Jessie Fora


Be patient, keep your head down, your eyes open, and work hard!Jessie Fora

Art Inspired

Kewpie fun.



Areola and nipple restoration.

Betty Rose Kewpie Cat Tattoo Art


Classic Tillie.

the interview

Jessica Marie Gloria Estefan Nucifora

It was a star on my right arm which I added many stars to while looking for an apprenticeship. And yes, I still have it… along with the other stars.

I was always fascinated with tattoos and tattooing. It was something that was mysterious and magical to me. I began college in 1999 and started hanging out at local tattoo shops in the area (Pittsburgh). Since I was drawing and Painting quite a bit anyway at the time, I started to draw more tattoo related imagery. I decided to leave college and look more seriously into an apprenticeship. I found a shop that would take me in and began tattooing in 2001. My friend and mentor Alex Franklin took me on as a working apprentice from there and lead me in the right direction. I’m super grateful for that.

Well, I am certified in paramedical tattooing which allows me to tattoo post mastectomy patients at St. Barnabas hospital. I’ll also be able to offer that type of tattooing in New York City very soon! Getting that job was incredible. I love helping the women I tattoo feel a bit better about their bodies! Another amazing moment was when I was hired full time at 8 of Swords. These two moments happened within a few months of each other and I’m so proud of both of them!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler… I love their comedy and everything they do. I loved reading their books and I have a ton of questions for them. I think we’d all be best friends. Is that weird?

Versatile. Working in a busy walk in shop in New Jersey definitely allowed me to be able to make almost anything tattooable.
Traditional. Although I can make most things tattooable, I do keep a traditional foundation with my tattooing. Bold lines, black shading are what keep a tattoo together overtime.
I guess accommodating would be my 3rd word. That goes along with versatile though. I do like to make the customer happy while giving them the best tattoo design I can. I keep an open mind and try to understand what the customer’s vision is. But they do need to understand we have to work together to achieve their goal.

Right now I’d say… technology. There’s a lot going on digitally that is advancing tattooers in major ways. iPads, social media, etc… not that I’m against any of these things. It’s just taking me a while to get used to all this. Like Betty Rose, I started tattooing long before all this stuff was available. I’ve just used a pencil and paper…. and just posted things occasionally to build an online portfolio. It’s time to not be so scared of it!

Eh… I regret a few tattoos I have on me for sure haha! But as far as my tattooing career goes, I regret not venturing outside my little bubble sooner. I stopped myself from really getting out there and having a good time with tattooing. Mostly due to social anxiety I guess. But I love where the universe lead me… so in that sense, maybe I have no regrets?…

Keep your head down and work!

Be patient. You’re not going to be killing it right after your apprenticeship. You only get better with time. So be patient, keep your head down, your eyes open, and work hard! But! Patience also comes in handy while working with clients. I can tell you from experience, sometimes you want to explode while working with people. Don’t be a jerk! Just understand people done understand how the process works like we do. We can’t be mad at them for that.

continue the fun

For myself anywhere on the arms. Everywhere else is terrible 😂… but I’m also a big baby.

Bikers… haha. That is actually the first thing that came to my mind. But I guess that’s probably because that was my first tattoo experience… who knows!

Maybe a 7? I have a bunch of space left in very painful areas so I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to 10.

I love a lot of everything! 60’s, 70’s, 80’s.. 90’s …anything from punk rock to hip hop.

Definitely the shop. At home there are way too many distractions. My cat walks all over what I’m working on then I have to love him up…. and then there’s my dog and I can’t NOT pay attention to him when I’m home. He’s just too adorable. If I’m drawing at home I need my headphones in so I can zone out and avoid any distractions.

There are so many! But I think Hannah Aitchison was one of my favorites for sure! I always remember looking forward to seeing her stuff in magazines. I always wanted to get tattooed by her…. but never did. Maybe one day.

Having an online portfolio that I can update daily is amazing. I also love being able to network with other tattooers and be inspired by new images everyday! I miss going out to get the new tattoo magazine to see what’s going on. But now it’s all at our fingertips!

I love every bit of it. I think tattooing kind of saved my life in a way. Let me expand on my tattoo journey… I was in a pretty bad accident when I was a teenager. I was really dependent on drawing and painting to help me get through a lot of tough times. I was also in love with music and loved different cultures and subcultures that music lead me to (such as punk rock) Tattoos were a huge part of that…. If I didn’t get into tattooing I’m not sure what I’d be doing. I was pretty lost and was really feeling sad about the things I couldn’t do anymore. Tattooing just kind of took over. I love that it gave me things to focus on… to get better at… to learn about.. to love… to collect. I’m grateful it gave me a life I love. And saved me from severe depression. In turn, I love meeting new people… learning about what they do and what made them want to get tattooed. It fascinates me that all different types of people get tattooed these days. From students to doctors. Everyone has their reasons for getting tattooed. Sometimes I’ll get personal with my clients and tell them my story as well.

I love chickens. They look the most comfortable in their little nests and I can totally appreciate that.

I have a cat named Lorenzo Lasagna Ronzoni. He’s a tuxedo cat and he’s also our butler. We also have a dog named Herman Munster. He’s a dachshund mix who loves adventures and hates skateboards. He’s number 1!