MAJOR UPDATE: Tattooing has truly taken me down a winding journey. There have been highs and lows since I dove down the rabbit hole of this once new world a year ago in 2022.
A year never sounds like a long time on paper, 365 days is only a blip on the life of the average man. But within a year so much can change, and for me it has. I’m still in love with tattooing, this craft, this practice has taught me so much over the past year. That level of trust when a client sits in your chair, and that beaming joy once they leave it is nothing if not a sort of magic in its own right. I’m grateful for every person that has come my way and given me the uplifting joy of knowing them so well, whether it be for years or just a brief moment in time. I’m still lucky enough to have a kind and loving partner that has been my support and clarity as I walk down this path. They’ve given me understanding and patience in the face of frustration and disappointment. They really have believed in me this entire time even when I’ve had trouble believing in myself, and for that love and understanding I am forever grateful. I have the most amazing friendships with some of the most special people I have ever known, in person, online, or otherwise. Their insight, knowledge, passion, optimism, kindness, and supportive vision have given me more than I could ever convey. I hope the gratitude I have expressed has been enough to tell these folks how special they really are to me. I wish I could spend this update listing all of the great people and their wonderful qualities that I’m blessed to be surrounded by, but with highs and happiness there are low points that must be acknowledged. As an artist I can definitely say that when you’re bringing anything to life the end result may not look at all like you planned for it to, and I’ve found for the same to be true in life. Through trial and error you can often find the wisdom, vision, and intent you thought you saw in certain people wasn’t as well intentioned as you once thought it to be.
Through all of my amazing relationships, I’ve unfortunately experienced a few that let me down entirely. It’s never easy to find out someone you had hoped cared for you or for the goals you thought you could achieve together had been harboring resentment. Or even worse still secrets and actions that could sabatoge everything you worked so hard to build a foundation for. In 2022 and early 2023 I’ve set boundaries. Boundaries aren’t easy for some of us, it can be difficult to stand your ground when you’ve grown up assuming that face value is the only value to take from most people.
But in meeting and moving on from so many people throughout my life, especially last year and even in this one too, I’ve been given support moniterity and emotionally and otherwise by so many people to build this new life and new business in a way that would ensure it stands upright. That every action and association to create this studio was and will be correct in any and everyway it should be.
After reflecting, investigating, reviewing documents, and having hard conversations I learned that I was the only one to work to ensure things would be done the right way. It was a turn I hadn’t seen coming, and my next steps took a lot of planning to figure out the right way to move forward. I won’t pretend I wasn’t upset, that I didn’t feel betrayed, that their immediate petty reaction and all that they did to me before and since hadn’t made me feel so exhausted. With all I learn over time, it’s never easy to find out someone you almost considered a friend had intentions to discard you and throw you under the bus as soon as they could from the moment you first met. And with all of the experiences I had last year, it’s not easy to find out however many times I have. Somewhere in the middle of all this chaos reigning down, a dear friend of mine, one of the most wise and emotionally intelligent people I have ever known, said to me “Despite all of these experiences, I hope you don’t lose faith in other people”. I couldn’t confidently say I had, at first. And I had to ground myself in all of the goodness that has been shown to me. From simple gestures like a stranger buying me a coffee, or much bigger leaps of faith I’m able to make with passionate people that appear in the face of being able to seperate from someone that was revealed to be conniving from the beginning. Or even grander still, the grace and care I was taught as a sickly child by the Grandmother, Great Aunt, and Great Uncle that nursed me to better health than before with the last years they had. After all of this love, how could I give up? Give up on the business, or give up on making others feel as safe and cared for as I have been? So many people have believed that I’ll be able to create, and no one can stop me after so many have given me so much to keep pushing forward. So I will keep tattooing, I will keep building this studio up, I will keep building this space and using my time and energy to spread kindness and support. Even if I had to do it alone I would. But I’m lucky enough not to. Along with my partner who has spent so much energy along side me, and all of my friends that have given me their emotional and financial support to ease the transition I make into managing this studio on my own; I’m lucky enough to have met a Queer Black artist that is excited to move forward with me. I’m so excited to present New Night Tattoo Studio as a Queer Black Femme owned space, and to get a chance to bring so many people looking for a soothing, one of a kind artistic experience into my second home and to travel across the world working from a truly new and fresh focus. Thank you to everyone supporting my tattooing journey, I wouldn’t be hear without all of you generous people.
My name is Alex and I’m an animator and comic artist turned tattoo artist. I’ve been in love with storytelling from a young age. From first learning to draw to tell my Grandmother magical tales I would come up with, to creating indie comics in college in Tokyo, to studying animation in Vancouver BC, to the artist alleys and zines of Portland, and now back to my hometown of Chicago.
As much as I’ve been lucky enough to learn and experience while creating in all of these places, I knew that when I came back to Chicago I’d be shifting my focus. In all that I loved in creating my stories and bringing them to life with comics and animation, there was always a distance that felt built into the work I was doing. While looking for some way to actively create and connect with the people that became my community, the people that ensured I was able to express my creativity I kept circling back to tattooing.
I’ve always loved the art of tattooing, seeing what people chose to carry as a way to express their experiences, that lasts forever. I’ve been tattooing throughout the year, and I’m planning on opening a private studio space with another tattoo artist.
The funds raised here would contribute to the start up costs for renting the space, registering the studio with the state, and to prepare the space for the health inspection. The Co-Founder and I have stocked up on most of the supplies needed to continue to tattoo clients in the most safe and caring way we possibly can. I’m reaching out for aid from the community as a Disabled Queer Black artist working to build a space to contribute as much as I can artistically and otherwise to support the clients I am lucky enough to tattoo.