Yennika Ekstrand is a tattoo artist in Portland, Maine. Formerly a graphic designer, she got burned out from working at a computer all day and wanted to do something else. A retired tattoo artist took her under his wing and from her, Yennika was able to learn the art and prepare for licensing. That was over five years ago, and now Yennika is thriving as a tattoo artist and is based at Fortune Teller, a shop where "everyone has agency over their own work and schedules" and creates in a relaxed atmosphere.
We gave Yennika first dibs on our brand new, tattoo flash art inspired Rockabilly clog (exclusively available on sanita.com!) and recently visited her at work to see how she likes her new clogs.
Everyone has a pair of “shop” shoes that are clean and comfy.
What do you love about tattoo art?
As a visual artist, you never know if someone will find a connection to one of your works. As a tattoo artist though, you’re creating something for one person who has an immediate connection to the art. It feels like you’re giving that person a new piece of themselves; it’s a special process in that way.
What inspires your art?
I like designs that make me smile - this keeps my job fun.
What's your favorite thing to tattoo?
I love tattoo designs of animals or people - it feels like I’m giving my client a new forever friend.
What is important for a good tattoo?
Longevity - it takes practice to get the ink in nicely but once you figure that out, you need to create designs that will look good for lifetime, not something that will all blur together into an ink blob over time.
Why is good footwear important to a tattoo artist?
We’re mostly sitting [but] when standing to tattoo, I’m hunched over and sometimes contorted to reach the right spot. Good footwear ensures that at least my feet won’t be hurting too. Black shoes are a go-to because we’re usually using black ink and a blackshoe will hide any accidental drips.
What do you like about this clog (the Rockabilly) in particular?
I like that they could be a fun pop to an all black outfit or they could work for my favorite fashion statement – “power clashing”.
If you could describe your Sanita clogs in a few words what would they be?
Comfortable, utilitarian, hands free slip-on.
You need to create designs that will look good for lifetime
What is a tattoo artist's "uniform" and how does comfortable footwear play a role in that?
One of the perks of the job is we can really wear whatever we want. Everyone has a pair of “shop” shoes that are clean and comfy.
Advice for aspiring tattoo artists?
You just gotta tattoo a lot! It’s the only way to figure it out and build that muscle memory. Also, take care of your body, stretch and take breaks.
I like designs that make me smile - this keeps my job fun
Follow Yennika on Instagram @ye_eks
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