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I was 15 years old in a friends kitchen, laying on the linoleum floor. An actual “kitchen magician”Annie Mess
Lady Tattooers: We’d love to know what your first tattoo experience was like…
Annie Mess: I was 15 years old in a friends kitchen, laying on the linoleum floor. An actual “kitchen magician”. Ha! I got some tribal tattooed on my chest which I’ve since covered with winter flowers and snow designs. Craig Driscoll did the cover-up and he’s incredible. One of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever met.
LT: What was your takeaway from your first experience?
Annie: It was a proud accomplishment for me, at the time I was afraid of needles so It felt good to overcome that. Also I’m proud of how insanely ironic the whole thing was tribal, on a kitchen floor with a home made machine with a Walkman motor and a ball point pen. How much more stereotypical does it get?!
LT: Although we don’t encourage this kind of experimenting, it is common and somewhat of a teenage right of passage.
LT: Tell us about the first tattoo you ever did…
Annie: I apprenticed at a shop in San Antonio, Texas and a friend wanted black cherry blossoms on her thigh. So I got my Mickey Sharpz liner and shader, and tattooed for about an hour.
Afterwards I felt good I guess. I knew they weren’t great but they were done by me and it felt nice to finally do a tattoo after waiting so long to do one.
LT: What about before tattooing?
Annie: I didn’t graduate high school because I dropped out in sophomore year but eventually got my GED. I was living the dream working at a Papa Johns. I’ve always been a painter so I was doing a lot of that. I also became a hairdresser.
LT: So how much of your body is tattooed?
Annie: I would say about 80% is covered. An I always plan on getting more. I once had an ex ask me when I planned on stopping. Of course we broke up soon after that conversation.
LT: What’s your opinion of hand and neck tattoos?
Annie: I love them but personally I won’t do them on someone who doesn’t have sleeves. It’s a big commitment. That’s just me though.
LT: How has social media affected your career?
Annie: I love the effect of social media on my career, you can reach so much farther than most tattooers have before us. Its a wonderful thing.
I began my career before the social media boom and it was much harder to get your name out. I remember when MySpace came out. It blew everyone’s mind. Wow. I’m the old lady who says these kinds of things now.
LT: What are your feelings about the accessibility of reference via Google, Instagram, etc?
Annie: It’s like all things where there’s no black and white answer. I think it’s wonderful to have such a vast library to look at when researching for a client, but as with anything people will abuse the fact that it’s out there.
LT: Animal person?
Annie: My favorite pet is my snake — easy to take care of and beautiful to look at.
LT: Thanks for sharing your journey with us Annie!