Tattoo Tuesday V.105

Name and blog name: Becky MacKeigan. I never update my blog but I'm here: My website is And you can find me on instagram @beckzmaru
Age: 30
Occupation: Tattoo Artist who also paints
Age of first tattoo: 24, Haida scorpion/eagle on the back of my arm
Favorite tattoo: either my sailor girl or my chest piece, I can't really choose
Featured tattoo/location: My chest piece
Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Travis Driscoll when he was at Sin On Skin here in Halifax, Nova Scotia (he is now at MTL Tattoo in Montreal)

1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story about why you chose it, or maybe a special meaning? 

I got a paper mache sugar skull from the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Ca and named him Pierre (he looks french). I have always loved sugar skulls and what they represented and I know they are overdone as tattoos but I needed him tattooed on me. Pierre was with me for the remainder of my time in California and sat front and centre at the windshield of a '68 VW bus as I made my way home driving north and across Canada back to Nova Scotia. He has since come along on many road trips to see bands (NYC, even back to Calgary/Montreal/Toronto, etc) and has seen more then a lot of people I know, and he just represents my wanderlust and the good times I've had while 'on the road'. And now he sits front and centre with me no matter what :) There are flowers on either side of him, marigolds and bird of paradise flowers. The marigolds are the traditional Dia de los Muertos flowers and I just fell in love with the bird of paradise flower so wanted those in there too, plus they help balance it.

2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?

I have a Haida/west coast native art inspired scorpion on the back of my arm.. and if you look closely you can see an eagle in the design. I didn't think of getting any more done there but afterwards wanted a more fuller looking arm. So after I started my apprenticeship my boss (Mike LeBlanc now at Ink Nation in Courtenay, BC) and I came up with a stormy rainforest scene because I wasn't sure what else would go with the style, so a beautiful nature scene seemed fitting. The main focus is a raven who is sort of for my dad as a joke and also sort of for my fiancé haha. I stand with my arms crossed/folded all the time so it's cool to have him sitting right there. I suppose you could say overall the whole 1/2 sleeve is for the time I spent living in British Columbia but it isn't really… I just like it!

I have a 'practice' leg on the go that I did one of my very first tattoos on (4th to be exact)… I drew up some girls, each a queen of a different card suit with a bird. I wanted the queen of spades with a crow but someone else called dibs so I gave myself the queen of clubs with an owl. I love owls anyway so I don't mind having one on me one bit. I was sketching at work one day and drew up a coffin with wings and a keyhole cause it just looked 'tattoo-y' and threw in some tiny roses and put that on my leg for practice early on too. It would sound weird/bad if I said that was for my mom… but she has always said about me, "She has wings" cause I've always done my own thing.. so it's cool cause it reminds me of that. The only piece on that leg I didn't do is my Bacon tattoo, the shop owner of the place I am now at (Dr. J, Permanent Ink, Halifax NS) gave me that one and now I am randomly called "Bacon", even by some clients. Who doesn't love bacon?!

I also have a traditional looking sailor girl on my left leg that I did myself. As symmetrical and OCD as I am, it was weird to put something on my left side. But my fiancé deployed for 6 months with the navy right after he proposed to me which sucked so on a slow work day I just had a sudden urge to put this beautiful tattoo on me for him/us and couldn't really do it well on myself anywhere else. So there it went, and I love it so much!

3) Do you plan on getting more? 

Absolutely… It's actually driving me nuts I haven't been getting any! People leave the shop everyday with new work done and I'm jealous haha! I basically want my whole back done with sort of a kitschy Americana theme including a 1950's waitress pin up and lots of Route 66 inspired stuff. I am so nostalgic for that era. It's been floating in my head forever, and kind of hard to get all down on paper. I even had a couple of other tattoo artists turn me down because I'm very anal and picky about what I want. (But at least I can relate to my clients when they want their stencil moved a millimetre 5 times in a row! It's on you for life so get it right, right?)
My next one which is way more doable is going to be a teapot and stacked teacups because tea has to be one of my most favourite things and I love all the decorative mugs, teacups, and teapots. I've never been really girly so this might help me out? It's going to go on my super bare left upper arm. (on that note, I love your Two for Tea tattoo Danielle!) editor's note: thanks lady!
I also want an old wood cookstove with some pumpkins maybe (for my sister), something harvesty with that one… autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. And I feel like I need a mounted deer head? And a realistic elephant, or maybe numerous elephants stampeding. Oh, and I want a tattoo of a piece of apple pie with cheese on top. So yes.. I have plans for many more!

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos? 

Well pretty much all of my friends who are in to tattoos helped me out big time while I was apprenticing and let me work on them. I still work on a lot of them and they send me lots of business. I have some pretty heavily covered friends and some friends with only one or none at all, and everyone that matters knows what I do, and what I look like and are cool with it. My parents/family have always supported me and are pretty laid back about whatever I've wanted to do whether it was going to art school, moving across the country or tattooing. I've even tattooed my mom 5 times (and she wants more)! My dad is the black sheep with none and he just laughs and shakes his head at us. I work on my sister, she has a few big pieces and I am covering her husband: I finished his sleeve & 1/2 chest. Started his other sleeve and started his full back piece. My fiancé has two full sleeves and I love them. Well I've been working on one of them so maybe I'm biased, it's still in progress… but it's all old school sailor jerry flash perfect for my sailor:) We only cover up when we're around his grandparents because they are older and religious and set with their opinions and we respect that. They are pretty awesome, so I really don't mind.

I don't find I run into any adversity but I do get looks from people obviously. I find people mostly look at my leg tattoos if I have a dress or shorts on… I find it really strange because I forget that they're even there. I did, however, have a lady pull on the front of my tank top once in a coffee shop to see my chest piece. It was super weird and awkward and what was even worse she thought it was a teletubby?? I've had people ask if it was a clown, but never a teletubby. Who knows!

5) What's the most interesting experience you've ever had in regards to your tattoos? 

Most interesting experience might have been the chest peeker at the coffee shop. But there is a funny thing I notice that happens almost daily in regards to our tattoo appearances. There is a little old lady who walks her beagle by our shop everyday. She looks in and gives my boss the dirtiest looks! He's a big stereotypical biker guy completely covered with old tattoos and about as harmless as a kitten. Now this very same old lady smiles, and nods and waves at me and our very visibly tattooed shop counter girl. If the door is open she even chats to us as we pet her dog. It's just so funny she has her mind made up about one tattooed person but is sweet as pie to us girls!

6) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

Here is a little story I tell a lot. When I was 16 my mom took me to get my first tattoo. I was filling out the paperwork and when they saw I was 16 they said "No." Me, being 16 at the time and a little brat, complained and explained my mom was sitting right there and she was letting me. They still said "No" and explained that they weren't comfortable tattooing someone that age as some people may not be mature enough to make that kind of permanent decision yet and that I may not really know what I want at that age and my body could still be growing/changing. They were right, I didn't know or cared about what I was going to get. I just wanted "a tattoo". I remember it was a little frog with squiggly legs… and boy am I so grateful they didn't tattoo it on me… because it would be covered up right now! (funny side story- my mom ended up taking my appointment that day and I was so angry! I have since covered that up for her though mwaha).

I have a lottttt of friends who got tattoos at a very young age and I've covered up so, so, so many of them. So I now get to feel old and tell teenagers that I was in their shoes once. So please really think about what you are getting, make it count. We don't have a piece of generic flash in our shop with hopes of giving people a more meaningful personal custom tattoo. Check portfolios so you know what you are getting! Even if someone is sent in to see me, I still offer up my portfolio for them to look at. And if you live in an area that does not have regulations or standards (there are none here in Nova Scotia -although a bill just passed and we are on our way thankfully) then make sure the artist has some health and safety background in body modification because there is a lot more to tattooing then just pretty pictures. I take a blood borne pathogens course every year and display my certificate in my station for all to see. Don't be a 'tire-kicker'. I understand it can get expensive but do you really want to get the best 'deal' on something like a tattoo? If you are price-shopping then do it discreetly haha! We've even had people come in after getting their $40 sweet deal from a friends basement and brag! "How much would you charge for this? I only paid $40!" ….. yes, yes you did.

Any other advice would be to eat beforehand, and don't let the anticipation freak you out. 99% of the time after I start on a first-timer… their first reaction is, "oh, that's it?" Obviously this depends on where it is going, but I believe for the most part getting tattooed is more annoying then painful. And speaking of pain… I believe you should suck it up, and get the tattoo where you really want it, and don't just put it somewhere because you think it will hurt less. It will only feel crappy for the duration of the tattoo and you will have the tattoo a lifetime so put it where you would like to have it!