Artist Profile: Briana Sargent, Buju Tattoo
In today's artist profile, we check the work of Briana Sargent, owner of the woman-operated Buju Tattoo in San Diego, California. In our Q&A, we talk about transcending tattoo styles, gender stereotypes in tattooing, and being a descendent of Salem Witches, among lots of other goodness:
Being a descendant of the Salem Massachusetts Witches, how has that legacy manifested itself personally and professionally?
If being an independent, creative, and strong woman back then was considered dark magic, it could be argued that myself and the other artists at my shop, Buju Tattoo, are guilty as charged. Contemporarily speaking, I feel as though there is still a bit of a resistance and that freethinking female artists have to swim upstream. But this challenge has just polished the copper vibrantly.
In light of the mass consumption of tattoo culture today, do you think tattooing still holds a kind of magic?
Definitely. There is still a subculture that exists and it's amazing to see it be both universal yet magical at the same time. The heavily tattooed one might always hold a certain mystique about them. It's the magic of adornment.
Your artists at Buju tattoo are predominantly women. Do you think there is a different vibe and dynamic to studios run by and housing a female tattoo crew?
Yes, I think there is a unique vibe at Buju Tattoo because of the female artist crew. We still exist in a culture that learns, then hopefully unlearns, gender stereotypes. By housing a pack of forward thinking women, the shop is a very open space that welcomes, without intimidating, anyone who comes through our door.
Are there still obstacles for women in the industry?
I think there might always be obstacles for women stepping in and taking strong roles in a trade that has been historically run by men. But the clientele has changed as well, there are more people who want a different sort of interaction and environment.
There's the old school saying, "Bold will hold," referring to thick outlines and bold color, and a lot of your work doesn't necessarily follow that adage. How do you approach your tattoos so that they have that staying power?
A heavy handed tattoo will look heavy handed day one and decade two. New styles have transcended, things have opened up, and people have more options. When tattooing without outlines, I make sure to use a high contrast, full range of color--from dark to light. I hope that my tattoos hold because the tattooed love them and care for them.
How do you stay fresh and motivated in creating new works -- what references do you look to, or activities you engage in to keep coming up with new ideas?
I stay fresh and excited about tattooing by making everyday at work an opportunity to meet new people and exchange new thoughts and ideas on how to further push the medium. I feel lucky to be an artist in the 21st century. Access to a diversity of thinkers, the never ending ream of images that is the internet, classic visual materials, and world travel is how I stay engaged.
What are you currently ...
Reading? The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho.
Listening? Drunk in Love by Beyonce
Watching? First Winter
Following? My friends and all the amazing things they're up to.
Finding? New ways to keep things interesting.
Check more of Briana's work on her site, Instagram and Facebook.