We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsty York and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kirsty, how does your business help the community?
Lets face it, as a young female walking into your average tattoo shop can be a bit intimidating. And honestly not all tattoo artists are the nicest of people. This is a part of that tattoo industry that really needs to change. When opening my own shop I wanted to create a more welcoming environment that all members of the community felt welcomed in. I have had many clients, who are female, LBGTQ, and others, comment on how my shop is the first they have felt comfortable in. I also try to hold as many community events as possible, Tattoo flash events are a great way to raise money and awareness.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think the biggest thing that sets both me and my team of artists apart form other tattoo artist is a strong art background and training. Believe it or not but most tattoo artists, have no artistic training. A lot of artists believe that all you need to know how to do is trace the design a client brings you, or trace a design out f a flash book. A lot of them can not actually draw. As of recently this has started to change, we are almost in the middle of a movement of traditionally trained artists now becoming tattoo artists. Tattoos are starting to become a higher form of artwork. I have an art school background, where I was studding illustration. I bring what i learned in art school into my tattoos, anatomy, composition, color theory. I believe this is what sets myself and the other artists in my shop apart from other tattoo artists. Getting to where I am now professionally was not easy. I started off in lesser known tattoo shops, working under not the nicest of people. I worked crazy hours being in the tattoo shop from noon to midnight, tattooing anyone that walked though the door. I worked hard on not just improving my technical tattoo skills, but improving my artwork as well. The better my artwork got, the more I was starting to get recognized, and I eventually was able to leave those shops and open my own. I believe it was my artwork that pulled me out of that situation. If my artwork and tattoo skills would have never improved, would would have never moved up in the tattoo industry.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start close to home, show them my own shop is they haven’t seen it yet – Blackbird Ink Tattoo Shop Lafayette Co. 5 minutes from my shop is the main street in Louisville Co It is a great street with lots of restaurants, shops, and even live music in the summer and Ice skating in the winter. Some of my favorite places there are: – Smart Cow Ice cream Shop Louisville Co – Huckleberries restaurant Louisville Co I love all museums, the Denver zoo and the butterfly pavilion in Westminster Co. I love looking at art and there are a tun of amazing murals in downtown Denver! You can see one of my own murals on the side of the Champa Store, which is a super cute coffee/flower shop.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly I got to where I am mostly thanks to myself, I wasn’t lucky enough to have a great mentor, I am mostly self taught when it comes to both art skills and running a business. That being said my family and friends have been extremely supportive of me in this journey and having them in both the ups and downs of being a business owner is more then I could ask for. Two of my biggest supports are my amazing boyfriend and photographer Taylor Hood @taylorhoodphotography on instagram and my friend and fellow tattoo artist Destiny Humrich @destinyillustration in instagram.
Instagram: Instagram.com/blackbirdinktattoo and Instagram.com/yorkietats
Photo Credit: Mia Griggs