Alyssa Anne from the Bay Area, CA
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Redding, CA, until I was 19.
How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
Well, I think that your environment is pretty much always an influence in who you become in life (probably far more than anything else). Redding definitely gave me an appreciation of the outdoors (lots of fun stuff to do up there; camping, playing in one of the two lakes, hiking, etc…). It also made me decide that I didn’t want to pop out babies at 18. Nothing wrong with popping them out early, if that’s what you want to do, but I wanted to explore the world more! Redding is its own little bubble (culturally), though it is growing at a pretty decent rate, these days!
When did you start getting tattoos?
I was 18 (of course), when I got my first tattoo. I was young, dumb, and didn’t realize the importance of doing the research on a good tattoo artist/tattoo shop. It ended up getting really badly scarred (the artist went far too deep), and it has faded much over the years! Oh well, you live you learn! It was a great experience, as far as a memory. My brother drew the design, and I went and got tattooed with another brother of mine! So, I wouldn’t take it back…But, I should have done more research into it before I did it! Impulsive… yes, yes I am!
How would you describe your style?
Tattoo style is mainly Japanese style art. One of the most timeless and beautiful, in my opinion.
Clothing style? ECLECTIC! I wear what I like! I don’t consider myself “punk rock” or “pinup” or “preppy”… I think that confining your life to specific styles is silly (unless you truly ONLY like those styles). You only live life once, wear whatever makes you happy!
Personality style? Immature weirdo, I pretty much have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy. Life should never be TOO serious (there is a time and place for serious, of course)! But, you shouldn’t take life tooooo seriously! You never get out of it alive!
Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
I definitely consider them a serious art form. Skin as a canvas… they are PERMANENT. I mean, if the tattoo artist screws up he or she can’t just start over on a new canvas! I, personally, prefer large, put together pieces. I love traditional, too, though! And, well… any well done tattoo! I think that tattoos should only be as serious as you want them to be though (they are a personal choice, and without differences of opinions and ideas and ways of expressing yourself the world would be a REALLY boring place!)
How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
I feel like there are far too many people that believe they are “holier than thou”… I feel like there are a lot of people in the tattoo culture that judge people for only having a couple tattoos (similar to the way some people judge those WITH tattoos). This is the most ridiculous thing, EVER! Nobody should be judged for having tattoos (OR not having tattoos). It is a personal preference, and if you are going to judge someone based on this, I probably don’t want to know you! However, I LOVE that tattoos are becoming more acceptable in the world! It is almost rarer, I think, to find someone without a tattoo these days! I think that’s great! Decorate your temple! And don’t discriminate for the colors of my skin!
What has been your inspiration for getting them?
I love them, that’s pretty much it! Some of my tattoos have meanings behind them, some don’t! I just think it is an awesome way of spreading art throughout the world! Why not be a travelling art piece!
What’s your favorite piece?
Probably my chest piece! It’s hard to pick just one! It’s a Japanese Phoenix… It symbolizes love and fidelity! And, it turned out EXACTLY how I pictured it in my head. My tattoo artist is pretty great at doing that! If you all get a chance go check him out! His name is Dominic Vasquez.
Do you catch people staring at you because of your ink?
Yes, in both good and bad ways! I think my favorite thing, ever, is when people my parents or grandparents age compliment me on them. These are people that grew up in a time where they were NOT accepted at all. I LOVE to see open minded people. People that can just appreciate something for its beauty, and not care if it is “taboo” or not!
In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
I am not quite sure what this question is asking… I am SUPER happy and high on life after I get one! Overall, I am a pretty freaking happy person. I think that is one of my better qualities.
What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
My back piece is probably my most “significant” tattoo. It was my first REALLY big piece. I was soooo excited to be able to afford to get it (I had just gotten my first REALLY GOOD paying job). It is a koi (swimming upstream). I had just come from a place where I was having a really hard time (working a ton and still not able to make ends meet, I almost got evicted from my apartment TWICE from not being able to pay rent, I had just finished up my classes for my Bachelor’s degree). The koi swimming upstream symbolizes overcoming adversity. I had wanted this piece far before I knew the meaning. When I was finally able to get it, it was extra awesome because it actually meant something to me, too. It just kinda felt like a perfect ending to a rough time!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
Do your research!Check out a lot of different tattoo artists. Look at their portfolios. When you find the artist that fits YOUR STYLE perfectly, get tattooed by them. Make sure the style of tattoo they do matches the style you want. Make sure the way they color and shade the tattoo is the style you want. It is a bit like finding your significant other. You have to shift through a lot of mediocre people to find the one that fits perfectly.
Will you be getting anymore?
You know… I always said that I wouldn’t get a chest piece, or leg tattoos, etc… I never planned on getting anything lower than my elbow. The more I get tattooed, the more I see soooo many “blank” spots. So, the simple answer to that is YES!
What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
Gosh… I see inspiration all around me! My friends, my family, strangers. All their kind and powerful traits inspire me. What ultimately keeps me going is happiness and compassion, I think. The things that inspire me the most in life are seeing people making others happy and healthy, and witnessing people overcoming great adversity. These people inspire me. People that try to add positive things to the world, people that aren’t willing to quit, people that are driven.
What is one thing that life has taught you?
Life has taught me many valuable lessons. Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned are to stay positive (you never know whose life you are brightening/making better) and to LIVE life… never get caught up SO MUCH in something that you let it hold you back from enjoying life! Travel! Experience things that bring you out of your comfort zone! Laugh a lot!
Do you have a favorite quote?
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" - Albert Einstein.
"Mind-bottling, isn't it? Yeah. You know when things are so crazy, you get your thoughts trapped, like in a bottle." - Blades of Glory.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank you guys for asking me to do this! Also, remember to never cook bacon naked!
Javier Padilla - 1, 2, 10.
Jellyfish Jones - 3, 4.
Bad Bones Photography - 5, 6.
Dynamite Dames Photography - 7, 8.
Kat Attack Photography - 9.