I was born and raised in southern Ontario. Some of my first and favorite memories involved painting and art in some way. In high school, I was taking art classes 2 years ahead and in one of those classes, I became friends with a girl named Charlotte. She had an older brother named Mike. Mike Austin is a well known Tattooer and he came to class and did a little tattoo on their other sister to show us his art and explain how tattoos are made. This blew my mind and my love for tattooing started to grow.
I transferred to another high school that had an intense art program where I took classes like, photography, film, textiles, sculpture, lithography, life drawing and painting. I received a few art awards throughout my school years and so at this point it was an easy choice to go on to college and continue learning in the arts.
In 1998 I was accepted into the prestigious illustration program at Sheridan College. I spent 3 years learning, growing and developing my portfolio for whatever came next in my future. In my final year, I started getting tattooed.
It was always something I was curious about and I quickly became friends with the Tattooer who did my first tattoo, who I will later call my mentor, Jay. He owned and operated Addictive Tattoo in London Ontario. It had a good reputation and I was eager to learn from someone with experience. As soon as I graduated from Sheridan, I started work at the shop. I had what other Tattooers would call a traditional apprenticeship.
My growing love for tattooing would be put to the test. I took care of most of the grunt work, coffee runs, mopping floors, dealing with clients, sanitizing stations, scrubbing and sterilizing grips and other equipment and making my own needles. If you wanted to tattoo back then, you had to make your own needle groupings or you simply didn’t tattoo. This was before everyone started using disposable everything.
I worked at Addictive for 5 years before I moved out to BC to be with my future husband and fellow Tattooer, Trent Paré. While living in Vancouver, we both worked at different shops until the opportunity to open a shop of our own came to us. We owned and operated Eastside Tattoo Parlour on Commercial Drive for close to 10 years before the choice was made to move back to my hometown where we could be near our relatives and raise our growing family.
2017 has brought us some positive changes and we will once again make the move and call BC home.