Artist: Esther Mulders
Specialty: Tattoo Artist
MERAKI: When did you know you had a passion for it?
In my young adult years I had a lot of friends who were getting tattooed, and that really opened my eyes to such a wide range of different artists and styles. I became more and more interested in the craft as the years passed by. I’ve been a visual artist ever since I can remember, and it became something I could see myself doing.
MERAKI: What schooling did you do?
I was an avid drawer and painter in high school, and so I went on to study fine art for 3 years at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. It was there that I started to get tattooed, and realize that it was the path that I wanted to follow.
From there I started working on a portfolio to showcase my various skills at painting and drawing, and I searched for an apprenticeship. You cannot go to a “school” to become a tattoo artist.
I was living in Toronto while working on my portfolio, when I had the opportunity to start a tattoo apprenticeship in Montreal, Quebec. An apprenticeship is basically learning the craft under one specific person, one on one. In the beginning it’s a lot of listening and watching, cleaning, learning proper sterilization and cross contamination prevention.
MERAKI: Where do you see your career in the future?
I could definitely see myself opening my own studio in the future, or tattooing somewhere else. I’d also love to travel, do conventions and guest-spots.
MERAKI: Where do you get your inspirations?
I love traditional tattoos. I love that they are timeless, and translate well into the skin. They are built to stand the test of time, and are boldly outlined to handle the natural way the skin ages. I also love the way the old one’s look, I just love the history of it. The way that people used to (and still do) go into a shop and just pick something off of a wall. Tattoos don’t have to have meaning, I don’t think they have to be taken seriously. Yes they are permanent, but is anything, really?
I like to take classic tattoo flash and make it into something inspired by the original. That way I can pay homage to the tradition, but build my own version of it.
MERAKI: When you’re not working, what are some of your favourite things to do?
When I’m not tattooing, I enjoy painting and drawing. I also sing in a band called Mundy’s Bay. (www.mundysbay.com). A lot of my time off is spent practicing, playing shows, and travelling with the band.
MERAKI: Pros about your profession?
There are so many pro’s about my career I wouldn’t even know where to start, so I’ll just list them:
-Meeting new people on a daily basis
-The ability to pick your own schedule, build a clientele
-You can literally work anywhere in the world
-Freedom of self expression
-You’re your own boss
-You become way more confident in yourself as a tattooer and life in general
-You get to help other people express themselves
-Constantly being challenged
-I’m never doing the same thing everyday
-I have the ability to choose the jobs I want to take
-Being part of an art community that supports each other
The list could go on….
MERAKI: Describe the earlier days of your career:
When I started tattooing publicly, I took as many walk-ins as I could. It may not seem like the most fun thing to do when you’re constantly doing little hearts, infinity signs, names, feathers, etc. But it’s really the best thing for practice when you’re starting out. Those small simple tattoos can be the hardest, even now they are still a challenge because it’s so simple, there’s more room for error. It’s challenging because it gets you out of your comfort zone, and you start to get a better sense of how things work, and how they don’t.
MERAKI: How do you manage stress? Does it ever get overwhelming in what you do?
In an industry where I am constantly in contact with different people, it can sometimes be draining emotionally and physically. I like to deal with this in meditation, and taking a step back from things to put my thoughts in order. This could mean taking a walk, writing a list of all the things I need to do, or just focusing on breathing. But really, my favorite kind of meditation is painting. For example, if I’m working on a very complex drawing that has me very confined, to counter that I will paint something freehand. It feels very nice.
Feel Free to contact Esther for tattoo inquiries!!!! She’d love to hear from you all!