With 15 years to her name in the tattoo industry, Tory Sutherland-Dadds has witnessed the evolution of the trade, equipment and the artwork itself. Meet her as our featured Tattoo Artist.
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Full name: Tory Sutherland-Dadds
Shop: Sally Mustang Tattoos
Years tattooing: 15
Tattoo style: Mostly Fineline
Hourly rate: Daily rate of R6-8k – starting price for small pieces R850
What have been some of the highlights of your tattooing career so far?
There have been so many! The first things that spring to mind would have to be winning Best Female Artist and Best Tattooed Female at an Ink n Iron, as well as tattooing wedding bands onto my dear friends at their wedding.
Give us some insight into your story of becoming a full time tattoo artist?
I knew from very early on that it was what I wanted to do. I loved art from since as early as I can remember, and when an older cousin went home with a tattoo and I learned about the concept, I just knew I had to be a part of that magic. I apprenticed straight out of school, and ran my own studio for twelve years before Sally Mustang called me up and asked me to come have a look at the studio. As soon as I walked through the door, I knew it would be home.
What first attracted you to the industry/ trade?
The idea of art that can’t be thrown away or forgotten. Living art.
What do you feel were some of the hardest skills to learn when first starting out?
When I started tattooing, the idea that I was hurting a person was difficult for me to get over. I was painfully shy, so had to learn to get over that very quickly! I have also learned the hard way, a few times, to trust my stencil.
Given the opportunity to tattoo any one person, who would it be and why?
It would definitely be my sister living in the UK. I’m one of four siblings, and we can’t very well get siblings tattoos unless we all get them!
What does it mean to you to be working out of Sally Mustang?
Sally Mustang is a place of safety. We build each other up and grow together. I am mentoring a few very talented individuals, and watching them learn is, and has been very rewarding. Sally Mustang is chilled and inclusive, and everyone who spends time in the store has a great time.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?
I enjoy most styles of tattooing. Because of the length of time I have been tattooing, it has allowed me to branch out and explore different styles. I’m a firm believer in great technique, so value clean lines, smooth shades, and solid colouring. When a tattoo artist can do these well, they can be more versatile and play with different styles.
I would have to say though, that at the moment, I am loving Fineline. When I started, the clumsy coils and fat needles I had access to were not capable of producing the fine lines and detail we can do now, so I’m enjoying that a lot.
What does a day in your life usually consist of?
A lot of coffee! Generally, I would split my days between tattooing, designing, martial arts, coffee drinking and family time.
What advice would you give someone looking to get their first tattoo?
Do your research! Look through social media accounts to find an artist who tattoos in the style you want. Set up consults, and make sure you are comfortable. It’s your tattoo, and you alone have to wear it. A good artist will make recommendations, but meet you halfway. Don’t be intimidated into agreeing to something that isn’t what you wanted or asked for. It’s okay to disagree and move onto someone else. Don’t shop around for pricing, rather save up for the right artist for you. Tattoos are more permanent than your kicks, your car or your hair. Don’t go cheap.
For anyone wanting to book and appointment with you, what’s the next step?
To book a spot with me, please get in touch with our incredible, efficient, amazing booking manager, Misty. Misty is a boy BTW. K thanks bye!!!
Sally Mustang Tattoos JHB
Contact: Tel: 011 809 8094 | WhatsApp: 064 064 8424 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 11 Charles Crescent, Sandton, Johannesburg.
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Tattoos by Tory Sutherland-Dadds
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.