Name: Jen Ricker
Occupation: EDI Specialist at a footwear company
Age of first tattoo: 19
Favorite tattoo: Feather tattoo
Featured tattoo/location: Cat Saints 3/4 sleeve on my left arm
Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Katie Williams at House of Tattoo in Tacoma, WA. I live in Seattle where there are tons of tattoo shops, but I drive 45 minutes to see Katie because I love her so much!
1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story about why you chose it, or maybe a special meaning?
A few years ago I decided I wanted to get tattoos of my two cats, but I didn't want to just get their portraits. I thought for several months on how I could do something fun and came up with the idea to turn my cats into saints. Religious icons are popular tattoo subjects, and while I am not religious I find the artwork beautiful and interesting. I did some research on different saints and chose the Virgin Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi. My cat Uma is depicted as the Virgin Mary, and her baby Jesus is a pink beanie baby cat that she's been carrying around and loving since she was a kitten. My cat Dumbles is depicted as Saint Francis of Assisi with his little paws reaching up for birds.
2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?
I also have a dad tattoo and a feather on my left arm. On my right arm I have a good luck cat, a Dia de los Muertos cat, gypsy cat, mom tattoo, jack-o-lantern tattoo for my sister who was born on Halloween, a tea cup, and a bunch of vines. I have flowers with script on each shoulder, the word legendary across my wrists, a key and a diamond on my fingers, pin-up up girls on my stomach, and paw prints behind my ears. On my legs I have tokidoki characters just below my knees, and on my lower legs I have a bunch of sanrio stuff.
3) Do you plan on getting more?
Yes, I do. I've always gotten bright colorful stuff because my skin is so pale and takes color really well, but ever since my feather tattoo I've wanted more black and gray.
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?
My family is fine with my tattoos. At first they weren't too happy, but they quickly warmed up to my tattoos, especially since I kept getting more. When I first met my husband he only had one tattoo, but has gotten several more since, and plans on getting more in the future. We got matching feather tattoos together, and it's my favorite one. All of my friends are fine with my tattoos, and some are heavily tattooed themselves.
I've never ran into any adversity because of my tattoos. I have a job where it's important to look professional, and no one even knew I had tattoos until I had already worked there for a year, and finally told everyone. Once they saw them they loved them and even used me in a few footwear ads than ran in a footwear magazine, catalog covers, and banners displayed at conventions. Random people have given me some weird looks, and strangers will sometimes make comments and that can be annoying at times, but there's not much you can do about it. I find that even if someone doesn't like the idea or look of tattoos they eventually warm up to it once they get to know you better.
5) What's the most interesting experience you've ever had in regards to your tattoos?
One interesting experience was going to San Diego Comic-Con and having people ask to take photos with me or of my tattoos. It happened several times both years that I went. Tattoos are so popular now and so many people have them that I found it very interesting that people were asking to take photos with me when others are walking around in super elaborate costumes.
6) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?
My advice is to find an artist that you really like who does solid work AND who you like as a person. If an artist is a jerk towards you, they probably aren't going to put the time or effort into giving you their best work. There are tons of awesome tattoo artists out there, you don't have to settle. It's also important to not just try to find the best deal, usually that just ends up in a crappy tattoo. Get tattoos of things you like, not just what is trendy at the time. I have six cat tattoos. That's probably not something a lot of other people would do, but I really like cats so it works for me.