Ink Defense interviewed Pro-Team Artist Meagan “Megz” Stevens, who is based Tehachapi, California.
ID: You started your career in tattooing in an unusual way. Tell us about it.
MS: I earned my bachelor’s degree in English and was working toward my master’s degree in Nursing. I had to do 1,000 hours of clinical work before I could even apply for the master’s program. After those 1,000 hours, I had a different perspective of the medical field than when I started. I found that I was losing my ability to empathize & sympathize with patients. It was an eye-opening experience that lead to a life-altering decision.
After a long discussion with my husband, he simply asked me, “what would you do instead?,” I quickly answered “be a tattoo artist!” I have enjoyed art for a long time; I knew how to draw before I could write my name. I found myself at a crossroads in my life, and I decided to do it – become a tattoo artist!
I looked at developing my tattoo career like going to college: I took classes and learned everything I could. I built clientele and got into a shop (Bosco’s in Tehachapi, California). It took off quickly. Now I enjoy guest spotting, continuing to learn from other artists, and expanding my clientele.
ID: What is your favorite style of tattooing?
MS: When I was a child, I saw a guy with Sebastian (from The Little Mermaid) on his shoulder. I was blown away. I carried that memory with me and found myself focusing on Disney art tattoos. Disney art tattoos are relatable for many people, it feels nostalgic and is something people can identify with. When people get Disney tattoos, they share how the movie impacted them and how they can relate to tattoo. The tattooing sessions are fun; it almost feels like being at Disneyland. While I do other styles, I like to do Disney because it makes everyone feel good.
I like the water-color technique of tattooing. There was a rise then fall in popularity, but I really like it. I learned from leading color artist Heather Maranda on technique and how to really saturate colors.
You can’t go into water color with a structured approach. I line the design. That is, I get a feel of where I think I want the watercolor to be placed. My clients have to have complete trust in me during this process. I think that’s why my bond with my clients is so strong. We take a leap together. Moreover, the colors I use are picked by my clients. It is always unique.
ID: What has been your most interesting/unique tattooing experience as an artist?
MS: At a convention, I chatted with a woman for a moment. She came back later and asked to get a tattoo. I suggested that she look at some of the designs; she had a design in mind, BB8, but she emphasized it wasn’t so much about the design, she just wanted me to tattoo her. She said that how I approached her and talked with her made the difference. It made her feel comfortable. It meant a lot to me that I made her happy.
I want people to walk away with an awesome tattoo and feel great about the experience. I want to have genuine relationships with my clients; people should be happy to be there and talk and share during the session. Often as tattoo artists we are therapists too.
ID: Being a guest artist and doing tattoo conventions are a way to expand your business and reach more people. Tell us how you make it work for you.
MS: Guest Spotting – this is one-way for artists to expand their reach. First it is important to find a shop where you can fit the dynamic of the shop and its resident artists. With a guest spot, you can meet like-minded artists. They tend to share about many things; equipment, aftercare, art styles. You can get new ideas and learn! You can network and broaden your clientele. It is a good business practice.
Tattoo Conventions – Convention energy is super exciting! It is like doing a Friday, the 13th, but for 3 or more solid days. You work hard, make money, and get your name out there. You work the entire time; I mean work hard. My skills improve every time because of the intense focus. It is a great experience.
ID: Women are coming into the tattoo artistry field more than ever before. Tell us about your experience as a woman artist in the industry.
MS: Back in the early 2000s, Women artists were few and far between. I made it a point to get tattooed by a female for my first tattoo! Then things started to evolve particularly with shows like L.A Ink. In my experience, some guys seem to act tougher when dealing with women, while other guys think it is cool and sexy to be tattooed by a woman. I think, now, women are finally getting more recognition for their talent rather than being looked at as a novelty for a tattoo shop. Women in this industry are amazingly talented! I recommend to any woman artist, particularly new artists, to not let anything beat you up. You need to develop a thick skin and move forward. Always, focus on making your art better and making your client feel like family.
ID: Why is Ink Defense important for you and your customers?
MS: Honestly, I tried Ink Defense without knowing anything about it or the company. And I tried it on myself!. The absorption and the smell from the lavender essential oil is so important. I have noticed, especially with people with super sensitive skin, it really helps calm the skin down so quickly. For one customer, the swelling was gone in 10 minutes. I love it… and it does the job!
Meagan “Megz” Stevens is based in southern California where he lives with her husband and her son. She has 3 dogs: Easton, an English bulldog; Dodger, a French bulldog; and Dude, a pit bull. When she isn’t tattooing and enjoying time with her family, she does photography and fresh flower arranging.