The 5th of February marks a very big day for me, one which I feel compelled to reflect upon and share about. Ten years ago today was my first day on the job at STR Body Modifications in Wyong, NSW, working as the counter girl. That day at 20 years old, changed the course of my life forever.
From the very beginning I was told that this was not an apprenticeship and wasn’t to become one, but I was so chuffed to be involved that I didn’t care! My foot was in the door and I was determined to make sure that Shannon never felt he’d wasted his time giving me this job. I drew before work, at work and after work, I stayed back for hours to yap their ears off, trying to soak up as much as I could. I was so very proud to work there, and proud that he was willing to spend so much of his time sharing his knowledge and teaching me things. What an honour. A few months later I did my first tattoo and began my apprenticeship under my mentor Shannon Richmond. I can’t believe it’s been a decade.
Here I am now, 10 years on, having worked in amazing shops and not so amazing shops, having had such a diverse range of experiences and interactions with people, today I find myself still in search of a space around people I know are out there somewhere. A space that is honest, not afraid to work hard and tell the hard truths. A space where everyone has their own personal desire to move forward and grow, where they function as a collective and are proud of where they work and what they do.
Upon reflection, my apprenticeship days were some of the best of my life. I am very fortunate to have had such a brilliant start in the industry and I appreciate every day that my beginning set for me a very high standard of space and work ethics.
Thank you to Shannon Richmond at STR Tattoo & Art Studio , to all the people who generously donated body parts for me to practice on in the early days, to every client who has come to me for a tattoo throughout my career and around the country. To all the shops I’ve worked in and tattooers I’ve worked alongside and met along the way, to all the people who have liked and commented on my work, for all the encouragement, support and all the hard lessons learned, I am grateful for it all, and for you all.
(pictured is me doing my first tattoo ever)