Inside the Studio: Ariane Lapointe

A View into the Life of a Tattoo Artist in 2020

Sheila Arellano // Contributor

The body is a canvas, a blank slate on which people can express themselves and their identity. Tattoos are a vessel to communicate emotions and convey memories. They adorn one’s skin and enhance already existing beauty. Tattoos are as personal and ever changing as their meanings that evolve through time.

In the same way, the tattoo industry is forced to evolve and adapt. Like every industry in the world, it has been affected by the global pandemic. Tattoo artists all over the world have been impacted as unexpected consequences tumbled into everyone’s lives at the beginning of March. Ariane Lapointe provides an insider’s view into the changes brought by COVID-19. 

Lapointe is a tattoo artist based in Vancouver. Originally from Quebec City, she has been on the West Coast for four years. Throughout her career, she found her style while learning how to draw. She began tattooing four years ago, but she only dove into it full-time in April when everything shut down. “When the big quarantine happened, I found myself trying new mediums. Before I didn’t have the time to try these things, but COVID helped me explore, which was very refreshing,” Lapointe said. 

The shut down also revealed something surprising for the tattoo industry. For some, crises can be blessings in disguise. With the shutdown, people became more spontaneous. “I am more busy than if COVID didn’t happen,” she said. “I think people are craving tattoos quite a bit. Because we might close again, there is a sense of urgency.” 

Tattoo shared with permission from Ariane Lapointe.

However, the pandemic has definitely affected tattoo shops physically. The number of clients and artists is limited and the sense of community has dimmed. However, Lapointe hasn’t been discouraged from this as she has built a community online. “Growing an Instagram platform is nerve-racking and awesome at the same time,” she said. “Instagram is the only way I have pursued to build a community. But it also grew through word-of-mouth.”

Today, tattoo artists are adapting to the new world. Even though creativity might be limited due to the lack of physical interactions, the community is still present online. As Lapointe mentioned, “The creativity I would get from going out or seeing other people is gone. But apart from that, tattooing has not been that different. Obviously we have to wear masks and gloves, but all the sanitation is the same as before. It hasn’t been too bad, which we are all very grateful for.”

Ariane Lapointe’s stunning work can be found on Instagram @strawberry_softserve.

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