A day in the life of a tattoo artist


Savannah Lyman, Review Staff

Feature photo by: Savannah Lyman- Rangeview students show off their first tattoos. Tattoo artist, Josh Deed, only does tattoos for ages 18+ with valid ID.

Many people have their own ways of expressing themselves. Some people illustrate who they are by the music they listen to or the outfits they wear. However, tattoo enthusiast, Josh Deed, expresses himself through the art of permanent ink.

Deed owns his own shop called “Workhorse Tattoo”. He began his tattoo career ten years ago when the shop, which he now owns, hired him solely off the reason that his drawings were ‘outstanding’.

Kelsey Nottingham shows off her most painful tattoo. Nottingham got this specific tattoo on her head due to having cancer. (Savannah Lyman)

“I just fell into it,” Deed said. “I was always sketching [and] my best friend talked me into [being a tattoo artist].”

Even though being a tattoo artist seems to be all fun and games, it is still a very unpredictable field. Deed describes the toughest part of his job as being unsure of how much money you can make in a day.

“Every day is different,” Deed said when asked about what his average day looks like. “[The hardest part of my job is] how unpredictable money can be.”

Numerous customers come in every day with a new tattoo for Deed to draw. The longest tattoo he has done lasted nine and a half hours.

Within the ten years Deed has been a tattoo artist, only two mistakes were made.

“I did a stick figure about the size of a palm. It had dreads holding a boombox and wearing smallest pair of air Jordans I have ever done, which was also the hardest tattoo I’ve ever done,” Deed said. “[One tattoo I am most proud of is] a wheat field I did for my wife.”

Trevor Champeno shows off his leg tattoos. Champeno describes his tattoos as his way to show his story. “My tattoos are defiantly cartoon like and goofy,” Champeno said. (Savannah Lyman)

If you are looking forward to getting your first tattoo, there are a few steps to prepare yourself.

“Wear comfortable clothing,” says Deed. “Make sure to eat before coming in so you won’t faint.”

When you are ready to experience your first tattoo, a typical appointment with Deed looks like this:

“First we sit down and figure out exactly what the tattoo will look like, then I stencil it on, pick out the colors, and begin tattooing,” Deed said. “After it is finished, I wrap it up, get my money, and send them on their way.”

When it comes to colors, Deed explains that black is the best color as it takes the longest to fade and pale colors are the hardest colors.

Deed has not only left his mark on his clients skin but also their hearts.

“I love Josh,” said recurring client Dawn Gibson. “He is so talented and I am always impressed with the work he does.”

Gibson describes her tattoos as authentic and meaningful.

Kelsey Nottingham shows off her finished tattoo. Nottingham loves getting tattoos in order to show off her personality. (Savannah Lyman)

“Tattoos are an expression of the soul, not one tattoo doesn’t have a meaning,” says Gibson.

Many of Deed’s clients explained the worst thing one can do when getting a tattoo is not researching the artist, not keeping it clean, etc.

“I feel like the biggest mistake that someone can do when getting tattooed is getting something misspelled or the wrong color,” says Trevor Champeno.

When Champeno was asked what his tattoos mean to him he agreed that it is his way of expressing who he is.

“Tattoos are a great way to describe yourself and show your views but some can be very rude and misleading so be smart about it when putting it on your skin for life,” said Champeno. “I do regret one tattoo and it’s actually my first tattoo; I just don’t like the way it looks anymore.”

On the other hand, client Kelsey Nottingham, states her tattoos are a way of expressing her likes and dislikes.

“I think tattoos help me express myself because they give me the opportunity to showcase my likes and dislikes or simply displays artwork that I like,” said Nottingham. “My favorite tattoo is probably the tattoo I have on my shoulder. It says ‘reality exists only in the human mind and nowhere else.’ It is a quote from one of my favorite books.”

No matter the many reasons why people get tattoos, Deed explains he was lucky to get a job in the tattoo industry.