I love a good success story. I love to see people strive for their dreams regardless of how long it takes them. But I especially love seeing people express themselves in a creative way. For some people this presents itself as an enthusiasm for Irish dancing. Some get a kick out of a good old yodel. And others enjoy using people as their canvas. The latter is the case for Jess. Before you go thinking the worst, she isn’t a descendant of Hannibal Lecter…
Like any young girl, Jess had aspirations, but they weren’t the stereotypical ones, such as becoming a world-class ballerina or a famous popstar. She always knew she wanted to be a tattoo artist but felt as though the grade she got in art GCSE wouldn’t allow her to make the cut. Nevertheless, she took her chances and at the age of sixteen went into a local studio to ask for an apprenticeship. Being new to the industry, when Jess was told she could work as a general dog’s body for two years and if she was still interested, they would show her the ropes, she agreed without a second thought. She bought all the kit and began tattooing fake skin at the kitchen table. However, when she realised her eagerness had led her to work for a studio with a bad reputation, she left on the grounds that she didn’t want to be tarred with the same brush.
Due to several more knockbacks and a bruised self-confidence, Jess went to college and studied performing arts. Aware of how tough the industry is and knowing that it wasn’t her true passion, she opted for a more stable income. Having worked as a sales assistant and then as a carer, Jess put her inking ambition to bed., or so she thought.
After a seven-year break, another apprenticeship opportunity arose earlier this year, and Jess was over the moon to be given the chance to learn and progress. In between being the designated tea-girl and cleaner, she practiced her self-taught skills on fake skin. Although, a few months down the line, she felt as though she wasn’t able to reach her full potential in the studio. With a rediscovered determination to thrive, she abandoned ship in search for something more suited to her mission.
You know what they say…It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Through being in the industry, Jess made connections with artists working elsewhere who were willing to help her become a fully licensed tattooist. They also say the road to success is hard. Jess is currently juggling two other jobs alongside the apprenticeship, but she’s loving every minute.
“I have a goal that I’m going to be driving around in my Mercedes A-Class and wearing my Gucci Sliders! But the ultimate dream and motivation for it all is self-employment which will give me the freedom to travel the world…I love that people trust me to put art on their skin for life. It’s a total honour”.
To help Jess’ vision of being a Gucci-wearing, Mercedes-driving, travelling tattooist come to fruition, please follow her on Facebook; @jessieloutattoo and Instagram; @jessicalouiseart_ or contact Living Colour Tattoo Studio on 01522 512998.