We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I think the work life balance has been and continues to be one of the most difficult parts of owning your own business and working in an artistic career. You want to give your all for your job, because it includes your passion, and it uses all of the wonderful artistic inspiration you have. Unfortunately, that also means that burnout, both with physical energy and with mental creativity, is a very real thing. For me, it comes at consistently paying attention to my energy levels, and being sure to plan ahead to match those. It has been a long road, as every change you make takes months to take effect and to be able to feel the change. Lots of shifting, lots of very long days and weeks, before the balance of clients, hours, and project complexities are found. It is difficult, with my personality, to say no to people, so I have definitely had to train myself to know my limits and not accept projects that do not inspire me. That way, everyone wins. When better balance is achieved, then more inspiration comes. The client gets a more unique and detailed piece, and I am able to revitalize and re-energize without massive mental crashes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am so lucky to have been able to get into watercolor tattoos as they became more popular and requested. As tattoos become more accepted, more research is able to be put into our equipment and supplies. When that happens, higher quality inks, machines, and needles let us as artists stretch the boundaries of what use to be acceptable and achievable. This allows me to do full watercolor tattoos without risking fading or blurring of the design. With smaller, more consistent and precise needles, I can be much for flexible with my linework, and be able to trust that they will retain their integrity and details. I am proud to be a female artist, and so happy that it is becoming more and more normal to see all walks and types of people in the tattoo world. It no longer needs to be excluding or demeaning. It can be a wonderful, welcoming, creative world where we treat people well, and get to create our art on a living canvas. I think that is my biggest push, is to truly have a space that feels clean, welcoming, and safe for everyone to be able to express themselves. I am so honored for all my clients, who trust me with their skin and allow me to specialize in my style of tattoo.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am so happy with the little town of Louisville, CO. Whether it is local food, shops, or art, the little downtown area is bright and inviting. I always tell my clients to pop by Sweet Cow to get some delicious ice cream, and get some dinner in the old town area. Being originally from Fort Collins, I would have to take them up to Horsetooth Rock and Horsetooth Reservoir, as it is a classic area with a great view, and a fun hike that is just challenging enough for beginners, but satisfying at the top. If it is snowy out, sledding is always a good decision, as long as it finishes with hot cocoa and a giant pile of blankets. If you are in for a truly spectacular time, skiing or snowboarding in Telluride is unreal. If it is sunny out, biking, walking, and hiking is so easy due to all the trails and bike lanes. If you are a small town, city, country, our nature lover, there really is something for everyone, and often it comes with a smiling face and a friendly greeting.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As cliche as it sounds, every artist is an inspiration to me. Whether it is on social media, in person, or through sound. There are pieces you can pick up and be inspired by bits of everything. For personal growth, business teaching, and life lessons, I absolutely have to shout out to my master artist Caleb at Heart and Skin tattoo studio. His dedication to creating a safe and comfortable space, as well as create the best art possible, is the only reason I am able to do what I do today. I also have to thank Shannon at All Sacred Edgewater tattoo. Growing as tattoo artists together, and being able to be supported in art as well as having a new perspective on life has been crucial. Of course, my family, especially my parents, were always supportive of alternative career paths, and taught me that hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude go a long way.