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The Art of the Tattoo: Minka Sicklinger

The Art of the Tattoo: Minka Sicklinger

PAMU Paoloa+Murray

Minka Sicklinger has been tattooing professionally for five years. She currently works out of New York's East Side Ink.

Read our exclusive interview with Minka and check out some of her best work below!

How did you get your start?
I was always fascinated by tattooing, but from a more anthropological and ritualistic standpoint. Once I started to get tattoos of my own, something clicked and I realized I felt a connection to the art form which I needed to explore, and I ended up teaching myself.

What's your tattoo style of choice and why? 
I love lines and the contrast you can create with black, grey and negative space (i.e. skin). My custom tattoo work is an extension of my illustration style, which is very graphic, so I suppose that's how I end up designing everything. I just draw what I see in my brain.

What makes tattoos special?
Tattoos are markers in your life.  Memories, milestones and experiences — basically the recording of your life's narrative on your skin!

Tattoos seem so mainstream now. Is that good or bad?
I think it's good in that the taboo surrounding such an ancient art form is being broken down, and people of all ages and backgrounds feel comfortable to express themselves in this way.  But within that, there is a problem that it can sometimes be seen as trendy and cool, which is never what tattoos were never meant to be about. But it is up to the individual artist to filter and ensure potential clients are getting things for the right reasons.

Do you see a current trend in the industry?
I think there will always be many simultaneous trends in the industry. There are more and more artists and illustrators starting to tattoo, which is bringing a whole new wave of styles and ideas — some work as tattoos some don't!  But tattooing is as subjective as any other art form, so whatever the client connects with is valid as far as I’m concerned.

Which piece of work has been your favorite?
I cannot single any one piece out, but perhaps the first tattoo I ever did, because my life changed that day. There are so many pieces that I have enjoyed doing, as well as many tattoos that weren't the most amazing or inspiring pieces to render, but the person I was tattooing was so interesting to spend some time with — and to pick their brain — that it was just as fulfilling.  For me, it is such an honor to create art for someone who will wear that for the rest of their life that I cannot disconnect a piece from the individual I did it for!

What inspires you and your art?
Everything! Things I see on the street and in my dreams, encounters with other creatures, old books, antiques and jewelry.  The list goes on and on.

Do you have a message for aspiring artists?
Get tattooed A LOT before you even think of picking up a machine!

Check out some of Minka's work below:

(Minka Sicklinger)
Eye
(Minka Sicklinger)
Knife and Birds
(Minka Sicklinger)
Cheetah Head
(Minka Sicklinger)
Eagle
(Minka Sicklinger)
Eye and Compass
(Minka Sicklinger)
Moon Owl
(Minka Sicklinger)
Praying Hands
(Minka Sicklinger)
Dog
(Minka Sicklinger)
Wolves
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