#InspiringWomen: March

Welcome to The Bandwagon’s new feature for 2016 – #InspiringWomen. These posts aim to not only celebrate successful women, but also to encourage others to follow their dreams. Meet March’s lady, Sonia Jade Byrne.
IMG_1871Sonia’s a tattoo artist living in Devon, England. She previously worked at Loki Ink in Plymouth, which was quite literally round the corner from my house, and resulted in me spending an absurdly large portion of my student loan on tattoos. And I regret nothing. She’s just opened her own shop with her partner in Exeter (Burn The Witch Tattoo and Apparel), which you need to visit.

Sonia managed to find some time to chat to me about being a tattoo artist, and what being a woman means to her.

What made you want to join your industry?

I think what really made me joined the industry at the beginning was my love of art, and the idea that someone would want to wear my artwork on them for life – if you think about it, that’s quite an honour, and a responsibility. I feel that I have always had a strong desire to do my absolute best in my profession. Always look forward and push yourself.
What challenges have you had to overcome in order to get where you are today?
At the start of my career there was one guy who went around telling people that he only got tattooed by me so he could look at my breasts. It soon got back to me, and he was subsequently banned from the shop. Sexist comments like that didn’t tend to happen in the shops I’ve worked in; the people I work with don’t tend to stand for that, male or female.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Being a woman to me is all about being happy with who I am. I have never let anything negative get in my way, and never will.
In what ways has your gender helped or hindered you in your industry?
I don’t think my gender has helped or hindered me at all. Being a successful tattoo artist nowadays is all about producing high quality, clean artwork. That said, I guess some women might feel more comfortable getting tattooed by another woman, particularly if they want a tattoo in more private areas.
Name some women who inspire you.
I am really inspired by Frida Kahlo. She was a Mexican self-portrait artist who suffered from lifelong health problems. She was strong, bold, and beautiful! Kahlo never hid her personality from the world. She swore, drank, wore amazing and outrageous clothing – and most importantly, she bared her soul through her incredible artwork.
What advice would you give to young women who want to go into your industry?10683311_10205324895859095_1189363076_o
I would say be yourself – don’t wear a mask! And keep pushing yourself to create artwork you’re proud of.
You can find Sonia’s artwork on Instagram, @sonia_jade or @burn_the_witch_tattoo
They’re are also on Facebook and Twitter, @burnthewitchtat.

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