By Renee Mandrake
Renee Mandrake likes to write about tattoos and is part of our international pool of collaborators. If you like want to see your work published here too, click here to send a 400-word article.
Hailing from Detroit, tattoo artist Susannah Popov-Griggs has spent the past ten years hard at work developing her confident, fluid lines, expressive color palette, and crafting her own dramatically delicate tattoo aesthetic that is currently defining her as one of the forewomen in the realm of feminine tattooing.
The fluidity present in Susannah’s art is mirrored in her non-linear path into tattooing, even later in her career stumbling onto color florals, for which she is now known.
“I didn’t really know tattooing was for me. It wasn’t exactly a straight line. When I was 18 I hung around tattoo artists but they all did new school which I wasn’t interested in. I thought tattooing would be too stressful.”
When I was about 24 I met my teacher. He did fine line black and grey, which is what got me interested (in tattooing) because I was into fine line illustration.
Seeing someone’s work that didn’t look like other work that was popular at the time is what got me really interested (in getting started). I served a traditional apprenticeship under Dennis Warner, who worked at a custom tattoo shop. I apprenticed for a year and a half.
Dennis was influential, but Caryl Cunningham really mentored me past the initial learning. She opened my eyes to floral and realism, being a better business woman, and helped build my career.
It was only through navigating away from a tattoo market that, at the time, was saturated with New School style tattoos, that Susannah was able to find her initial inspiration in fine line illustration and nature-inspired art.
After a quick glance at her work on Instagram, one can’t deny Susannah’s works are on the edge of realism. However, it is the elimination of some of the mundane grittier details and an emphasis of expressive personality into her subjects that provides a great deal of the depth and meaning that can be found in Susannah’s art.
In the words of Georgia O’Keefe, “Nothing is less real than realism, details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get the real meaning of all things.”
Feminine art can be described as delicate and pretty. Susannah’s work is perfectly pretty and while delicate, her art is certainly not dainty. It is definitely not weak. It is confident. It is fluid. It is decidedly, dramatically delicate. She doesn’t shy away from bold nor dull, white nor black, light nor dark. Like nature, Susannah’s work has balance.
Sponsored by Eternal and MedTatt, Susannah is always in pursuit of making that one perfect tattoo.
If you can’t make the trip to see her at Eternal’s Taylor, Michigan location, she regularly attends and tattoos at the Amsterdam Tattoo Convention, The Motor City Tattoo Expo, and paints live at Hell City.
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