Lacey isn’t new to the game. She’s been tattooing since before clients walked in with designs found on Pinterest. But she’s one of the best, with years of experience and enough character to light up a room.
I’m just an old lady trying to keep up. I like to have fun and I like to swear a lot. That’s a whole other art form in itself. It’s fan-f-ing-tastic.
When she began her career, women weren’t really prevalent in the tattoo industry.
I started working in a shop in Salt Lake, Utah. Back then there weren't a lot of women tattooing. Those that did really paved the way for the rest of us and I have so much appreciation and respect for them.
Utah wasn’t exactly booming with tattoos in the early 1990’s.
There weren't really a lot of tattoos around town. If you found a tattoo magazine it was like finding a treasure.
It wasn't until after high school that Lacey got into tattooing. But she’s always been into art. In fact, her cool parents supported her in a very non-traditional way.
My mom and dad let me do whatever I wanted, they let me draw on the walls. Then they just painted over it. And then I got to do it all over again.
When she graduated from decorating her childhood home, Lacey began an apprenticeship that lasted a year. She had great mentors, a great environment but one thing she didn’t have was the internet. It wasn’t a thing back then. So she had to learn it all in real time.
It was so much harder than I thought. I learned that everyone’s skin is so different. You have to adapt every time for every person’s skin. But I loved that it wasn't a regular corporate job. You get to be creative and make art, all while hanging out with other artists. And we still get to joke around and talk a little shit to each other. But all in good fun.
Being around a while, she’s also noticed the shift in tattoo culture.
Back then, you were a little freaky if you had a tattoo. Now you’re freaky if you don’t.
Lacey is one of the few that doesn’t claim a particular style. Because of her training, she was forced to be good at just about everything. And, she likes it that way.
As much as artists like to think it’s about us, it’s not. It’s about the person getting the tattoo. I like to keep myself pretty well rounded so I don’t box myself into a corner with one style. That could get boring over time.
So when you visit her, bring more than Pinterest with you.
Look at paintings and pictures for inspiration. Give me more than one reference. Maybe even take your own photos of things that you like. Make it personal.
Some of the most memorable tattoos she’s done are memorial pieces. One in particular gets her choked up, even today.
There was a woman who lost her fiancé. She got his handprint tattooed on her. It was really emotional and while I was tattooing her, his favorite song came on the radio. Memorial tattoos stand out to me a lot. They’re the most meaningful you can get and it’s an honor to do that for someone. I have memorial tattoos on myself, not only for people but for my animals as well. And they’re my favorite.
Some of her other favorite memories are starting at Hart & Huntington and working on the TV show, Inked, where she got to tattoo a very special couple.
I was working at a different tattoo shop on the strip. I heard there was a shop opening at a casino and no one had done that at the time. When they were accepting portfolios, I thought, that sounds fun and crazy. Carey Hart and John Huntington looked at my work. They hired me and I was right, it was fun and crazy. The best experience was when we did the show Inked. I got to tattoo my mom and dad on TV. That was special. Especially since my dad passed away, the footage of that is even more precious for me.
Luckily for Lacey, she’s surrounded by people she really likes.
I can honestly say, I like all the weirdos I work with, they’re my kind of weird.
Many people can’t say that, especially when you get a bunch of artists together. I love brainstorming with them. Just a little add-on can take a tattoo to a whole new level. We are like a fun, slightly dysfunctional, extended family.
Another thing that inspires Lacey is all the new blood in tattooing.
All these damn kids coming out of art school that are fantastic. It took me years to learn what they’re doing. I’m an old lady now. They are awesome and I am amazed by what they’re creating.
She’s really not an old lady at all. But she has no plans to retire when she is.
I don’t think anyone retires from tattooing. It’s hard to stop. We keep doing it, maybe because we don’t know what else to do. Tattooing really does kind of creep into most aspects of your life. And you have to be okay with that. Hell, even most tattoo artist’s house starts to look like a tattoo shop. My house is overrun with skulls. It’s not something you just do. It’s something you are.