In the lead-up to the Australian Tattoo Expo at Brisbane Convention Centre July 12-14th 2019, we chatted with Mimsy Gleeson, a Brisbane-based Tattoo Artist
How did you get started in tattooing?
Back in the late 1990s, I was commissioned to sketch and paint designs for friends. This was a seemingly natural progression as I had spent my whole life obsessed with art and design. Word soon got around and soon enough I was busy! These folks would take my designs to their tattoo artist to get tattooed permanently on their skin.
When did you know you wanted to be a tattoo artist?
I took one of my sketchbooks to my local tattooer and he was very encouraging suggesting that I should take some copies of these designs and sell them to various Brisbane tattoo studios. So, that’s what I did. I set out on foot and sold many Mimsy flash designs to tattoo shops. At that point I was hooked – I knew I couldn’t bear to hand over my artwork to another artist to recreate and I wanted to perform the whole process on willing victims.
There was no doubt in my mind that this was what I was meant to do. Against all odds (there weren’t too many female tattooers in those days), and a lot of nay sayers- I struggled through and worked extremely hard to be respected in this world that is now so sacred to me.
How would you describe your artistic style?
It’s kind of it’s tricky to describe my artistic style because categorising is something that has always been strange for me. I would say that there are elements of my work that draw from traditional style, new school 90s style (that’s when I learnt to tattoo), a touch of kawaii style and a little bit cartoony which is silly and fun. I also love to do darker themed pieces and black work too.
How do you approach designing a custom tattoo?
My approach to custom work is to make sure my client really wants something I’m capable of executing well. I make sure I have a detailed belief and gain trust from my client. From there, that’s where I turn on the magic!
What was your first tattoo?
My first tattoo was a swirly ornate 90s style pattern. I wanted it to cover my whole back. Yes, I was naive and excited and on the morning of my 18th birthday, I was in a studio ready to be inked.
Tell us about your online shop?
I have a passion for watercolour paintings and when I’m not tattooing you will find me squirrelled away from the real world creating new designs and concepts I want to transport from brain to paper. You can purchase these art prints on my Etsy store by searching “Trailer Trashy Tattoo” on the app.
Do you have any predictions for the industry?
This industry has changed so much even since I started tattooing over 20 years ago with the use of social media and the internet. I think that social media platforms will allow more choice for consumers and allow artists to showcase their amazing works more and more. Maybe we will get to a point where holographic mock-ups are developed so you can try on a tattoo before getting it permanently inked on your skin.
I also think robotic tattooing done by highly innovative machines will happen soon enough. I do hope that even with all these great inventions, tattoo lovers will still choose hand-drawn traditional tattooing like it’s been done for thousands of years so artists still have a great avenue to be creative.