The ink on Johannie

Johannie from New Jersey

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Hoboken, NJ and lived in several different parts of northern NJ including Jersey City, Secaucus, North Bergen, Guttenberg, Wallington & Tenafly. I currently live in Bloomfield, NJ.

How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
I’m definitely not your typical Jersey Girl. I think the fact that my parents put me through private schooling was more of an impact on me than where I grew up.

When did you start getting tattoos?
A friend of mine, Keith Kosky, was apprenticing at Underground Tattoo which is now called, “Our Lady of Ink” in Secaucus, NJ. I was 19 years old and we made a deal that if I streaked through the shop, I’d get a free tattoo of my choice. Since then, I've been collecting and still have a few bigger pieces that are incomplete.

How would you describe your style?
I’m kind of trendy. I enjoy thrift and vintage shopping and creating unique looks by putting together pieces that normally wouldn't go together.

Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
Yes and no. I know a lot of people who put a lot of thought into their body art and need to have the best of the best artists tattoo them. For me, it’s more about the experience, getting to know new people, hearing their stories and having a part of them on you...forever.

How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
Kind of cliché, but still somewhat unconventional. I don’t go to tattoo conventions and live a 100% tattoo lifestyle because I don’t feel the need to... however, there are a lot of people who feel as if tattoos are a serious part of who they are and being part of that community is a must. This definitely isn't the case for me.

What has been your inspiration for getting them?
Mostly for aesthetic purposes.

What’s your favorite piece?
I have “Enamorada Emperdenida” tattooed above my traditional heart locket with bat wings. It means, “Hopeless Romantic” in Spanish. Mark Helstrom from Green Ave Tattoo in Brooklyn did it for me.

Do you catch people starring at you because of your ink?
All of the time. Especially at the beach... or maybe they are just staring at my Cuban booty.

In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
Not at all. It always feels great to get new ink but it doesn't give me a high of any sort.

What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
I have “Daddy’s Girl” tattooed on my right forearm. I love my dad... he’s been a huge part of my life and at 86 years old, I am very grateful to still have him around. I also lost a close friend of mine, Victor in 2009 due to suicide. I got his named tattooed inside of heart with angel wings and a halo on my left calf in memory of him. 

Last but not least, I have an ex-boyfriends name tattooed on my right forearm. Although I now despise him after realizing the relationship was a complete waste of time and effort, I still don’t have the heart to cover it up. Someone I met who also has ex’s tattooed on him recently told me that I should look at it as a chapter in my life and not as regret. Agreed.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
Don’t do it because you think it’s cool and everyone else is doing it. Do it because it’s something that inspires you.

Will you be getting anymore?
Of course.

What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
I’m very detail oriented and I like things to look finished/complete. There are many empty spaces that need fillers.

What is one thing that life has taught you?
Make mistakes... lots of them and you’ll become a better, stronger and overall more awesome person than you could ever imagine possible.

Do you have a favorite quote?
Not really.. although, I have grown to love a quote that I have often used to describe my life... “A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is tired, hurt and bewildered” - Clara Bow

Anything else you would like to add?
Justin Beiber ain't so bad.

For more on Johannie, visit...  
instagram: @johannie_v

Photographer's credit:
Bradley Thornber
Leicester Mitchell
Tim Hays
James Pitaressi