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Life & Work with Hannah Everhart

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Everhart.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’ve wanted to be a tattoo artist since I was seventeen, and opening my own shop was always the goal.

In 2012, I finally plucked up the courage and put every scrap of art I had made between high school and my two semesters of community college and went to every shop within a 30-mile radius of my house looking for a tattoo apprenticeship.

I mostly got the brush off – even had one shop laugh me out the door for not being “tattooed enough” to warrant a tattoo apprenticeship. But I got one yes, and that’s all it took. I started tattooing in 2013 and never looked back!

Fast forward to 2020 – I was working in a popular, high-traffic shop in DC, I was slated to compete for Ink Master Season 15 with filming starting in May, and working towards my five-year goal of opening my own tattoo shop. I never thought I’d actually win Ink Master, but wanted to use the recognition to relocate to a shop closer to home and save up to open my own place.

Then, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, ultimately killing my shot at Ink Master and putting me out of work for three months during quarantine. My husband started encouraging me to “play with the numbers” on what my tattoo business currently looked like vs what they would need to be to open my own space – mostly just to give me something to do other than be a depressed loaf around my house.

It turned out to be a great idea when I sat down and actually looked at the analytics and realized if I were to move and these clients still wanted to work with me, I could sustain my own business. With the help of my sibling Ray, I was able to open Raven and Rose Studios in January of 2021.

It’s not something I anticipated in the first year, but this past April, we had the opportunity to expand! We’ve moved from our 440 sq. ft. unit to another down the hall nearly twice that size. Ray is now tattooing full time, and we have another awesome resident artist Erk working with us as well.

Overall, I have to say that while this experience has been one of the most unexpected and probably scariest of my life, it has also been the most rewarding. My husband and I also just welcomed our first child in early June 2022, which is something I would not have been able to do without having opened Raven and Rose Studios last year.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Getting into the tattoo industry in the first place was not easy. Most artists don’t want to take on an apprentice for lack of time or fear of competition – since the tattoo scene and television collided, not only have tattoos become less taboo but more people want to become tattoo artists.

While I agree that like any other trade tattoo art should be respected and treated like the career that it is, it does mean that the opportunities to learn can be few and far between. Add in the fact that I’m a woman and the level of difficulty doubles. Traditionally, tattooing in the US has been a man’s game – with very few exceptions. As of 2017 statistically only one in every six artists identified as female.

I look and sound more like a Disney Princess than I do a tattoo artist, so getting into the industry and being taken seriously as an artist and not just a “pretty face” has been one of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to face. For people of color or people in the LGBTQIA+ community, it can become exponentially more difficult not only to break into the industry but to be taken seriously there as well.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a tattoo artist – I love tattooing in general, so most of the time unless it’s entirely out of my comfort zone I will take on just about any project. While I do a little bit of a lot of different styles of work, I get the most requests for floral pieces and fine line/micro tattoos.

There is a lot of debate around the longevity of fine line and micro tattoos, so not a lot of tattoo artists in this area do them. I’ve found that with the right tools and technique as well as an upfront conversation with the client as to what to expect from the finished product, these pieces can be done and still look beautiful as they age.

I think what I’m most proud of and what sets me and my shop apart from a lot of others is the relationships we build and the experiences we create with our clients. You can be the most talented tattoo artist in the world, but if you’re unpleasant to be around no one is going to want a tattoo from you. Getting tattooed can be a really intimidating and vulnerable process – you’re letting a complete stranger not only touch you but mark your skin permanently.

As a client, I’ve had experiences in shops and with other artists that have left a lot to be desired. I’ve worked in shops where artists have shamed their clients for not wanting something bigger or “cooler” or tried to push them into something totally different from what they envisioned.

At Raven and Rose, we all have a very similar philosophy in our approach to our work – we are going to give the client the best product and best experience possible. At the end of the day, while it is our name attached to that piece of art it does not belong to us. The client paid for it, and they should be getting a piece that they’re 100% happy with.

This attitude and approach to tattooing have gifted us with the most amazing clients who tell all their friends about the experiences they have. We have a pretty high percentage of not only repeat clients, but clients who heard about us from their friends.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
We’ve already seen such a change in the industry over the last few years and then especially with the Covid-19 pandemic that its tough to say.

Since I have been tattooing, I have seen a significant transition away from just walking into a tattoo shop and picking something off the wall to higher demand for custom work and requests to work with specific artists based on their social media portfolios.

Thanks to platforms like Instagram, a tattoo artist’s portfolio is available anywhere and clients can see that not all artists work in all styles. Clients are doing more research about the type of work that they want and then finding artists in their area who do that type of work to guarantee the best outcome. Additionally, tattooing saw a huge increase in demand since the pandemic.

As artists were put on hiatus during the lockdown, preexisting appointments were put on hold, while interest in tattoos to help cope with the trauma of the global event increased.

This makes busy artists even busier. This being said, a lot of already established artists have had the same train of thought as I had – if I’m not relying on the shop providing walk-in clients to make a stable living, why continue working in a space where I’m paying for that privilege?

Overall, while I think walk-in-based shops will always have a niche, we will see more and more artists moving to these private studios and collectives.

Unfortunately for clients, I think this will mean longer wait times for quality work done by the artists they favor, but on the upside for artists in this industry, I see it meaning more autonomy and less burnout for artists who get to set their own schedules and run their own businesses.

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Image Credits
Toro Productions

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