“Tattooing is an ancient feminine art," says Ash Glynn, founder of Soul Tattoos, citing the ancient Egyptian priestesses who were among the first tattoo artists. She explains, "It only became masculine in our modern age."
It might feel strange to think of tattooing as being gendered, because so many women have tattoos. Yet parlors are often intimidating, male-dominated spaces, which can make getting a first tattoo an uncomfortable experience for lots of women. Of course, not all tattoo shops—or the men in them—are terrifying, but when it comes to putting permanent art on your skin, it's important to feel control over your own body and be unafraid to express exactly what you want. And this is something that can be easier to feel with a woman tattoo artist—specifically, one of the following five, whose work we adore and who are overturning tattoo stereotypes with their art-focused, delicate designs, raw talent, and desire to create a welcoming environment for their clients.
Learn more about them, below.
Jes Dwyer @nicejestattoos
While you might recognize Jes Dwyer's work from Lena Dunham’s Instagram, her intricate detail and gorgeous colorwork speak for themselves. She operates out of Nice Tattoo Parlor in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, a space she co-founded with Robert Boyle. It’s “the tattoo parlor where everybody is nice to you” and is staffed by an all-female team of talented artists, though this wasn’t totally intentional. However, Dwyer stands behind the choice, telling The New York Times, it leads to a space with “no egos, no intimidation." And considering that, as of 2012, more women in the U.S. have tattoos than men, it's about time the percentage of female tattoo artists reflected that dynamic.