Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Michelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala Don't be afraid to take risks and be yourself. If we were to extract a motto from tattoo artist Michelle Wanhala, that's what it would be. Young and talented, Michelle creates tattoos that have spirit and a sense of humor. And with only three and a half years under her tattoo belt, she has got quite an incredible future.  

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Michelle sells her art online at MWanhala Shop -- featuring weird, whimsical, and uniquely beautiful works (we adore her pet portraits). These works are often chosen as tattoos by clients. 

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhalamichelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

How did you get into tattooing?
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be an artist and make money being an artist. When art school stopped working out for me, I went straight to a tattoo shop and got an apprenticeship. I honestly wish I would have skipped the art school part. I didn't know much about the [tattoo] industry when I got into it. I was in search of a medium I really enjoyed working in and I wasn't finding that in art school. Getting into tattooing just seemed like the next logical step.

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

What was your own first tattoo?
A spider on my foot. It looks like a 3-year-old drew it with a crayon. I found $7,000 under some floorboards of an old house and getting a tattoo spur of the moment seemed like a good idea all of a sudden. I got a crappy yellow spider and my friend got a vampire girl with a mustache. She wasn't supposed to have a mustache. I got off lucky considering. Do your research before you get tattooed, kids.  

More from CafeMom: Lady Tattoo Artists We Love: Sophie C'est La Vie

Share a good story about a tattoo. 
I tattooed hummingbirds on two of my cousins after my grandma died. Hummingbirds were her thing. We made a whole day of it. The family got together and we made food and drank beers and reminisced about my grandma. The hummingbirds were my cousins' first tattoos. It was an honor that they trusted me to do something that was so meaningful to all of us.  

hummingbird tattooMichelle Wanhala

Have you tattooed yourself?
I've touched up a tattoo on myself. There are too many other artists that I want to be tattooed by. I don't want to take up the space on my body with my own work.  

More from CafeMom: 20 Gorgeous Sprig Tattoos That Are Minimalist Perfection

Who and what influences you in work and life?
Cartoons, being happy, my people being happy, Instagram, and all these artists out there dumping their hearts and souls into their work. It is really amazing to me what people achieve artistically. It makes me want to push myself and my art further every day.   

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

michelle wanhala tattoo artistMichelle Wanhala

Michelle currently tattoos in Austin, Texas, at Amillion Tattoo. Follow her on Instagram.

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