We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessie Campolo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessie, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
When talking to others about what I do one of the first responses I often receive is ” you can do whatever you want. I bet you enjoy getting to set your own schedule and have the time off you choose. To travel and see so many places because of your work” My response is always a small giggle and a brief “I am beyond grateful for this career” because unbeknownst to them this is far from the reality of the schedule I live. Running 2 personal businesses is more than a full time job. I have worked many days I did not want too. I have sacrificed many moments with my 3 children and family to be the successful artist and business owner I am continuing to strive for.
When I first began my career path as a tattoo artist a fellow tattooer once told me this career will take your life. I did not fully comprehend what this ment until a few years into my path of becoming a tattoo artist. I now know what they spoke of. It is a full time dedication of self and job. I tattoo up to 60 hours a week at my shop this time only encompass the tattoo procedure process. I spend on average 25 hrs a week preparing for the tattoos drawing and rendering. I cannot function in this career without spending the time communicating with clients they are a big part of this process. I handle communication through emails this takes a few hours twice a week. This 80 hrs plus is just the time spent on my tattoo career not included is all the time it takes to support the shop I own in the background of this busy schedule.
I love the career I was so lucky to find myself being a part of. I am grateful for the people that have opened a private part of their lives to me and trust in my art to help them overcome, celebrate, commemorate, or love their body’s. It truly is a sacred art to permanently mark someone. I am proud to be a good roll model for many young women including my own girls. This outweighs the long days and hard work to know that these beautiful souls that come to me personally see the love,passion, and hard work I put into every one of their pieces.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I always remember being a child with a crayon in their hand. I never shied away from getting covered in paints as a toddler. My diet as a youngster from what I have been told consisted of marroon and indigo crayola products. Its always been a creative and messy existence for me.

However my tattooing career did not start with such exciting ingestion of colors. I had been working in bars most of my working life prior to tattoo. I felt insignificant and unfulfilled most days. I was a young mother of 2 one of which was less than a year old when an offer came to me that would forever change my life.
A small shop in Colorado offered me a chance to come sit in with them and teach me the art of tattoo. Prior to this I had never even considered this as something I wanted to pursue. I graciously told them I didn’t think I could take them up on this offer i needed to work and didn’t think i had the skills or support to learn permanent skin art. They kindly told me just to stop by and any time I was near by to come learn. I chose to spend the few months prior to moving stopping by the shop and soaking up what I could in my few free moments. I went through a separation during this time and needed to move. I found myself heading to Albuquerque NM where a shop owner had opened his doors to me to continue my tattooing education.

My apprenticeship was exhausting, humiliating, humbling, and stressful. Not to mention unpaid. I worked full time at the shop running the front cleaning and trying to learn. The 2 days off a week from the shop I bartended all day in order to barely make enough to keep my rent paid. My 2 children had to spend most days during these first 2 years with me at the bar or all night at the shop it was hard for them but they showed me nothing but support and love. However the sun did start to rise slowly. Every month I could see my work improve and so did other as I quickly began to book more and more appointments. I put my soul into my art and my heart into the quality of my efforts and it showed. I knew I couldn’t fail I had to make it for a better future for me and my children. One which I could comfortably support us financially and that brought joy. 3 months I began getting to take walk ins which ment I got paid (not much but it was a start) by 6 months I had return clients and received recommendations from others. One year into my apprenticeship I finally could take one day off a week from bartending! Then very quickly I only had to bartend 2 days a month then none as my tattooing career began to blossom by my 2nd year.

I very quickly became know for my detailed color work. I had a natural eye for it. In my first 2 years of tattooing this unique work won me multiple awards for my healed tattoos and even at 2.5yrs got me onto Paramount Networks Ink Masters Angel’s where I competed against amazing artists.

Now 7 yrs from the beginning of this journey I own my own shop and am blessed to choose the work I do. My clients are amazing and dedicate so much time and trust in my chair. My 2 oldest children spend days off from school making art with me at our shop in the pursuit of one day following in my footsteps as a tattoo artist. I am now married and welcomed my 3rd child into this amazing world recently. All while still working more than most yet I still find time to spend with those who matter most to me.

I want anyone women, man, father, mother, single or married to know at any point in your life something can change. It can change for the better it can be beautiful. I hope you pursue these opportunities with your heart and soul if you do you are bound to succeed. It will never be easy so work through it. I cried more times than I can count. I was scared and vulnerable in more moments than I ever wanted to be. Keep humble and always open to learning. This gave me the mindset to succeed.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
New Mexico has an abundance of unique and beautiful activities in every direction. Depending on the weather the choice is yours! In the warmer Summer time we would go hiking in Jemez springs its stunning with waterfalls, rivers, and to many natural hot springs to count. Bring our OHVs and spending hours on all the mountains riding trails in the area.
Next head over to Santa fe for a day filled with history and art. Not to mention MeowWolf an extremely fun and unique interactive experience. During the summer countless hiking trails to hidden lakes. Then winter spend the day at Sant Fe Ski snowboard and after going to the hot springs just below to relax soar muscles.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My biggest support and reason for my drive to succeed is my children. I was a single mother of 2 young children when I first began this journey. Now my beautiful family has grown with my husband and the youngest who have only given me unconditional love and support to continue to grow. I give thanks to so many other Artist that have helped me along the way and opened there doors to me.
My clients from the first to my future you have trusted in me and that trust is forever remembered.
Thank you all

Website: Goldenneedletattoostudios.com

Instagram: @jessiectattoo @golden_needle_tattoo_studio

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