Tell us about yourself.
What is there to say, I was born and raised in Chicago, moved to Southern California, lived there for 6 years, missed the four seasons and found Ashland almost 20 years ago. I have lived in Ashland proper for 12 years. My husband and I originally lived 32 miles out of town in the mountains, down an 8 mile dirt road, and off power! That was an experience that built character. My husband and I were married there. We bought our house from the pink slips of my Toyota truck and his Harley. We sure could not have accomplished that in LA or Chicago! We learned so much about each other as well as ourselves. I have worked various media in art for as long as I can remember. I celebrate all art forms.
Why do you love the art of tattooing?
Tattooing bridges life’s moments through permanent and personal expression. It is a firm commitment to ones identity. It is a marriage. It is empowering to be able to live with a decision that lasts a lifetime. It familiarizes you with your mortal self. Life is ever changing and tattoos are steady and you can count on the affirmation held by a tattoo commitment. It is a choice for most; my father was tattooed against his will in concentration camp. I did not get tattooed myself until my father passed. Being a tattoo artist has been a huge healing experience for me in so many ways. I remember while apprenticing, my first customer had swastikas all over his body! My throat seemed to close. I did not want to work on him and I was told to get in there and take care of my customer. At first I became angry and impulsive. As we sat there through our conversation, I felt a surge of melting hate and knew it had to start with me. It was an unbelievable experience. Later, after a year the same guy came in and I was able to cover some of those swastikas with roses. My client still had his same views of white power but he was a feather weight boxer and could not get sponsored with this type of artwork. I don’t think he knew how much he did for me. It was quite the learning experience.
Why do people choose to get tattooed?
To claim ones body, make a statement, mark milestones, and build mystery. To know where your eyebrows are at all times! Permanent make up is so liberating and care free. People choose tattooing for many reasons. I have clients that are courageous cancer survivors and they allow me to transform their survival scars with art. I also do pigmentation for reconstruction on nipples and areolas. Afterwards, women experience a genuine feeling of wholeness and self esteem. I can not express in words how honored I am to be a part of the tattoo journey for all my clients. Tattoos somehow open pathways for growth that holds a unique catalyst for deep healing. I have a client that is a court reporter working in a very conservative environment. She loves skulls and she wears a beautiful skull tattoo on her lower back. It is her mystery. She can choose to share it with others or keep it a mystery. How fun, sexy and empowering at the same time!
What do people look for when they come into your shop?
It is my observation that a lot of people come in to the studio with an idea and want to morph that idea or dream into reality. They are looking for an undeniably exhilarating experience. It is not about me, I do not claim to be any kind of healer or spiritual intuitive, but the catalyst brought on by tattooing is undeniably very powerful.
What makes your studio unique?
There is nothing hard core about my studio. My heart and soul goes into my work and out to my clients. Clients share very private and intimate experiences with me. Tattooing is so much more than just the art. The tattoo experience opens a pathway to genuinely follow your own intuition, inspirations, and instincts.
Is aftercare important to you?
When I started out almost 13 years ago there really weren’t many options for healthy aftercare products. That is why I developed and formulated my own product line called NuTattoo. Ashland Co-op, Inward Bound Wellness, and One World in the mall carry it as well. I do not use any petroleum or alcohol based products in my shop because it does not allow the skin to breath. I do not use sea salt on piercings because it leaves a residue that needs to be rinsed off and most clients do not want to take extra time to do so. I try to make things as easy as possible for my clients. NuTattoo products were formulated to support clients as well as the professional tattoo artist. I find it is my responsibility as a professional to provide healthy aftercare products to my clients. They should not have to go to a store after receiving service in my studio and read labels to find a suitable product.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
25 years of sobriety. With out it there would be nothing. I have a great family; I have no history of using with my husband and my boys have never seen me loaded. I am consistent and present in my life and my work. No excuses.
What got you into tattooing?
I have found tattoos fascinating all my life. Tattooing is a great fit for me.
Do you get judged by your choice of occupation?
Sometimes. I remember when my boys were little. Some mom’s didn’t want their kids coming over. Sad huh? I am a really good mom and our home is very friendly, open and honest.
We heard you did the show wife swap, how was that?
Well, the experience was amazing however, the media is pathetic! My boys learned a lot. We all did. Most of all, it’s not everyday you get to walk in someone else’s shoes! Never judge others and what appears is not always what truly is! Those are huge life lessons for little people as well as adults and its one thing to learn them and another to live them. For me, the experience solidified the idea that all the children of the world are mine and I love them all and want them all to have what they need.
Is there any tattoo requests that you will not do?
I do not do satanic, hate tattoos, and boy or girlfriends names (it‘s tattoo taboo!).
How does one get in touch with you?
Call me or stop by the studio. Looking forward.
Mori Ink/ NuTattoo
248 N. 2nd Street, Ashland OR 97520