The ink on Whitney

Whitney from Missouri

Where did you grow up?
I grew up about an hour south of Kansas City in a very small town. 

How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
Of course it influenced me! It's the reason I am who I am today. My graduating high school class only had 65 people in it. Every body knew every body and if ya got in trouble your parents knew about it before you even got home! I loved it, wouldn't have had it another way, but I was eager to break free from the small town life. I couldn't wait to move to Kansas City and experiment and try new things. It's always nice to go back from time to time and remember my roots. 

When did you start getting tattoos?
When I turned 18 I got my first tattoo on my left back side. It was just my zodiac symbol. 2 weeks later I was back to get another! After that I was pretty much addicted. I got a few crappy little tattoos to start off with. Then I met Robbie Lopez and he started all my big pieces. 

How would you describe your style?
I really don't have a set "style" I'm very girly and humorous. I think most of my tattoos show that.

Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
Of course. You definitely have to be artistic to be a tattooer. I have no artistic ability, I just throw ideas out to my artist and he comes up with it all. It blows my mind, the things he comes up with. I would never think of that stuff! There are definitely a lot of tattooers out there who are not artistic who just do flash and that always kind of pisses me off. Getting tattooed is a privilege and should never be cheap. Unfortunately not everyone feels that way. So you see everyone walking with tattoos and not very good ones.

How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
The tattoo culture is definitely growing. It use to just be sailors and punk rockers that had tattoos, now everyone has em! It's kind of sad though. Everyone and there mom wants to get in on the tattoo industry right now because its booming. So there is so many people walking with crap tattoos they did with there pre made kits they bought online. Tattoos aren't for everybody and soon people will start to realize that.

What has been your inspiration for getting them?
Well my first big piece was a portrait of my grandmother. She passed away Jan of 2006 from als. Her death really took a toll on me, I was devastated for a long time. So I decided I wanted her picture with me everywhere I went. It was kind of a healing process too. But after that I was just amazing with my artist and saw all the cool stuff he was doing. I wanted in on it and have been collecting his pieces ever since.

What's your favorite piece?
The portrait of my grandma is my absolute favorite. It looks just like her!

Do you find people starring at you because of your tattoos?
Of course! Some people are just curious, others are judgmental. Which is fine. I'm not perfect, I find myself judging people when I shouldn't. 

In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
No, I wouldn't say they change my mood. If anything they inspire me.

What's your most significant tattoo and why?
Of course the one of my grandma, but other than that I would say the one of my wrist. My husband got "amazing" and I got "ditto." My back piece also has some significance, it’s an underwater theme. I have a big mermaid and lots of sea life. The ocean has always been so fascinating to me. It's so peaceful and inspiring. Maybe it's because I'm a cancer, but I love being in the water!

What's your next tattoo?
My grandma always collected pigs so I want to get a realistic portrait of a pig. I plan on dedicating my whole left arm towards her. She also always had humming bird feeders in her yard so I plan on getting a few of those too. I'm leaving it up to my artist to tie it all together. I'm artistically retarded so I just throw ideas out and he makes it happen.

What advice would you give someone getting their first tattoo?
Don't pick the first shop you walk into. Go to several shops and feel em out. You wanna make sure you pick the right artist because you’re gonna be stuck with this tattoo for ever. Spend good money on your piece too, cheap tattoos look cheap.

What is one thing life has taught you?
No matter what, you’re gonna get shit on. Not just once either! But if you are generally a good person and always try to do what's right, good karma will come your way. You just have to be patient. 

Will you get anymore?
Of course! I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. 

Do you have a favorite quote? 
"'Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown."
Anything else you would like to add?