This is a high risk article, I could possibly make Lisa Orth lose her hair and all bits of sanity- we may lose track of her for days on end only to find her crying under a table at iHop (is that how you capitalize that? Or am I just a product of capitalist vernacular?)
Why? Simply put, Lisa’s doing too well for her own damned good. Review companies are calling her shop and asking if she would like to be featured on their sites, and ’drive up her business and sales,’ they are shocked to hear Lisa say ”No! I’m too busy already!”
I got to say though, beyond Lisa’s wizardry with a concept, pencil and a tattoo gun, it is amazing to have a growing queer presence on the hill, not just out at bars or cafes or consuming, but providing you an actual service, and an amazing one at that, in an environment you can feel one-hundred-percent fantastic in- gay, straight otherwise.
So it’s at my own risk, that I called Lisa for this interview about her blossoming tattoo career, and how things are going at her very own shop- Alleged Tattoo; if you land up with more business Lisa I’m so sorry, please don’t hurt me.
Nark: Without dropping any names, I know you have had some issues with the general tattoo shop mentality which led you to open Alleged Tattoo- how does your shop differ from others?
Lisa Orth: When the opportunity arose to have my own shop I really wanted to create a space where I personally would want to come get tattooed. A place with good energy, no heavy metal screamo music blasting, no ignorant attitudes from people in the shop, like saying shit is "gay" around queer people, or thinking it's acceptable to be misogynistic or sexist or treat people like they aren't as cool as you are. I wanted to have a tattoo shop where I would personally want to go get tattooed in! Plus being appointment only really affords me the luxury to take as much time as I need working with people on creating the perfect artwork just for them. I'm not fueled by how many people I can rush in and out of my shop in an hour, I get to spend however much time I need with each person to get things just right just for them.
N: Would you ever tattoo an eyeball?
L: Gross. No. Also I don't tattoo any parts that make babies. Or inside lips, that's gross to me as well. Anything else I'm probably down to do.
N: Favorite tattoo you’ve done?
L: Way too many favorites to list! I actually love all the one's I've done on you Kevin, you're like a dream client.
GPOYT WARNING (Gratuitous Pictures of Your Tattoos)
N: I love your aesthetic, and I tell everyone I send your way to arrive with an idea but let you take the artistic reigns. Tell us about your personal history as an artist or designer.
L: Well, before I got into tattooing I was a graphic designer and fine artist. I've been really lucky in that I've gotten a chance to work for some pretty amazing groups of people. I was the first official Art Director for Sub Pop records back in the late 80's/early 90's, so I got to design all the really cool early stuff that came out, like all Nirvana's records, including their logo that I designed. I worked for the highly influential Rocket magazine back then as well, and I got to do some amazing stuff and work with some of the coolest designers. I was Principal Designer for the Center on Contemporary Art and The Stranger just after the paper started in the 90's. After that I started my own design company with a friend that we called Pink Robot, and I did that up until tattooing took me over. I've definitely been really lucky in all the great opportunities I've had over the years, especially since all those jobs were able to support me while I also spent the rest of my time making music in bands, DJing and doing fine art.
N: Top three influential people, go-
L: So many... probably Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, and Jean Genet if I had to choose just three.
N: If you could tattoo anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you tattoo on them?
L: Oh man, such a hard question. Maybe David Bowie, just so I could get to hang out with him and chit chat. Or Kim Gordon. Or Grace Jones. I'm sure they would all have some pretty great ideas, hopefully something that would take a long time so I could prolong the experience.
N: Here's a good one- so some girl walks in flippin' her hair and reapplying her spray tan, and asks for the most atrocious tramp stamp you've ever seen, and would never want your name on, throws down her credit card and says 'ready!' What do you do?
L: Ha! The psychic bubble around my shop seems to deflect that kinda stuff! If I'm not into doing a tattoo for whatever reason I'm just honest about it and suggest they might get a better end result from an artist that is. I'm not gonna judge someone though just because they have a different aesthetic than I do, everyone has a right to get whatever it is they want without having someone look down on em’ for it. I've certainly done plenty of tattoos for people that aren't my personal aesthetic, but I make sure to put my all into every tattoo I do no matter what, cause that tattoo is the most important one in the world to the person who's getting it, so I try keep that in mind for everyone.
N: We've all got goals, what are yours for the following? 1. Alleged Tattoo, 2. Amateur Youth (Lisa's DJ moniker for those not in the know) and 3. Lisa Orth-
L: Alleged Tattoo - Tattoo every Queer in Seattle!
Amateur Youth - DJ more venues where I can spin whatever I want without snotty drunks demanding "play more hip hop!"
Lisa Orth - Travel more. Keep getting better at my art and continue to push myself artistically. Do more fine art stuff. I have a new music project with my friend Alice Wilder called OVX (pronouced Ox) so hopefully you'll see an EP from us soon and catch a crazy live performance. And maybe develop a vice or two, I don't really have enough of those...
N: Opinion on queer community and lifestyles here in Seattle?
L: Oh man that's a loaded question. All I'm gonna say is I wish queers tried a little harder to break the mold of what they think Queer people should be like and what a Queer lifestyle consists of. It shouldn't be just mirroring heterosexual lifestyles and stereotypes. We have this license to be as unique as we wanna be, to not conform to any rules that society has handed us.
N: Yes sister! Speak that truth!
L: I think more people should dig a little deeper to find out what it is that makes them unique as individuals instead of following societal trends. Also if you have complaints about the scene get off your ass and create something better, don't just whine about stuff on the internet. Other than those things, which is a problem everywhere, not just here, Seattle is full of amazing and wonderful people and I am so grateful to have such an amazing support system and the best clients anyone could hope for!
N: Powerful words, well said Lisa. Last question, is Dutch single? Because I'm in love.
L: Yes, Dutch is available for moonlight walks on the beach and steak dinners! He has a special affinity for guys with beards...
Check out Alleged Tattoo and get that appointment in! Also, check out Lisa’s Dj magic when she special guest spots at Bottom Forty on Sunday April 8th, as well as at her two monthly affairs, Cherry at Rebar on fourth Saturdays and MEAT at Pony on third Saturdays!.
- Category: Feature
- Published on Thursday, 22 March 2012 18:49
- Written by Nark