Today we’d like to introduce you to Shantae’ (Tae’) Elliott-Lucas.
Hi Shantae’, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started studying the art of tattooing in 2018. I had a friend who was in the business and I would frequently visit her shop (to get tattoos myself or just hang out and visit her). One day, I jokingly said, “I’m going to come in here and learn to tattoo.” That joke turned into a conversation later about the real possibility of beginning my journey…and then…I did. I completed an apprenticeship under that artist and coupled it with a lot of research on my own accord.
I’m a big reader and learner, so I needed the educational backing to apply to what I was learning in the shop and I sought that on my own. I eventually managed that shop, and in Feb. 2022 I ventured out into my own space to function as a private session studio. That’s what you all see today as InksideOut Tattoo Studio.
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?
My tattoo journey has been anything but smooth. From the onset, I’ve learned things the “hard” way and faced obstacle after obstacle in my journey. My team and I joke that every time I think it’s smooth…a hiccup comes and I learn a new but valuable lesson. We make light of the experiences though. I recall my first time ever tattooing a person (other than myself). I love coil machines and had about 2 at the time (which is VERY little for artists). Well, this simple lined tattoo took me 3 machines to complete. My first machine completely stopped working. After tinkering for a few minutes, I switched to the next machine. It worked for a short period…then it too went out. I tinkered, tuned them both, swapped out cords and rubberbands…no luck.
There I was, mid-tattoo…with no way to complete this thing. I panicked. My mentor eventually stepped in, after letting me sweat for a while, and offered her a rotary pen for me to use. I accepted the offer but with much hesitation. I was not a fan of the pens (old school girl at heart) and I felt like I was being “saved”. BUT, it wasn’t long before I realized that it showed the importance of being in a learning environment, accepting help where needed, and the need for numerous machines. Every step in my evolution as an artist has been met with experiences such as this, but I am forever grateful for these experiences and my former mentor.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
As a tattoo artist, I am a fanatic for clean lines. I pride myself on creating clean lines and perfecting my linework as an artist, I love anything that’s so clean it looks like it came out of a printed coloring book. It’s one of the reasons my clients say they choose my studio.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I started out with a mentor, and for a while, it was just the two of us consistently in the shop. More people were added, and the team environment was a great learning experience as well. Being in a solo studio, I’ve not had other tattoo artists to work with but I have a digital media technician who handles all of my digital art products for the studio (Shot.By.V is amazing). My parents have been major in supporting me in this journey, so much so that my dad no longer asks when I plan to stop getting more artwork on my own body.
My daughter has started learning to tattoo. She’s great at assisting with sketches, stenciling, and running the shop books so tattooing is the last thing she has to really master if she chooses to take up this craft for herself (we shall see). She’s also one of my biggest motivating factors. Show her the work behind following your dreams has been what pushes me on the days I may want to give up. My family and closest friends have always been willing to lend their skin (or the skin of their spouses) to let me practice different pieces and techniques.
- Website: www.inksideouttattoostudio.com
- Instagram: @tae_inkside_out
- Facebook: InksideOut Tattoo Studio