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Check Out Amanda Graves’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Graves.

Hi Amanda, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I started out at 23 years old with a newborn, newly in recovery from a rough past, and struggling to make it to Baltimore City. I discovered my love for tattooing and all the while simultaneously finishing school. I tried so hard to get an apprenticeship, but every tattooer wouldn’t take me on because of the responsibility I had as a mother and my lack of time for them. I taught myself and found a shop a year later to take me in.

At that shop, I was told constantly how hard it would be for me in the industry being a woman and a mother. Five years later I made the leap and took everything I learned about running a business and opened my own tattoo shop in Bel Air, MD February 2020. We unexpectedly were hit by the pandemic and were forced to shut down. We opened back up in May and I couldn’t have been more scared.

To my surprise a random Tiktok I made while in quarantine went viral and our shop reaped the benefits. In the last year, we went from two artists to eight, ten plus email inquiries a day and the phones constantly ringing. I am accomplished, driven, and constantly reminded of what I’ve been through and the success I have created.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Absolutely not. Anything worth achieving is always going to be difficult! I was denied multiple apprenticeships, no shops would hire me after being self-taught, I was held back by being a female in a male-dominated industry, denied leases when trying to open my own shop, and shut down because of the pandemic after only two months of opening. I could go on!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My specialty changed over the years, as I have evolved in what I like to do and what I am good at! Now I specialize in color realism, nature-esque with some fandom here and there. I am super proud of how much I have grown in the last few years, and of my colorwork. I think the creative way I mix styles sets me apart!

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Humility above anything. Confidence comes second. Maybe even existing in both simultaneously. Being proud of your craft is important, but if you feel that you’ve learned everything there is to know, I doubt any more growth will happen.

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