I’m Noa, 40 years old and mother of two, a tattoo artist working in Israel, where the tattoo industry went popular only in the early 90’s.
I finished my military service in 1997, I was 20 at the time and I went straight to get my first tattoo. I had my own original design with me, and a mysterious and mischievous looking girl tattooed it on me. I was completely fascinated by her. She looked so confident and powerful. I had been drawing since early childhood but never did it cross my mind to pursue art as a career.
During my tattoo, I overheard a conversation between the shop owner and another tattoo artist who worked in the shop. They were discussing taking on an apprentice.
So they teach.
I got the apprenticeship. It was 1997. I had to make needles, tons of needles. Clean and sterilize tubes, tips and grips. Clean. More Clean. Color flash sheets. Make stencils (there were no printers, just a xerox machine in some other shop nearby), never talk to customers.
Then my mentor presented me with pig skin and a Micky Sharpz coil machine. The skin was gross and smelly and still had hair on it, but the excitement of holding the machine and actually making lines with the needles I had made overcame everything.
A few months later my mentor said he was travelling to India for a year.
He said he was very happy with my progress as was the shop owner and offered me to replace him while he was gone!
Back then there was no internet so people would pick their designs out of flash sheets or bring in their own. Rarely would we draw them ourselves; there was no time, it was hectic. I’d do 6-10 tattoos a day.
2 years later I traveled to India myself.
I opened up a shop in Goa, the hippie haven, and with another guy who was a piercer – we worked like mad. No flash sheets, no xerox. Just my own designs. It was heaven. 4 years later, I came back to Israel. The tattoo industry had grown impressively but had gone sour. There was no “us” anymore (we used to be 15-20 tattoo artists in the entire country, now there were heaps), and every shop was badmouthing all the others. The competition was too aggressive so I curled up and worked from home. I’d do like one tattoo a month, friends only, and not for money. I went to work in the film industry as a set designer and it took me nearly 10 years to realize I still want to tattoo. I can’t let it go.
This is around 2013. Now I had internet, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, websites, webinars, tutorials, forums! it was like a whole new world. And the equipment… OMG those ready made needles, those rotary machines, the endless colors and what the big artists were doing with them! and you could order all of it online! an absolute Renaissance for the industry, just in time for mine.
So it’s 2017 now, I still feel like an apprentice, but I have a different perspective now. I have my own studio and I pick my clients carefully. I’ve created this website to find people who are on their way to becoming an amazing tattoo artist, are always hungry to learn more, and are willing to share their winding road. LET’S GET BETTER TOGETHER.
I’m looking forward to get to know you! come say hi in the comments, and follow me on Instagram @inkycaptattoos
Love & Ink,