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Tattoo artist Tianna Andrews draws a tattoo on a client’s arm at the Ghost Tattoo Studio in La Brea. PHOTOS BY LINCOLN HOLDER –
Customers who visit the Ghost Tattoo Studio in La Brea are often surprised to get the chance to get a tattoo by 12-year-old Tiana Andrews.
Tianna proudly follows in the footsteps of her father, Ghost Andrews, who has been a tattoo artist for 15 years and opened the studio two years ago.
But before Tianna could even stick a needle in anyone’s skin, she had to learn how to do it, and there was no better teacher than her father.
Newsday Kids spoke to Tianna, who was encouraged by her father to start tattooing in 2019 when she was 11.
“I was nervous at first. He (my father) brought me his own tattoo machine and I started practicing at home.
“I started with grapefruit and then moved on to pig skin until my dad bought fake skin that I can practice on,” she said.
While she was preparing for last year’s SEA exam, practicing her newfound skills took a back seat.
But when the exam was over last August, Tianna’s father asked her to tattoo him. She was afraid not to get the tattoo but to hurt her father.
For the tattoo, Tianna created a Gye Nyame symbol that took about 45 minutes to complete. The symbol from West Africa stands for the supremacy of God over all life on earth.
Since then, Tianna has tattooed over ten clients, most of whom were recommended by her father.
“So far, I’ve done a peony design (a flower) for customers, an anime girl, one of my favorite tattoos I’ve done so far, and small symbols.
Tianna Andrews sketched a design for a tattoo. – –
“Whenever I practice new or different (designs), I go on the wrong skin and practice there.
“I usually speak to clients while I’m tattooing them because people are really nice to interact with,” said Tianna, who gets most of her tattoo ideas from Pinterest.
The hardest thing for Tianna to get a tattoo is maintaining the correct needle depth.
She explained that if the needle goes too deep into a person’s skin while tattooing, the skin can be damaged.
If the needle on the back does not go deep enough into the skin, the tattoo design will no longer be visible on the skin after completion.
While tattooing is fun for Tianna, her dad also makes sure it is a learning experience.
He wants her to appreciate the value of an honest dollar.
“My goal is not for her to be a tattoo artist per se, but she needs to have the option.
“If something is going to happen in life and she needs something to fall back on, she has that ability to make a living.
“She has her ledger where she writes how much money she makes, how much goes to the store, and how much money goes to the credit union. I equip them for life.
“Even if she chooses not to tattoo and start another business, at least she has the principles and foundation to decide which business she chooses,” Andrews said.
Framed and hanging in the tattoo parlor is the first dollar Tianna ever made.
Andrews said tattooing Tianna was a great experience that helped him learn more about her.
Tattoo artist Tianna Andrews takes time with a needle on a client. Tianna says that if the needle goes too deep, the skin can be damaged. – –
While Tianna works hard in the tattoo parlor, she’s also one in the classroom.
After taking the SEA exam last year, she passed St. Joseph’s Convent in San Fernando and received a scholarship from Atlantic LNG for her performance on the exam.
“I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. But I know I want to keep tattooing because it’s fun, relaxed, and fun. So I’ll keep tattooing as a side appearance. “
When Tianna isn’t in the online class or the tattoo shop, she loves to watch anime and read comics.
Anyone interested in Tianna’s tattoos can follow her on Instagram @ tee_tat2