It's a safe assumption to say that the tattoo industry offers a fairly male-driven career path. When you think of a tattoo artist, you may think of a burly gruff man ready to inflict pain with a needle. With the rising popularity of tattooing, that stereotype has been blown away, giving way to women making a name for themselves in the industry of tattooing. Popular artists like Kat Von D have created empires for themselves based on their tattooing and are giving a new way of thinking that women can have their place in a male-dominated industry.
Lock Haven artist Brittany Brown-Sines is one of the females in the area that has been trying to break that mold, recently opening her own tattoo shop on 212 N. Vesper St., Lock Haven. Pinch-N-Poke Tattoo Studio has been open since January of this year and Brown-Sines has been tattooing for five years now. Before owning her studio, she freelanced in the area.
"When I got out of the army, I got my first tattoo. I decided it was something I wanted to learn how to do," she said. "I love art and I love making people happy."
Shown is tattoo artist Brittany Brown-Sines, who recently opened her own tattoo studio, Pinch ‘N’ Poke Tattoo Studio, 212 N. Vesper St., Lock Haven.
Shown is a cover-up Brown-Sines performed on a client. She taught herself to tattoo through research, instructional materials and practice.
With determination, Brown-Sines researched the art of tattooing, purchasing reference books and instructional DVDs.
"I basically did an entire apprenticeship, but without another person," she said. She also utilized her friends, practicing with different designs.
Being a female, Brown-Sines wanted to project a strong businesswoman model, starting with the logo for her shop. Modeled after Rosie the Riveter, she said that describes the mantra that she has with her business and career.
"I think it's great that women are owning businesses and I am proud to be a woman business owner," she said. With a change of the hair color to represent her red-haired wife, the logo proudly shows a strong arm of a woman full of tattoos.
As an artist, Brown-Sines has found that her female clients also feel more comfortable being tattooed by another woman, something she is glad she can offer her customers.
"I don't have a strong male clientel, but woman do say they feel more comfortable being tattooed by another woman," she said.
With an influx of recycled images for tattoo inspiration found online, Brown-Sines likes to help her clients have a unique spin on something that may have been done before.
"A lot of people have copycat tattoos, so I try to make it unique and individual. For instance, someone says they want a skull, I ask them to get more specific, with colors, direction," Brown-Sines said.
Brown-Sines has tattooed many images, but finds that there's a story behind every tattoo.
"Mostly tattoos are a story, they are representations of moments in life. And I like listening to those stories," she said. She finds stories of parents supporting their children with tattoos, such as autism awareness.
As a business owner and artist, Brown-Sines makes herself aware of things that she could change, always listening to clients' concerns.
"I always want to make my place better," she said. She also wants to give customers what they ask for, noting that some artists change designs because they want to and she feels that some artists take advantage of the trust that clients have in their artists.
Brown-Sines has also seen a new clientel come out of the woodworks: an older generation.
"Older people have been getting work done, and not just little pieces. I think they think, 'Well, I've thought about this for a while.' And they go for it," she said.
She also uses the creativity to keep her mind off the physical restraints of tattooing; being hunched over for hours takes a toll on the tattooer's body. "It is physically exhausting, but it's also mentally exhausting. It's hard work to draw perfectly for hours at a time," she said.
For more information on Pinch-N-Poke Tattoo Studio and to see more examples of Brown-Sines work, visit www.facebook.com/pinchnpoketattoo.
Wiegand is a lifestyle-entertainment reporter. "blINK" features a different local tattoo artist on the last Thursday of each month. For more information, contact the Showcase department at 570-326-1551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.