Heather Gee: The Illustrating Woman

With a smile that is almost as addictive to look at as her portfolio, Heather Gee wins the prize for being both a bona-fide sweetheart and extremely talented artist who works out of The Illustrated Man in Sydney, Australia. Before calling Sydney her home, Heather’s nomadic spirit took her to various shops throughout Europe, starting first in the United Kingdom, then traveling to Amsterdam for her apprenticeship. I imagine her dedication to the tattoo business combined with her lively personality would make it difficult for any shop, no matter the location, to bid her farewell.

close-up

Click through to read the entire interview!

What made you decide to go to Amsterdam after tattooing in the U.K.?
Just because I knew that the tattooing is really good in Amsterdam.

Do you mean the quality of the tattoos, or the consistency of the business?
Yeah, yeah, both. I mean, obviously, there are a lot more shops now than there were ten years ago, but at the time, I had a lot of people tell me there were good shops over there, and then… *nervous laugh* I’m not the best at interviewing, really.

As far as your own tattoos are concerned, which ones are your particular favorites?
Johnny [a fellow artist and friend working at Illustrated Man] just did a Band-Aid on my knee a while ago that I really like.

Is there a specific story behind it?
Nah, I just wanted a Band-Aid on my knee. *laughs*

So, back to your career: you said you started in the U.K. and then went to Amsterdam. Did you come to Sydney after that?
No, actually, I went back to the U.K. and then I went to Scotland and spent about two-and-a-half years in Glasgow, and then I came here after that.

You’ve done so much traveling between shops. What motivated you to change shops each time?
I just never found anywhere that I wanted to settle down and live in until I moved here. Yeah, I don’t know, I just always liked moving around a lot and I never really wanted to stay anywhere long-term before.

Working in all the shops you’ve worked in, and traveling so much, have you noticed a variation in the level of societal acceptance regarding tattoos?
No, honestly. It’s funny, tattoos are just as popular here as they are in London, or Amsterdam, for that matter. I think it’s interesting that nowadays I often tattoo young Muslim girls who come in and want only a woman to tattoo them, and I think that’s something that, five years ago, wouldn’t have happened. They get a small tattoo on their arm or shoulder, something that can be easily covered, so that’s always an interesting experience to have.

Do you have other people of different religions coming in more often looking for a tattoo for symbolic reasons?
Yeah, definitely. There’s a lot of Hindu guys who come in and get the Ohm symbol and various designs of Ganesh and stuff like that. It’s not like just the hippies getting the Ohm symbols now. The customers are definitely much more varied than before. You get the Sikhs that come in, and a lot of Lebanese guys get Arabic writing. I think everyone, in their own cultural way, is more comfortable with getting tattoos that are specific to their personal beliefs. I’ve done a lot of Sanskrit writing. So yeah, it’s interesting. There’s definitely more of that these days than just the typical small flash tattoo.

What aspects of your job do you find most rewarding?
The best thing, really, is the people. You get really nice people who you get to put cool stuff on, so you really love working on them. And just getting to do something different every day, as well. I mean, I know I’m going to be tattooing every day, but it’s a different mix, and that’s always fun.

If you could describe your job in one word, what would it be?
Pain. *laughs*

full-body spraying

Readers can check out Heather’s portfolio by visiting the Illustrated Man’s website at http://www.theillustratedman.com.au/.

megan80x80 Megan takes photographs and doesn’t finish meals so Darah can eat.

14 thoughts on “Heather Gee: The Illustrating Woman

  1. I look forward so much to the next interview being posted up! :D I check everyday to see if there is something new! I haven’t been disappointed yet. Great work all BME WT crew. ^^

  2. …that tattoo shop has the most annoying website, ever. Especially if your speakers are turned all the way up…

  3. This was rather long to be posted entirely on the main page… JUMP THROUGHS!!
    The interview also seems to end rather sudden as it lacked Darah’s soothing commentary to draw the reader back.
    I wish to know about the artists future plans as well… will she keep moving? Does she travel to conventions regularly, so as if I wanted to get work done by her…
    Also, how did she learn the trade? What compelled her to join the trade? I always find the history of peoples lives fascinating.
    Perhaps even, what/who are her personal favourite shops and/or artists? You will be traveling the world interviewing and going to the these places it seems particular that you haven’t inquired as to where the artists themselves would go given your opportunity.

  4. For the record, this article was written by Darah… we just haven’t sorted out the accounts on modblog so she can post directly, that’s why it’s showing up under my name as well.

  5. Yay! Heather did my first tattoo a few years back when she was in Scotland. I like how this World Tour is going to make the mod world a really small place.
    I wish her all the best in Oz.

  6. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » Editorial ModBlog » Where in the world is BME?

  7. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » Editorial ModBlog » Where in the world is BME?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>