Arizona Tattoo Model • Photography Lucas Fendley
What is a typical day in the shoes of Pretty Pistol?
I can assure you that it is nothing glamorous. I spend most days tending to what I call my “domestic Goddess duties”. My days revolve around keeping our household running smoothly, from laundry & cleaning, homework help , taking my kids to baseball and gymnastics, volunteering at their school or going on field trips. You can always find me in the kitchen, as I absolutely love to cook. I typically workout 5-6 days a week. I enjoy taking yoga & spin classes as well as working out with my trainer. In my spare I like to be snuggled up with a book or relaxing by my pool.
Tell us what it was like growing up in Flagstaff, Arizona and your journey up to today.
It was your typical small town experience. As a child I spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring, hiking, camping with my family and just being active. I enjoyed snowboarding during the winter months and long summer days in Oak Creek Canyon. I was never really into the whole High School thing. I never went to football games, I had no desire to be a cheerleader, I didn’t even go to my senior prom. I preferred anything involving the arts. I worked a part-time job at a gallery downtown after school. I took ceramics & photography and graduated a semester early. I couldn’t wait to get out of there (laughs). After high school I dabbled in all kinds of things. When I was 18, I began modeling for fun with a couple local photographers. I was even in a calendar featuring college girls from all over Arizona called Miss Campus in 2004. I worked in a tattoo shop as a front desk girl while I attended community college. I got hired as a nursing assistant at Flagstaff Medical Center and as I pursued a nursing degree, I transferred to Arizona State University in hopes of graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I had my son at the age of 21 and that changed my whole course in life. I was a single Mom & I dropped out of college, I bartended and then attended Cosmetology school. I began working for Aveda immediately upon finishing school and absolutely flourished. I loved working in the beauty industry. I had really found my creative niche through doing hair and makeup. Eventually, I met my incredible husband, we had our daughter and my focus shifted to being a full time mother and wife. We decided a couple years ago to make the move to Phoenix, as this is where my husband is originally from
What is your life like today in Phoenix and what attracts you most to being a collector?
Life today is better than I ever could have imagined. My husband and I now own our own tattoo studio, Sonoran Skin Design, located in beautiful Black Canyon City. We have put a lot of heart & soul into our studio and thanks to the support of all our friends, family, and incredible clientele we have been able to make this dream a reality.
Being a collector of body art is something that I have always been attracted to. Even as a child, I would cover myself in those little fake tattoos. When I was 15 years old I got my first real tattoo with a fake I.D. and that was when I knew I wanted to be heavily tattooed. The art of body modification is beautiful to me. Being able to adorn yourself with ink that tells a story of sorts about who you are, where you’ve been and those experiences in life. Every one of my tattoos carries a special meaning for me and the collection of images & words that cover my body are an integral part of who I am today.
In a sentence how would you describe yourself.
I am loyal, authentic, compassionate, intuitive and free-spirited.
What is it like working with Lucas Fendley?
Amazing! Lucas is one of the most genuine and talented photographers I have had the pleasure of working with. He is extremely professional, laid back and a lot of fun. Lucas makes being in front of the camera very easy and it is an overall wonderful experience every time we shoot together. He truly understands my artistic vision and his photography skills always exceed what I conceptualize in my mind. I truly admire his creative ability.
Your husband and artist, Josh Nelson has done most of your work? Can you talk to us about the ideas and process of the artwork you created together.
Yes, Josh has done 90% of the artwork on my body. The process ultimately starts out with me giving him the basis of what I hope to achieve. I usually will save images and discuss the variations of each design. Josh then, takes all of my ideas collectively and creates the pieces of art that I am unable to convey through more than just a small description. He brings my ideas to life. Sometimes it takes a little going back and forth until we reach the final design. Josh is mainly a free hand artist so a lot of the time, designing my tattoos is done the exact moment of my tattoo session. He will draw the design directly onto my skin. Allowing Josh to have creative freedom while still staying true to my concepts is quite easy when working with him. He takes into consideration the design flow on the body, my likes and dislikes, and the end goal as a whole. Eventually my entire body will merge into one cohesive piece of body art. Josh’s artistic ability is uncanny, as he truly listens and constructs one of a kind tattoos for each and every client he works with. He has been tattooing for 23 years and his experience as both a tattoo artist and fine art painter sets him apart from many artist in the industry.
Do you have any advice for young woman starting out as a professional tattoo model?
Modeling started out as just a creative form of self-expression for me, but has turned into so much more. The key, I believe, is to just be you. Be true to who you are. Revel in your own uniqueness. Hold your standards high, have self-respect, respect for others and most of all have fun. Set your intentions, believe in yourself, and never give up. I am truly grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way so far and I look forward to where the industry may lead.
Do you have any upcoming projects or events you would like to share with us?
This year, I will be attending several tattoo conventions here in Arizona as well as others throughout the west coast. I plan on focusing on promoting our new tattoo studio, working on new merchandise and expanding our business. I will be pursuing the cosmetic aspect of the tattoo industry as well. Lots of big things in the works for myself and the future of Sonoran Skin Design.