Hey ladies and gents! I’m Christine and Elkee graciously allowed me to do a guest post on her blog and I am soooo excited because I have the honor of showcasing an amazingly talented young woman. Elkee had come to me with desires of adding and expanding content on her blog and as we were discussing the endless possibilities, one factor that we strongly felt was significant and wanted to emphasize was the importance of women being presented in a positive and productive light. I can’t express enough my disdain for women solely being mirrored as inanimate objects of desire that I constantly see being displayed in nearly all aspects of media outlets. While I don’t want to get into any sort of rant, however, I personally believe in the further exploration of the entirety of the female persona and I figured, what better way to begin than with an up-and-coming artist extraordinaire?
Meet Hannah Lopez. I have known her since junior high school and her radiant personality and upbeat disposition are just the way I remembered them to be. Ms. Lopez is currently an apprentice at Ink Sessions Tattoo in North Hollywood, CA and an employee at Blackheart Lingerie in the Glendale Galleria and while she may have a lot on her plate, one thing she always tries to make time for is her artwork. It is a craft she has been perfecting since a very young age and still continues to learn from the best and develop her expertise. It is my utmost pleasure to introduce Hannah Lopez and have her be the catalyst of my first piece.
So Hannah, have you always been artistically inclined? What was your inspiration to first start diving into drawing and art in general?
My grandma, on my mother’s side, was a very artistic and creative person herself and she was just always supportive of my artwork. She was always throwing art supplies at me and constantly encouraging me to further my artistic abilities so she was definitely the biggest inspiration to me as I was growing up and finding my way into art.
What mediums do you find yourself gravitating to?
I am most comfortable and mainly work with pencils and colored pencils but recently I have been doing pen and charcoal portraits. Some other forms of mediums that I have explored are more experimental in my opinion and include the likes of wood burning and sewing amongst others. Another form I’ve experimented with is make-up. I remember watching my grandma on my father’s side, have a bunch of make-up in her room and I was always curious about the various little compacts and tubes and as I got older, I took a lot of inspiration from what I saw around Los Angeles and even the tutorials on Youtube are really helpful in learning cool make-up techniques. Some I follow are Lauren Luke, Kandee Johnson and Jessica Harlow.
So why out of all other forms did you choose tattooing to pursue?
I was always really interested in tattoo culture and it is more prevalent now than ever what with the various TV shows and magazines etc. that are presented these days. My friend CJ was actually apprenticing at a tattoo shop at the time and he was the one who really put the idea into my head of potentially pursuing a career in tattooing when before that I hadn’t given it that much thought. With the aide of CJ, I went into El Clasico Tattoo in Echo Park to inquire about an apprenticeship and I was looked at right away. Sometimes it takes people years to get their artwork looked at so I was extremely lucky to have been given that opportunity so quickly.
How did you get your apprenticeship with Ink Sessions?
My friend Ryan found out from the shop owner that they were looking for an apprentice and he happened to forward the information to me and I looked into it and scored it! I am so thankful for people like him in my life who believe in me enough to look out for my artwork.
Any pointers for those out there looking to find an apprenticeship?
It can be a bit intimidating to go into a tattoo shop and seek out an apprenticeship especially if you’re a female in a shop full of guys. I remember walking into a few shops where I was just rejected without my work looked at and some would literally laugh me off and tell me that they weren’t looking for apprentices. I’ve definitely encountered my fair share of unwelcoming tattoo shop environments. What I would recommend, is going in with confidence and just awareness of who you are, don’t try to act or look the way you think people at a tattoo shop would want you to. Your art will pretty much speak for itself at the end of the day.
How many tattoos do you have? Do you have a favorite one?
I have 8 tattoos and I got my first one when I was 19 years old. I used to think that tattoos had to have some deep, personal meaning behind them so my first was an upper arm piece of poppies, that I got in honor of my grandma who always had them in her yard and I just remember her taking care of them and admiring them, so this tattoos reminds me of her. Since then, I have changed my attitude towards getting tattoos. I feel that getting them is like collecting artwork on your body so now I don’t focus too much on the associations of them rather the artistic aspects of each piece. My current favorite is a dagger in the back of my left leg that was an original that my mentor, Adam Padilla, drew and tattooed on me.
Are there any tattoo artists that you look up to?
I found out about a few tattoo artists from Australia from some friends of mine and they include Emily Rose Murray and Rachi Brains. They both have really classic, traditional styles to their work with some dark, twisted elements to them but their work overall is amazing. Also my first mentor,Adam Padilla, did not only become a close friend of mine but he became such a big influence and I admire his neo-traditional style so much that everything he draws up I just want him to tattoo on me!
How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve always naturally been attracted to darker colors and just overall fashion in general. I always get super embarrassed by this but my boyfriend actually dresses me haha. He’ll shop for me and he just has great taste in clothing. I work at Blackheart Lingerie and I love a lot of their stuff too (the employee discount doesn’t hurt either haha!) and so everything I’m wearing today, aside from my shoes, are from Blackheart. I also take a lot of inspiration from Skully Smith, Dan Smith’s wife, I just think she has amazing style and is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.
I’ve noticed a lot of the commission pieces you’ve been doing lately have been horror themed, what is your fascination with horror films and where did it stem from?
I would have to say it came from my dad who was always a really big fan of horror films. I used to be disgusted by them until I sat through the movie, The Collection, and I really enjoyed it and my love for horror grew from there. Now a-days I’ve been able to draw characters from these movies and sell them and they’re just overall really fun to do.
Any last words on your art and your future tattooing career?
I am so stoked on the completion of my apprenticeship with Ink Sessions because once that’s done, I’ll be there full-time! In the meantime, I feel that it’s super important for me to learn proper technique and all the fundamentals that go with tattooing and I hope to build my reputation within the tattoo community and gain the respect and legitimacy from consumers. Who knows, maybe I’ll be tattooing some of you guys in the future!
Follow: Hannah Lopez