Small tattoos, big tattoos, and everything in between — we’re here for it. In this series, we chat with budding and well-established tattoo artists about body art from around the world.
Portland-based tattoo artist Shannon Wolf
admits to having a thing for bright colors
. Retro roller skates in teal, a fishnet bodysuit in Living Coral
, and highlighter-yellow plantains are just some of the playful pieces she’s renowned for. Her style is a mix of line work and color blocking, inspired by the memories of childhood (think: cootie catchers, rocket pops, and 1970s Volvo station wagons).
Wolf’s work goes beyond ink — for her, it’s all about getting to know the clients and creating a safe space to explore designs, colors, and childhood relics. "I really love meeting people and getting to talk to them and hear their stories," says Wolf. "It's an absolute honor and privilege to share space with each one of them."
(the recently opened collective where she works) aims to be a welcoming, inclusive place for everyone, but especially marginalized communities. “I view tattooing as a healing art and I love that [ink] allows people to reclaim their bodies,” says Wolf. “A large portion of my clients are queer
, trans, or womyn, who are all much more likely to have endured abuse or dysmorphia, and tattooing can help them to feel more at home in their bodies.”
Wolf started with a few hand-poked tattoos
and has transformed into machine work over the years. People from all across the country have fallen in love with her unique style, command of hand-mixed colors, and inclusion of old-school scenery. Click through the slides ahead to see examples of her ink.
Major Heart Eyes
take between one to two hours and more intricate pieces could take up to four. Prices are based on their complexity and how long they take to draw the tattoo. However, she works on a sliding rate system and always asks clients what their budgets are so that she can stay well below their maximum. "I believe that tattoos should be for everyone, not only those who have a lot of disposable income,” she says.
If you can’t make it out to Portland, there’s still a chance you can get inked by Wolf. She has guest residencies scheduled in Nashville, Los Angeles, Oakland, Austin, Toronto, and Montreal before the end of the year, as well as plans for New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Australia in 2019.
Do you love these retro tattoos? Tell us @BritandCo!
All photos via Shannon Wolf
Illustrations by San Trieu