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

Hi Katie, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
There isn’t a one size fits all style for parenting because there isn’t just one kind of kiddo or situation. However, there are universal teachings to children that are the most important in my opinion, which are respect and empathy. Teaching my two daughters the many different ways of respect and the importance of empathy is what I feel has had the most impact on them. As toddlers, I taught them to respect belongings i.e. don’t throw/break your toys, don’t draw on furniture, etc. We can’t just go buy another one, we need to make our belongings last as long as possible and fix them if we can, not just trash them. Then it was teaching them to respect themselves and try to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes, which is a big one, and that lesson is never over, no matter their age. And of course, the extreme importance of respecting and empathizing with others. Leading by example is the easiest and most effective way to parent for me personally. Seeing how I respect and empathize with people/situations has been a great learning experience for my daughters. Having open conversations with adults in front of my daughters about differences in faith, beliefs, or politics is something I’m glad I’ve always done. They are learning that we can educate, learn, disagree, and still treat others with respect and do our best to empathize and show love. They also learn to navigate what they feel inside themselves and how to stay true and respect their own personal values. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Some people have the exact idea or plan for their next 5 or 10 years. I’ve never been that person. Maybe it was giving back a 4 year scholarship at the last minute and decide college wasn’t for me. Maybe it was getting pregnant at 20 and loving my daughter more than life itself before I could even legally drink. Whatever the reason, the one thing I’ve always known was that hard work was in my future no matter what. Raising a baby in a tattoo shop has given me some of my favorite memories of struggle and love. My coworkers were not baby-savvy whatsoever, minus one guy. Imagine this: 6 tattoo artists ranging from big biker sized dudes to a 6 and a half foot tall rockabilly guy, from a wide-eyed terrified 19 year old to 2 people who hadn’t even held a baby before, this was my nanny crew! Watching these friends feed my kiddo apple sauce or helping her play with toys while I did a nostril piercing made the challenge of being a single mom not so scary anymore. No path to adulthood or becoming a professional is easy, but having a few great friends sure made those bumps and detours much less daunting.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Even though I was born and raised in beautiful Colorado, there is so much of this state that I haven’t seen. If I had a whole week to spend exploring, it’d definitely include starting in in the south east corner of the state, my hometown of Rocky Ford. Growing up, there were spots that my friends and I had to sneak off to when we wanted to smoke, or drink, or make out, or all the other things we probably shouldn’t have been doing at the time. From there, we’d head west to Pueblo and grab food from my two favorite places, Taco Stop on E. 4th St. and Do Drop In for my favorite pizza of all time! Now that we’re fed, let’s hop onto highway 160 to gaze at the majestic views as we drive over Wolf Creek Pass. Over the continental divide we go, seeing a land filled with the San Juan and Rocky mountains, aspen groves, pines, flower fields, and an abundance of wildlife. These views literally bring tears to my eyes every single time! In this area of Colorado I also love stopping at the Great Sand Dunes just north of Alamosa. You can be on a mountain of sand while simultaneously looking at a snow covered mountaintop. It is gorgeous! On our way north, we’d have to stop and see Bishop’s Castle, Garden of the Gods, and some high altitude lakes for fishing. There’s nothing like being at 11,000 feet with the sunrise on your face and a fishing line in the water.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There is a laundry list of folks to name when I think about how I got to where I am today. I would have never made it into this industry had my boy, Mike, in 2002 not gifted me a tattoo. By getting me into that tattoo shop chair, I made fast friends with tattoo artist Chris Henry, who gave me the job application which got me hired in that tattoo shop…good ol’ Tainted Hearts. Many years of working at this shop gave me the friends, experiences, and artistic support to trust myself and push further. Watching Mez Love tattoo portraits on my leg over many, many years was like a lesson in itself. She kept getting better, and I was watching how her tattooing was evolving– I was certainly taking notes! I didn’t realize that tattoo art didn’t just have to be the flash you see on the wall of a tattoo shop, a traditional style design, or a replica of the photo a client brought in. That was until I watched Deanna Wardin design the most off the wall looking tattoos I’d ever seen at this point! She made me feel like all the weird shit going on inside my head could actually make a neat tattoo. And when I struggled to make a design work, these three friends never made me feel dumb for asking for help. As an established tattoo artist now, many of you would think that it’s all easy…just another tattoo to draw, right? Wrong! To this day, I still second guess myself and worry that the client isn’t going to go for my weird style, or that I’m not going to have the design done in time. So when I fly off the wall in my own head, there to talk me down is Charles. For years and years he has reminded me that I work great under pressure and gives me the confidence I easily lose. I’m forever grateful for the honest critiquing, help, love, and encouragement from these rad humans!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katie.g.z/
Other: https://www.fallenowltattoo.com/katie-grinstead

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