Artist Profile: Karrie Arthurs, Blackbird Electric Tattoo
Using the stippling technique to beautiful effect, Karrie Arthurs of Blackbird Electric Tattoo in Alberta, Canada, creates detailed and refined blackwork tattoos, which could catch your eye from across the room. While she utilized her fine arts degree to build an extensive tattoo portfolio in different genres when she first began tattooing in 2000, in the past three to four years, dotwork has dominated her work. In 2007, Karrie opened Blackbird Electric Tattoo, which is not limited to custom tattooing, but also accommodates walk-ins.
I shot Karrie a few questions about her work and also some personal tidbits, and she graciously took the time to share her thoughts:
I'm partial to dotwork, being covered in it myself. When did you start working with the technique?
I started heavily experimenting with textures in my tattoo work, such as dotwork, between 3 and 4 years ago. Being inspired by tattooers who use it, and also making the transition to have my tattoo work mirror my art work, which was already a play on textures.
What are some of the challenges and also the highlights of working primarily in black using stippling?
The challenges for me are trying to achieve levels of contrast and dimension with textures. Its also easy to get pigeonholed into repeating a certain thing, but luckily I have I'm happy working in this medium now, and I am blessed with great clients. The great things about blackwork are it is timeless and dynamic, and ages so well on all skin. And I save money on ink. Haha!
Where do you look to for reference?
Reference is found in my daily life, music, a passage of words, antiques....it approaches me from anywhere; you just have to look.
What do you love to tattoo and what do you shy away from?
I love to tattoo work that inspires me, challenges me and that I wholeheartedly love to do. I typically stay away from anything that doesn't, or something that someone is better at. I work with great tattooers who I refer readily.
What are you currently ...
Reading? Eckhart Tolle
Listening? Black Angels
Watching? The Leftovers
Following? Too many cool artists to list. Literally following my kids.
Find more on Karrie's tattoo work on the Blackbird Custom Tattoo site, and Instagram. Also check her online store for some wonderful artwork, including an original drawing in ink on an 1895 US postmarked envelope -- 119 year old paper.