Works: Owner of Creative Images, 4817 University Ave.
If you don’t have a tattoo from Sears, chances are the artist who gave you yours does. As owner of the longest-running shop in the city, she’s considered the godmother of tattooing in Des Moines. When she started, tattoos were not yet part of the mainstream.
First tattoo: A homemade tattoo on my upper arm when I was 18 or 19. It’s a seagull flying across the sun, copied off a T-shirt.
Been tattooing since: 1981. Back in those days there wasn’t a shop on every corner. In Des Moines there was just me and Tattoo Ted. And Tattoo Ted was not happy when I opened up shop.
Specialty/favorite type of tattoo: Black and gray art and super-fine detail. I love wizards and fairies, tribal, animals, flowers. I like to do almost everything.
Favorite tattoo you’ve done: My top three are a set of tribal and Celtic chest panels on my husband, two big M.C. Escher designs on a friend, and my dad has a little black and gray piece on one of his legs — a hiker sitting on the side of a mountain.
Tats you won’t do: I don’t like to work on the front of the neck, but I’ll do the back and sides. I don’t like to do faces or hands, but I’ll make exceptions if they’re tattoo junkies and know what they’re getting into.
Who tattoos you: Dick Worsocki in Omaha did my right arm and back. I go to apprentices a lot, and a lot I do myself. Dave Connor (Mid Air & Ink) did one recently, and so did Dan (Conick) from Yankee Doodle Dandy. My last tattoo Ace (Wilde) did, a Friday the 13th tattoo. It was Friday the 13th, and my first two appointments canceled, so I decided to get a tattoo.
Featured work: I had a lot featured in “Skin & Ink Magazine.” More in the '90s. I get a lot of stuff in the National Tattoo Association’s newsletter.
Who you’d love to tattoo: Albert Einstein, just E=MC2 or an atom symbol. Anyone with that crazy of hair has to have a cool tattoo. Or if it’s someone living, bring in Sam Elliott and I’ll just drool while I’m tattooing.
Why you got into the business: When I was young I was working in bars and restaurants and was pretty sure I didn’t want to do that the rest of my life. In those days you either went to college or you learned a trade. The trade I learned was tattooing. I met a guy named Gypsy up in Ames and after I got tattooed a few times I thought, “Hell, I can do that.”
What’s changed after 30 years of tattooing: When I got started it seemed like you only needed to know six tattoos. There were roses, eagles, hearts, grim reapers, Tasmanian Devils. These days tattoo artists are more like doctors, each with their own specialty.
Stereotype you want to debunk: I don’t know why people think people with tattoos are shady or bad people. They’re expensive, so people with tattoos need to have a job. They have to take care of it, so they’re not dummies. We used to be involved with parades at the Iowa State Fair, the St. Patrick’s Day parade and going out on RAGBRAI. The whole idea was to promote tattooed people as good, normal people.
You wouldn’t guess this by looking at me, but: I’m very conservative, politically and personally.©2010 Metromix.com