Introducing Sarah Lee of Be Kind Tattooing as our featured Tattoo Artist. We delve into her life as a full-time artist, the style of tattoo work she focuses on and more below.
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Full name: Sarah Lee
Shop: Be Kind Tattooing
Years tattooing: 3 and a half years
Tattoo style: Focusing on Traditional Tattooing
Hourly rate: R800
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a full-time tattoo artist?
I have worked as a receptionist in various tattoo studios since I was 17. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and focused on doing tattoo designs on ceramic objects. It felt like the natural next step would be tattooing so I did my apprenticeship and began tattooing full-time in 2019.
What were some of the hardest skills to learn when first starting out?
To trust your instinct. If a design doesn’t feel quite right or you’re not gelling with your clients there’s probably a reason for it. Slow down, communicate, and don’t just do a tattoo because you need the money.
Explain the experience of tattooing your first client?
It was on a family friend who had been bitten by a piranha while she was in South America. She had a small scar, but she wanted it to be more visible. I worked off of the original photo and it was a super cool and interesting first tattoo for sure! I don’t think she even knew it was my first one when she came for the appointment [laughs].
How do you like to ensure you keep progressing as an artist?
I always try to make sure that each tattoo I do is better than the last one, no matter the size. I also get tattooed by other artists that I respect, and I ask them questions while they’re tattooing me and take some of those lessons home with me.
What does a day in your life usually consist of?
I live a fairly quiet life. I am usually woken up by my husband with a cup of coffee before he forces me to go to the gym (I’m not a morning person). Then we head over to our shop and I usually spend about half an hour tidying up and getting myself ready for the day. I’ll then either tattoo, draw, or make soap. After work, we try to take a walk in Delta Park, but if we’re feeling lazy we will watch some TV before I make dinner.
Given the opportunity to tattoo any one person, who would it be and why?
Honestly, it would have been my dad. He found tattooing a bit strange, but I think if he had gotten one he would have seen the art of it.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?
I love making Traditional Tattoos. There’s something so cool about taking an image and simplifying it in a beautiful way. It is a rewarding challenge. I also greatly appreciate the history and meaning behind it.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Nature, punk culture, song lyrics, and the overwhelming amount of love and kindness in my life.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
When I was a mulberry in my mom’s tummy, I grew an extra vertebra.
For anyone wanting to book an appointment with you, what’s the next step?
Pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Tattoos by Sarah Lee
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.