White Trash Flash
Sydney Dyer is the Artist of the Month
Tattoos, to me, mean a pretty picture, or something you cherish greatly being permanently marked on your meat suit for all eternity, or until you get it zapped off by a laser...Tattooing, itself, means everything to me. I truly eat, sleep, and breathe my craft.
When did you start tattooing and what was the driving force behind the choice to start in this career path? I started tattooing roughly 8 years ago. However I’ve been in and out of the industry (reception, volunteering, cosmetic tattooing since I was 17). I’m a firm believer that you absolutely need to put the drive and determination into pursuing this sacred craft. It should absolutely only be achieved by lots of hard work. My driving force was simply a passion. I wanted to be a tattooer as far back as I remember. Well, I mean I wanted to be a veterinarian or marine biologist as a little girl but who didn't! What do tattoos and tattooing mean to you? Tattoos, to me, mean a pretty picture, or something you cherish greatly being permanently marked on your meat suit for all eternity, or until you get it zapped off by a laser! I tend to favour a beautiful tattoo for aesthetic reasons over a strict one just for meaning, and bonus points if you could combine the two! Tattooing, itself, means everything to me. I truly eat, sleep, and breathe my craft. It has taken me to amazing, nearly unimaginable, places across the globe. I’ve met some of my best friends and have made some truly incomparable connections with clients. I hate to keep bragging but I really do have the greatest job of all time.
People are a little more aware that ink in your skin does not dictate what type of person you are! The downside is that a lot of steps are being overlooked and skipped in the process of making this a career. Because it’s more mainstream, there are more ‘kits’ on Amazon and more ‘instructional’ videos on YouTube..
How would you describe your tattoo style and how has it evolved to this over the years?
I describe it mainly as feminine delicate and vintage. I think nearly everyone of my tattoos checks at least 2 of those boxes. Oddly enough my style has been the same since out of the gates, just more refined now!
Tattooing used to be regarded as a sub-cultural activity, now it seems to have become much more mainstream. What are your thoughts about that?
There are parts of this I stand behind and parts that are definitely unfavourable. Good question! I think tattooing, becoming more mainstream, has slowly started to break down the stigmas and taboos. For example “well she has a lot of tattoos, she must be a criminal!” Nowadays, I believe people appreciate the artwork itself regardless of the canvas. People are a little more aware that ink in your skin does not dictate what type of person you are! The downside is that a lot of steps are being overlooked and skipped in the process of making this a career. Because it’s more mainstream, there are more ‘kits’ on Amazon and more ‘instructional’ videos on YouTube.
Little old grannies are wanting to rock a little heart or flower tattoo and I think it’s adorable and empowering.
I know it is important for you to be able to move around and travel as a tattoo artist and not be stuck in one shop or one place. Can you elaborate on that?
I am a firm believer that without change you cannot grow. Without my extensive travel background within the industry, I'd be nowhere close to where I am today. In addition, I attribute a lot of my personal successes to my travels between shops and cities. Knowledge makes the world go round. Every new tattooer I’ve shared a space with has inspired me or helped me grow. Plus, it’s so cool having pals all over the globe! It really is a trusted and amazing community. We have got to be, hands down, some of the funnest people.
Since you began tattooing, have you noticed changes in the demographic profile of people getting tattooed?
In the past 8 years I’ve really just noticed that the stigmas have drop. Little old grannies are wanting to rock a little heart or flower tattoo and I think it’s adorable and empowering.
It’s fun to be able to get ‘bad bitch’ tattooed on your eyelids and know you’ll still be accepted into your family.
As hard as we try, we cannot fully escape the Karen’s of this world.
Is there still a stigma attached to tattoos and tattooing? What are your thoughts in regards to face and hand tattoos as it becomes more popular?
Unfortunately, there will always be some form of stigma towards any changes made to the ‘natural’ body (facial cosmetic injections, plastic surgery, and even hair dying). As hard as we try, we cannot fully escape the Karen’s of this world. In regards to hand/face tattoos, clients are getting more comfortable tattooing those “out there” areas; and I’m here for it. It’s fun to be able to get ‘bad bitch’ tattooed on your eyelids and know you’ll still be accepted into your family. But be smart about it.
Has being a woman in this industry helped you in some ways or has it come with disadvantages? Which women in the industry have inspired you the most?
This is a double edged sword for sure. I believe being a kind and somewhat charming youth helped me develop bonds and connections at a young age which unintentionally have benefited me years later. Although I don’t necessarily peg any of my advantages to my gender. For example, my clients are 97% straight females, so they are not buying any of the tickets I’m selling. Rather they just enjoy my artwork for what it is. I have unfortunately struggled with misogyny in the workplace, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Tattooing is a tough industry and I appreciate every negative set back because it has helped push me to where I am today. My biggest female inspirations are my friends. As cheesy as that is, I’m honoured that my peers & idols are some of my best pals. *cough Jody Dawber cough*
Who is Sydney in her private life?
Sydney likes to over share on the internet so c’mon and take the ride if ya wanna know! I am a passionate dog mom of two needy pitbulls. I love to antique and barter on Facebook marketplace. No amount of driving will deter me from the right find online. I love a good cocktail bar, loud music and good people. Pre-Covid you could find me terrorizing Vegas, soaking up some rays in LA, or roaming around Texas looking for the perfect silver ring. I love podcasts, audio books, complaining about working out, crafting, patio beers and having fun with life. It’s too short to not live every minute to the fullest, and to not pet every dog I pass by.
Can you tell me more about your Joe Rogan tattoo
Sure can! It was tattooed a little over one year ago at the Austin tattoo convention, by my friend, Sadee Glover. I had committed to the idea years back, and it was one of those “right place right time” to pull the trigger. Unfortunately Covid hit immediately after getting the portrait, so I haven’t really been able to take my Joe anywhere cool (like to one of Joe’s stand up routines). In all seriousness, I’ve been an avid listener to the Joe Rogan podcast for the last 6 years; so fuck it."
What is your advice to people starting out in the industry, especially young women?
Work hard, be kind, do it the proper way. May take a year, may take a decade. Put them big girl britches on and make it happen!