In Living Colour

Published Name: KyleenAge: 29nProfession: Server nHometown: TorontonInstagram handle: @kyleeunlikely_
“I hate getting tattooed. I think about how much it hurts, but eventually I’m able to Zen out by counting my breath. I usually listen to the same song for an hour or so as a type of meditation. The older I get, the worse I sit. My tattoos don’t have any meaning. I have one of my dog, Kona. I like that one a lot because he’s my favourite dog.
My biggest turn off is people trying to pick me up by asking about my tattoos. Turn ons are gratitude, confidence, and compassion. I guess these can be applied to any season and not just summer but in the summer my ideal night is a quiet walk with someone I love and my pups, smoking a joint and drinking a sparkling water, making a little fire by the lake and eating snacks—quiet and sentimental.”
Name: Michael NguyennAge: 29nProfession: Talent recruiter at a tattoo studionHometown: Toronto, OntarionInstagram: @Hii.Miikey
“I first got into tattoo culture back in high school when I came across an artist named Jun Cha. His portfolio was all this amazing renaissance work, statues, sculptures and faces, and I was hooked. My first tattoo was a nautical star with "Dream Big" on a banner on my arm. When I’m under the needle, I feel pain and excitement because the thing that gets me through these grueling sessions is the thought of the finished product. When I started collecting tattoos, I would look at physical portfolio books at the front desks of certain shops. Nowadays you can find any artist online through social media, getting access to artists is easier than ever. That means more people are collecting tattoos, which I think is great. It shows that a once taboo thing is now being accepted in most places and that's a positive thing. I think the culture has become more progressive, more educated, more competitive. In the summer, I don't do anything to my tattoos. I don't really use sunscreen or even put lotion on. I just leave them as is. Lastly, I think palm trees in California is what summer is all about. I hate how Toronto summers are really short and it's only really summer for June and July. But tell you what, put me on any beach in the world, with a joint and I will just vibe out."
Name: Jordan D. RoynProfession: Fashion Model/BoilermakernHometown: Toronto, Ontario nInstagram: @jordan.d.roy nWebsite: nn“My father has a small traditional tattoo with my mother's name in a heart. Since I was a toddler, I have always been fascinated by that tattoo. When I was younger and sitting in the chair I would feel adrenaline, I would be trying to be tough and show no pain. You know, all the "tough guy" shit. As time went on and I got to know my local shop more I learned how tattoo culture works, but also, I made friends and being in the chair became a time to joke around and bitch about significant others or listen to music and talk shit. I still have fun with it all, but it hurts. I'm not tough. nIt's difficult to choose a favourite tattoo, the ones for my daughters are obviously important. My personal style has yet to be defined. I pull my style from all my interests which are a full spectrum: avant garde, versatile, chameleon are three words I would stitch together. I can wear high heels and a skirt and make it look masculine, I can look like a member of Motley Crue the next day, or like I am in a black metal band. But I also love to wear suits and overdress for occasions, or just for the sake of being classic.”
Name: Ashley Brewsmith
Age: 39nProfession: Hair Stylist/Salon OwnernHometown: TorontonInstagram: @ashleyhairsmith
“My dad has lots of American traditional pieces that I always admired as a child, then I saw photos of the tattooed ladies of Victorian times and that was it for me. I took my first tax return a month after my 18th birthday and spent it on a pixie tattoo on my shoulder. From there, I made the jump pretty quick. It was always the plan to be covered. My second tattoo was the next step in turning that pixie into part of a larger back piece, but my favourite piece is a matching one my husband and I have— matching hip tattoos that display our motto “Love, Trust, Dirty Stuff.”
Name: Lane Dorsey
Age: 29nProfession: Photographer & Fashion DesignernHometown: TorontonInstagram: @lanedorsey
”Tattoos aren’t exclusive to criminals anymore, so that’s cool. Everyone has tattoos now-a-days. I think my favourite is, as cliché as that might be, is my first piece—Camera Aperture on right inner forearm. It holds a great story behind it. Growing up, my grandfather would always campaign and joke around about when he would drive me to get an earring. I didn’t ever want an earring . But one day I called him up asking him to drive me to get a tattoo. He didn’t hesitate whatsoever. He drove me to the shop and I went through with the simple walk-in tattoo. As for the classic, What do I tell my mom? aspect of everyone’s first tattoo, I can everything turned out fine—and despite my mother’s concerns—I’m still quite employable.”
Name: Karo Raw
Age: 35nProfession: Pro Makeup artist & Harley Davidson Rider nHometown: Toronto, Ontario nInstagram: @_karo_raw_ nWebsite:
“I define tattoo culture as sexy, badass, expressive, and bold. I have my mother’s portrait on my left arm. My mom is my best friend and I wanted to honor that by getting this incredible piece on my body. I think my style is very rock ‘n’ roll. I like a lot of leather pieces; I like my style with a hint of classy and edgy. I love summers for motorcycle riding. I try to ride as often as possible. I think the perfect summer night is up north in Muskoka, at my sister’s cottage, that’s where I go to get away from the city. We make bonfires there, swim in the lake, sing songs and have a beautiful time. I also love riding at night. It’s very therapeutic for me. I love finding beautiful hidden gems on my two wheels."
Name: Bella MitchellnAge: Ageless
Profession: Marketing, Communications & Creative Strategist nHometown: Ajax, OnnInstagram: @missyinkbella
“Turn Ons: Heat. Patios. Beach. Skin.
Turn Off: The Male-Gaze. Air-Conditioning.nThe initial appeal for me with tattoos was that they just made people stand-out and my initial tattoo is still visible; a claddagh – which was totally influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had a claddagh ring from a very young age and the meaning of them to this day sticks with me. Love, loyalty, and friendship. To me, tattoo culture is a world of decoration and expression that I always knew I needed to partake in. And advice to a novice? 100 SPF, enough said. If I could smoke a joint with anyone? If I don’t say Keanu Reeves, anyone who knows me will know I am lying.
Name: Just JohnnAge: 28
Profession: MusiciannHometown: TorontonInstagram: @JustJohnForReal
“My ideal summer night is live music, and leaving the party early to smoke with the homies. I got my first tattoo at 18. It was a Kanye West Lyric, “Your Attitude Determines Your Latitude.” I wanted to leave a trail of mantras to help guide me through life. I feel like my tattoos sort of gradually happened and it became a way of archiving my legacy and remembering mantras that help me through life. My favourite piece is my “for - give” tattoo on my neck. I look at life as for giving and not for getting. And it’s my strongest reminder of love.”