REGINA — Nearly half of Amanda Crews’ body is tattooed. One of her biggest features an aqua-coloured diamond entwined in a bed of roses that stretches across her chest from shoulder to shoulder. Two others sit just above the piece, creeping up each side of her neck and landing near her ears.
For those who don’t like what they see, Crews is unapologetic.
“I remember a time when women didn’t want to get elaborate tattoos because they thought it would take away their femininity, take away their beauty,” she said. “But nowadays, it’s considered a thing of beauty ... Having this full sleeve is making them more attractive. It’s a great mentality to have, and it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve noticed that myself.”
A recent U.S.-based poll conducted by Lightspeed Research shows more American women are getting tattooed than men. What’s more, 89 per cent of respondents said it doesn’t matter that some don’t approve of their body art.
Although similar Canadian statistics are hard to find, Ashlie Berehula, owner of the Victoria Street studio Tattoo Nebula, said the number of her female clients is rising, and those looking to get inked are going bigger and bolder. In the past six months, the number of male and female clients has nearly been equal, at 25 and 22, respectively.
She believes part of the shift comes courtesy of shows such as NY Ink and LA Ink — which features female shop owner Kat Von D covered from head to toe in black and coloured tattoos — that have led to the tattoo culture becoming more acceptable to more of the mainstream public.
“The number is rising, but it’s rising in a different way,” said Berehula, 22. “They’re getting more noticeable, bigger tattoos. Women have always been getting tattoos, they just haven’t always been this open about it as males have.”
She and Crews couldn’t be happier about that mindset. The two have always viewed tattooing as artwork, and to have a growing number share that perception gives them added fulfilment in their craft.
Crews, who is also a tattoo artist in the city, said she inks women of various ages and professions from teachers to chief executive officers to grandmothers. Some female clients also feel more comfortable having the work done by another female, she added.
Both women have been in the business for more than five years, but have considered themselves body art aficionados since their preteen years. Each has nearly 20 tattoos and they aren’t letting up any time soon.
“If I don’t tattoo my face, I expect to be a floating head on a body of art,” Crews said with a laugh.
It’s all part of the job. Not only is the number of women getting tattooed on the rise, females artists are currently a hot commodity in an industry that has long been dominated by men.
“It’s just so amazing how far we’ve come,” she said. “I think tattoos are the best way to depict yourself because you have them forever. There’s nothing more personal.”