There’s quite a bit of intersectionality between tattoos and low self-esteem. For one, it’s painful, but it’s not until you actually experience it that you realize how much. On the flip side, tattoos are often the medicine of choice for those with a negative self-image. And for a certain tattoo artist and color philosopher, nothing could be truer. Shy but extremely bubbly, she comes alive when talking about art. In fact, she has an INCREDIBLE way of breaking down what a client wants, while unknowingly educating fellow enthusiasts in the process. The result – electrifying excitement for what’s sure to be a breathtaking piece of art.
The grand finale? A bolt of mega self-assurance.
She’s a power source. She is Violet Williams.
Hailing from Virginia's Chesapeake Bay but rooted in North Carolina for most of her life, Violet discovered her love for ink at a young age. An unfortunate perception of her body image turned into a way to flip negativity into creativity. "I've always hated a good majority of parts of my body,” Violet said. “So when I started covering it in tattoos, it made me feel so much more confident."
She found solace and empowerment through the transformative art of tattooing. Influenced by family members like her uncle and father who were inked, Violet dreamed of becoming a tattoo artist since she was 10.
Once she began tattooing at the age of 19, Violet dove into the world of ink with both excitement… and trepidation. While some artists begin tattooing by experimenting on their friends, she decided that the best canvas to start inking was herself.
"I did my first tattoo for the first time on myself, and it was terrifying not knowing what a tattoo feels like," Violet recalled, reflecting on the nerve-wracking experience. Yet despite the initial fear and the undeniable pain, particularly on her ankles and foot, she couldn’t stop. It marked the beginning of a profound connection that would evolve over the years; tattooing herself became an intimate and challenging ritual.
"I've tattooed the majority of my tattoos mainly because [it’s a personal] preference. I don't like people touching me as often, and I have to trust that person to be able to tattoo me," she said. From ankles to sternum, inner ears to thighs, Violet’s endurance of an excruciating process only add to her level of determination. "I remember when I tattooed my foot, I probably cried so hard the entire time. That thing lasted probably two and a half hours and it should have only lasted 45 minutes," she recalls with a mix of cringe and humor. However painful, it simply highlights the resilience that completely characterizes her artistic approach.
What Would Heathens Do?
While she jokingly called herself an "absolute heathen" for experimenting with tattoos on her own skin at such a young age, the jumpstart transformed her into a seasoned artist committed to bringing confidence and comfort to her clients.
Violet's tattooing style is a blend of empathy and prowess, guided by a deep understanding of her clients' fears and desires. "Meeting the client before you tattoo them could actually help them a whole lot. Especially with newcomers, or virgin skin, they're terrified…" she acknowledges.
Her unconventional mindset has encouraged clients to choose styles that resonate with them, whether for meaning, humor, or sheer aesthetics. With Violet, it's not just about the ink; it's about creating an experience that reflects the unique personality of everyone she tattoos.
Colorfulness akin to Godliness
Violet's tattooing style takes on the fluidity and vibrancy of watercolor, a medium she passionately embraced, confessing, "I've only ever painted in watercolor, so having my favorite medium as an actual tattoo style is really dope. God, I love color."
Despite once favoring black and grey, her infatuation led her to explore the expansive possibilities of color. “People have either greens, blues, reds, yellows and oranges in their skin. You can do a lot with color,” she explains. "I try my best to find the perfect color for the perfect skin type."
Whether she’s tattooing herself or others, Violet’s journey shows a commitment to helping others discover their confidence through body art. She shares the importance of prioritizing the big picture over fixating on tiny details when starting out. But just as emphatically, she advocates for kindness, recognizing its role in fostering strong relationships with clients. "Keep your kindness because if you keep your kindness, you can create better relationships with your clients," she advises.
With a wish for artists to continue to support each other and share their knowledge, Violet also dismantles the notion of gatekeeping. In her vision for the industry, she champions the need for more women in the field. To her, it’s hard not to notice the positive impact, especially with female clients, and she stresses the comfort and empowerment that women often find in the presence of female tattoo artists. Her infectious energy and commitment to making clients feel at ease underscores her genuine passion for creating a welcoming and inclusive tattooing experience.
“That's how almost all of my people come to me… because they feel it in their gut,” she declares. "Tattooing is probably going to be my greatest love, do you know what I mean?"
Indeed, we do. ⚡️