Frank R. Daniel
06 March 2014
A Woman’s Love for Body Art
The hum of the tattoo gun in the next room makes it difficult to hear Pat’s soft voice, so I instinctively edge forward as she describes her journey as an artist, and more specifically an artist of permanence and prestige in a world dominated by men. Her charming, yet nervous laughter eases us both into the interview. I’ve caught her on a break, on one of her busiest days of the week. It’s a Saturday afternoon, and the walk-ins just keep coming. Pat’s clients come from varying demographics: the suburban soccer mom, the young college woman, the career hipster.
I first met Pat at White Buffalo Tattoo in December 2011 when a friend of mine was having a tattoo touched up. Pat worked with him to improve the design, and brought new life to a tattoo that my friend was no longer pleased with. In retrospect, I met Pat’s work before I met her. In fact, two of my friends had their first tattoos done by Pat. As I look around her work area I see the quirky, girlish femininity of a woman that is very much herself amongst men. This resilient yet humble confidence reminds me of why I count Pat as one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.
Though she came from obscure beginnings, Pat has made a name for herself at White Buffalo in the New Baltimore and Chesterfield area. A far cry from the pimply faced little girl that grew up in a rural town in Port Huron; she barely finished high school. While Pat struggled through high school she discovered in her senior year a knack for art. After graduating Pat immediately entered the work force. She bounced from dead-end job to dead-end job trying to find something that would interest her and at the same time pay the bills. The job disappointments continued for two more years and she finally gave up and moved back home with her parents. Remembering the love she had found in high school for art she applied for financial aid and started...