Tattoos have been around for a long time (one was found on a 2,500-year-old mummy) and, until recently, it's been a boy's club - both in who got them and who drew them. No longer. Females are getting them and drawing them, too. Kat Von D of The Learning Channel's "L.A. Ink" has been a pioneer in changing the industry and now there are lots of females right behind her. Twenty-two-year-old Izzy Rodriguez is one of them. She's worked as a tattoo artist at Mom's Tattoo Studio in Keene for the last two years and she can't think of anything she'd rather do.
How do people, especially men, react when they realize you are a tattoo artist?
It's still a little surprising to people. They don't expect to see a female artist because there are so few of us, but when they do they think it's really cool.
Do men ever say, "No way"?
Actually, no. I thought that might happen, but it hasn't.
Why do people get tattoos?
It's different for each person. For myself, it gives me a great feeling to know I have my artwork on my body and will have it forever. All my tattoos are part of me; it is who I am. I'm in love with my tattoos.
Do you think you'll ever get tired of looking at them?
If I do, I'll either cover them with others or try to freshen them up. You can get them removed with a laser, but I hear that hurts worse than getting the tattoo.
How much does it hurt?
It depends on how big and how intricate the tattoo is, and where it is. The rib area is probably the most sensitive. It also depends on the person's pain tolerance. Most customers, if it's their first tattoo, get amped up about it, but when they do it, they say it's not that bad.
Who's braver - men or women?
It varies from person to person. I can't really say.
Tattoos are going mainstream, aren't they?
Yeah, it's a cool thing to do now. We have a lot of college students coming in getting little things done here and there. And more older women are coming, too. One woman said she added getting a tattoo to her bucket list; it was just something she wanted to do. I tattooed my mom for her 50th birthday.
How did you get started?
I was always interested in art. I was taking some college courses when I got a job doing henna tattoos at Six Flags Park in Massachusetts. Then I got the job at Mom's.
Will tattoo artist be a lifetime career for you?
I may go back and get my degree one of these days, but right now I love what I'm doing. Every day is different.
This article appears in the October 2009 issue of New Hampshire Magazine