Annie Motel is a real life good witch tattoo artist at One Way Tattoos in Los Angeles. She has a BFA from the University of Washington in drawing and painting. She loves Old Hollywood, Palm trees, and wearing all black all day every day.
She is currently directing her first short film, “Tabloid Blvd,” about a Priscilla and Elvis Presley impersonator couple, and the love triangle that destroys their world.
She lives in a bungalow with her amazing boyfriend Aaron and fluffy cat Elvis, right behind a giant cemetery.
Inspirational Interview with Tattoo Artist, Annie Motel
How long did it take you to get to where you are now?
It took me two years from the time I decided I wanted to do tattoos to the time I was working in a tattoo shop as a legitimate tattoo artist. I worked out of home and had lessons one on one with other established tattoo artists to prepare me to get into a shop. I did have an apprenticeship for a little while and really loved the shop and the owners, so after I had been learning on my own, I came back and that’s where I work now.
What people, places or things motivated you to make your dreams come true?
I knew that I had the talent, but just needed the right teachers. I kept finding a new one where the last one dropped off. When I lost a teacher, I didn’t give up, I just searched for another. I was supported by many friends and people I didn’t know who trusted me enough to let me put permanent art on their body to gain experience. My boyfriend encouraged me, as well as my close friends and family.
I went to school for art, so a career as a tattoo artist was a dream job that I knew I could do, I just had to stay dedicated and not give up. Eventually I would like fame and fortune, but I am happy doing the best tattoos I can and know that my hard work will pay off.
I also got sober and that helped me to realize that I can do anything I set my mind to do. I had wanted to tattoo when I was still drinking but I was too afraid to start making the steps. After six months sober is when I got the courage to start the whole process of finding a mentor. I also had a boyfriend at the time who believed in me, named Oliver. Thank you Oliver, wherever you are!
How did you deal with fear, doubt and worry?
I sometimes tell myself that whatever I’m unhappy with, that was the old me who did it, and the new me learned from it and can and will do better next time. I believe that God is taking care of me and if I do my part then he will make sure I am safe and provided for.
What struggles did you encounter in order to become successful doing what you love?
I had people telling me that I was doing it the wrong way. People who would say they would help me then turn up MIA time and time again. I had people discourage me from pursuing it, saying it was the hardest job to get into and there was no money in it. I lost a few close friendships over my decision to pursue this career. I have also had my mom tell me that I should get a “safe” government job, countless times.
Who or what inspires you to stay motivated?
A man who gave me my third tattoo, Miguel Montgomery, or Uzi, told me to never give up and I will get there eventually, though it would be really hard. He has been on my team ever since I’ve known him and am grateful to know such a great artist and have his support.
I look up to Bob Roberts for his dedication to tattooing, as he has been doing it forever and is still doing it, and making great tattoos and art, really fast.
I look up to my bosses at my tattoo shop Gilberto and Luis Rios who constantly push me to do better work and give me advice whenever they can. Watching them work and listening to their advice has made me a better tattoo artist.
I know that by challenging myself, I can do better and better tattoos. I want to keep improving everyday and that fact alone motivates me to stay tattooing, and making art.