We had the good fortune of connecting with Peggy Des Jardines and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peggy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance is something I think about constantly and that informs my business practices more than anything else. Before I started tattooing full time, I would take any opportunity to do tattoos and was constantly drawing and doing research on top of the time I spent at my day job. I think that was necessary and worked well for me at the time, and up until shortly after opening Friendship Tattoo. But after working on tattooing semi-obsessively for a few years, I was very burnt out. I noticed that I resented how busy I was, which started to eclipse how grateful I am to be able to do the work I do, and that was a huge red flag. This reached an extreme after a few months of working during the pandemic, so I took a break to re-evaluate. I decided to transition from doing mostly custom tattoos to doing only flash (pre-drawn images that clients can choose from). I knew this would cut down on not only the amount of time I spent drawing, which would often be from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep, but also the time I spent communicating with clients about their ideas for custom pieces, which made up a huge amount of my daily work. It would also have the added benefit of giving me space to explore my own artistic ideas, something I no longer had time for. This felt like a big risk, and was a pretty huge shift, but it has turned out to be perfect for me. I want to tattoo for as long as I possibly can, so shifting to a system that feels sustainable has been paramount, and has changed so much about the way I work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Art has always been therapeutic for me, and a lot of what I draw is a product of a self-soothing process or a way for me to understand what I’m going through in my personal life or my internal world. It often takes on spiritual significance for that reason, and it feels so special that other people relate to it enough to want it on their bodies forever, or at least to hang it in their homes. The resulting imagery is often very simple, orderly, or silly, because looking at and feeling the chaos of the world and finding ways to reorganize it into something pleasing to look at feels powerful to me. My professional path has been long and difficult and winding. Sometimes I think I’ve only gotten to where I am because I’m very hard-headed and refuse to take no for an answer when I really want something. I’ve had to believe in myself a lot more than I believe in the limitations others may try to place on me, and to prioritize my deepest desires and ideals over simply following the way others operate.
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.
I would definitely prioritize taking them to a hot spring, hopefully one a few hours away so that we could do a lot of mountain driving. Other than that, I am a creature of habit, so I would take them to my usual spots (in a non-pandemic world): Hudson Hill, Amethyst, Sputnik, The Ethiopian Restaurant, Pon Pon, and hopefully a show at one of our fantastic small venues like Hi-Dive or the Bluebird. We would also do as much lounging in Cheesman Park as humanly possible.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be where I am today without the help of my business partner, Zoey Huynh. Their impressive drive and work ethic plays a huge role in our business running smoothly. I can always ask them for advice or a second opinion and know that they are in my corner, which is invaluable.