If you’re a neon lover
who likes to leave it all out on the dance floor, prepare to get weird with Portland-based tattoo
artist Kayla Newell’s
work. While her designs boast a fun, retro vibe of their own, it’s the fact that they glow under black lights that makes them so head-turning.
With a background in art history and an obsession with bright ‘80s-inspired colors, Newell’s progression from painting to tattooing was a no-brainer. "I started out hand-poking
myself with a sewing needle taped to a pencil and India ink," says Newell. It wasn't until she started tattooing herself more regularly and got offered a full-time job at a studio that she stumbled across black light ink. One thing led to another, and her signature color-changing style was born.
"Black light tattoos aren't [that much] different than any other color tattoo," says Newell. She explains that the main difference is the pigment, which, like white ink, can be tricky to use. "Aside from that, you just have to apply the colors in careful order,” she explains. “Any amount of black ink, even just a splatter in a neon line will discolor it and ruin its ability to glow under the light." All too aware of how quickly these masterpieces can get messed up, Newell takes the time to be precise, with line work in black, hot pink, and lime green showing up in almost all of her pieces — some of which you can see in the slides ahead.
Zest for Life
Palo Santo + Plants
I See You
Moth to a Flame
"I love being able to meet someone and make them feel better and even make them happier by just sharing my work," says Newell. She is currently tattooing at Secret Club Tattoo
If you're interested in getting a glow-in-the-dark tat, she charges $140 per hour for custom designs (most of which take between one to two hours) and less for pre-drawn flash options. While she largely resides on the West Coast, she has travel planned to New York and Chicago in 2019.
Do you love these glow-in-the-dark tattoos? Tell us @BritandCo!
All photos via Kayla Newell