You may remember Lu from her stint at the Edge 102.1 FM, but what you don’t know is that she holds two B.A.s from York U and OCAD, and has an immense passion for art and expressing herself visually. She has since traded in her mic for a tattoo machine and completed an apprenticeship at Dreamworx Ink, where she’s been honing her skills. Her work is epitomized by “clean, minimal designs that express themselves through colour and movement.”
SDTC: What does a typical day look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
LP: A standard workday for me would involve waking up around 8 and attempting to take a run outside. Apparently the mind can do some great stuff with physical activity, so I attempt it. I come home, do line-work for the pieces I will be working on for the day and drink 2 sips of the coffee I made for myself. I never finish it. I work from 12-8 p.m. tattooing clients, consulting and discussing new ideas for the shop I’m at. I later drive home, call clients on the way, listen to the best music possible and eat dinner. I try to spend as much down time with my partner as I can before bed. I do a lot of thinking about the next day. Just put this on repeat, really, and you have my life.
SDTC: What made you want to get into this line of work?
LP: A love for art. Specifically, painting led me into the world of tattoo design and the art of tattooing. Painting tends to be a lonely process with an awesome outcome. It’s just a lot of alone time which can get to be a bit much for me. With tattooing, I get to have the same great outcome but with the pleasure of someone else’s company. Tattooing was really one of the only jobs I found that was able to connect me to people, new ideas and art. A perfect mix, really.
SDTC: What attributes should one cultivate to do this job well?
LP: I now have come to realize the importance of communication: speaking and listening skills. Remaining on top of a busy workload is also crucial, therefore organization and time management are imperative. Attending both York University and OCAD, I never really put the importance of these things together while studying. It’s crucial to have these skills to remain attentive and objective while creating a piece of art for my clients. Although ultimately it is my artwork, it’s a direct result of collaboration between the both of us. Their experiences mixed with my artistic vision.
SDTC: What’s your favourite part about your job? Least?
LP: My favourite part of the job is meeting new people on a daily basis and hearing so many different stories. People come to me with huge monumental life events. Some stories are positive – like friendship and personal growth, while others mourn the loss of loved ones and past relationships. I believe that creating art that clients can wear proudly is the best way to honour their stories and the things they share with me. It’s humbling and I love it.
My least favourite part of the job would have to be turning off my brain. This doesn’t seem to ever happen. It’s extremely hard for me to disconnect work from my personal life and not take it all home with me. It’s a lovely gift but sometimes information overload can get the best of me.
SDTC: Describe a situation that you’ve encountered in your life where you either a) knew for certain this was the right field for you or b) realized you needed to make a big change.
LP: As I slowly became more comfortable with my craft, I started completing pieces on clients that weren’t so standard and were more in the direction of fine art as tattooing. With this, I began to crave the reaction of the client when seeing the final piece on them. The reaction of complete content, awe, fascination and happiness is what I honestly live for. Creating a piece for each client that is as unique as they are gives me a huge sense of accomplishment.
SDTC: What’s your most memorable project/work-related experience to date?
LP: It’s extremely difficult to say which project has been my most memorable, but I would have to say I will never forget the first client who allowed me to do the effect of paint splatter on their arm. A style known to many in Europe as “Trash Polka” was something I was studying for a while and wanted to execute. I had no past work in my portfolio of this style and my client insisted that she trusted me. That word “trust” was all I needed to take a risk and try this style. It was a piece that started a movement for me and without her trust, I don’t think I would be where I am. I am thankful for that opportunity.
SDTC: Do you have any warnings for peeps who want to get into your industry?
LP: Yes. If you have an ego that can’t be bruised, do something else. These are people bodies. Although I would like to guide the client as much as possible, I believe in an extremely liberal way of tattooing where the client is involved and is allowed to make suggestions. I don’t believe that people should ever feel pressured by a tattoo artist to get something they are not comfortable with. I say, if an artist is willing to work with their clients so both parties are happy, then great.
SDTC: What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
LP: I see myself working at the shop I’m currently at (Dreamworx Ink) while taking on guest spots at other shops around the world. The shop I’m at will always be my home, but if I can travel the world doing what I love, why not? I wish to expand my work and challenge myself daily. I look forward to the people I will get to meet and the stories I will get to hear. I can’t wait.
We recently had the pleasure of being tattooed by Lu, and couldn’t be happier with the results!