Kelowna tattoo artist shares clients' stories in new video series - InfoNews

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Kelowna tattoo artist shares clients' stories in new video series

A screenshot from the first episode of Parke's series, posted to her Youtube channel.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE / Paige Parke
June 04, 2020 - 7:00 AM

After tattooing for over 11 years, Kelowna artist Paige Parke has seen a change in the industry that doesn't sit well with her.

All the focus is on the artist and their work, rather than the clients themselves, she said, and she wants to change that.

"I decided it would just be nice to start talking about the person and why they wanted to get their tattoos," the Tradesman Tattoo Company artist said. "They’re the ones who have to carry it, so they’re kind of the ones that are more important.”

Parke has launched a project called Written In Ink, a series of short videos that show her creating clients' art and talking with them about the meaning behind it.

Those willing to share their experiences on camera will have their tattoo done by Parke for free. If it's a bigger piece, she will continue the tattoo in future sessions at regular price.  

Unlike some artists, Parke always talks with her clients while she's working and asks questions, she said. 

"Listening to people tell stories and talk about their own lives is the way I learn how to feel about what’s going on in my own life," she said. "It gives me a lot of insight, so I grow from it too."

She feels that the experience of sharing stories benefits her, as well as her clients.

The first video in the series was filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and features a woman who shares her experience with domestic abuse. 

Parke said she wishes she could have filmed many of her past experiences with clients, but one story stands out in particular.

"She's an indigenous woman who has for 12 years been working with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls," she said. "She has her own personal stories of friends having been murdered or gone missing her whole life, one after the other."

Parke spent 15 hours over two days tattooing the woman's back."She came from addiction and a really messed up life prior, and she clawed herself out and now does nothing but try to help everybody else," she said. "She earned that tattoo probably more than anybody I’ve ever met."

Parke tattooed this piece on a clients back, in 15 hours spread over two days.
Parke tattooed this piece on a clients back, in 15 hours spread over two days.
Image Credit: INSTAGRAM / Paige Lynn Parke

Parke plans to continue the project as long as she can.

"My want to share the human side of tattooing is probably never going to go away," she said. "If people want to see it, I’m going to put even more effort into it."

She doesn't know when the next episode will be released, as the COVID-19 mask restrictions in parlours make filming and talking challenging.

However, she plans on working it out, and already has several individuals lined up for future videos.

"I have other stories, (from) women who’ve lost children, or who have sick children," she said. "There’s one of a man who ended up paralyzed and now builds custom homes. Like actually — in his wheelchair with his two hands — builds homes."

Parke continues to accept stories from anyone who is interested in being a part of the project, and contacts those who are a good fit.

To submit your story, send Parke a message through her Instagram page. All episodes will be posted to her Youtube channel.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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