth.

Self-love is something that all women, from all walks of life, struggle with daily. Finally accepting yourself is such an important thing. Oftentimes people will go their whole lives battling what they see in the mirror, and never reach that level of acceptance. Clara is not that girl. Clara is a beautiful, curvy lady who got her belly tattooed to celebrate her body. A scarab with its wings spread, which she shows off with pride. Clara is deaf, and for that reason we didn't speak much during the tattooing process. Honestly, we didn't have to. I felt such a strong connection because just weeks before I had gotten my belly tattooed for the exact same reason. Seeing the joy on her face when looking in the mirror, watching her walk with such confidence, was more conversation than I've had in six hour–long sessions. I was honored to be a part of this process for Clara. Putting something beautiful on a part of your body you may not like is one of the best ways to dissolve those insecurities. Tattoo your yummy tummy. Self-love is everything.    

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

More from CafeMom: Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Nhia Yang

Have you ever tattooed yourself?
I tattooed myself once early on in my apprenticeship. It was a set of cherries on my inner right ankle. I was told that I would learn a lot ... and all I could take away from the experience was that I'm a TOTAL wienie, haha. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having tattoos, but the getting-it part sucks. It hasn't stopped me from getting many since, but having someone else tattooing you is a lot easier to manage. After I did the line work for the cherries, I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I could make the pain stop, so I did. I figure I'd leave it blank for now, and if either of my children decide they want to learn how to tattoo, I have a color by numbers waiting.  

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

Who and what influences you?  
Family is my biggest influence in all aspects of my life, both blood and choice. The daily encouragement and love I receive from everyone in my life is overwhelming. I work with some of the best people in Alaska. Primal Instinct Tattoo has been my home for the past five and a half years (I was two and a half years at a shop prior), and it's where I've met some of my closest friends. With the amount of talent and lack of egos, it has made focusing on improving my skills very successful. We are always helping one another, which humbles us and in the end makes us all better artists. 

My mom has always been my number one fan, and I owe my outlook on life to this strong, inspirational woman. Arts and crafts were incorporated into my routine from a very young age because she saw the importance in being creative. My mom always encouraged me to be whatever will make me happy, even if at first she wasn't so hip on tattoos. (Fast-forward five years into my career, and I gave her her first.) Having a strong relationship with my parents has helped me have the same relationship with my children. I have two amazing children, who are always excited at the end of my workdays to see Mommy's new tattoo pictures. I push myself both at home and with my art to show my kids that you can have a happy home life and successful career. I take the time to incorporate all forms of creativity into their lives, in hopes that I can be a positive influence for them. And I think it's working. My daughter has already declared at the age of 5 that she will one day be a mom and a tattoo artist.

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

brie felts tattoo artist

 

Images via Brie Brutal

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