Today's feature is that of a local gal that has crossed boarders! Though she now tattoos out of Troy, Michigan, she is a local Leamington artist who got started right here in our own backyard! For as long as I have known her, Melise has been wonderfully talented and her (pre pandemic) waitlist proves it! I'm so happy to be featuring her because her talent deserves to be showcased! Here is what Melise told us:
Tell us about your business and why you decided to open.
My path towards tattooing started with a Fine Arts background, focused on oil painting. After finishing school, I was unsure what I wanted to do, so I enrolled in a Special Effects Makeup post-grad program at Sheridan in Oakville. It was while spending time in Toronto that I started seriously considering tattooing as a career. I began tattooing in late 2012, doing an apprenticeship under Kris Kani in Leamington. I moved to Detroit in 2015, where I started working at Ironclad Tattoo Co. in Troy. I work primarily in the style of neo-traditional, which is a modern take on traditional tattooing, using a broader colour palette and more diverse subject matter. The style often leans towards illustrative.
What business was like before COVID-19?
Business was busy! Life was always moving at a very fast pace. Just before the shutdown, convention season had started, so I had a lot of travelling planned for the year. I generally book six months out at a time, so I have to plan which trips I'm going to make well in advance. I like to do 4-5 conventions a year, and a couple guest spots, so life can seem a little crazy at times.
What has business been like since the outbreak of COVID-19?
Business has come to a complete halt. My last day of work was March 14th, and at this point, I don't know when we'll be going back! I can't do any tattooing during this period, which is not only difficult financially, but I really miss it! I'm lucky to have a job that I love; where I get excited about what I'm working on every day, so not being able to do that is tough. But aside from really missing tattooing, being forced to slow down has been really nice. I have the opportunity to do some painting, which isn't something I really give myself time for normally.
How will this impact your business long term? I guess that's something I'm going to find out! So far, my clients have been super supportive. I still have appointments booked out through the fall, so I guess it'll just be back to business as usual for me. I expect that booking may slow down after since so many people have taken the same financial hit. But I guess we'll see!
How can people help to support you?
I've been periodically posting things for sale on my Instagram. Paintings, tshirts, prints, commissions. I've been overwhelmed by the response from people wanting to help out! It's definitely nice to see that people are there for each other during all of this.