She may be covered in some of the most recognizable horror icons to date, but Erika’s goal in life is to make people feel good. Erika is a tattooed mom of two living in Pittsburgh, PA, with big dreams for herself and her children. Alongside binging horror films and chasing her dream of becoming a permanent makeup artist, Erika embraces her individuality and self-expression through her ink. It was a pleasure to chat with Erika and learn about how she passes on her own principles of kindness and acceptance to her children.
Hey Erika! Thanks for speaking with us. To begin, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Heyyyyy!!! I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and I currently still live here. I actually have big dreams/goals to move to the mountains! The thought brings me so much peace. I was brought up in a small family – we were all very close – and I’ve done the same. I was a teenage mom and I have two children of my own who are 17 and 20. They have taught me so much about life in general and made me grow into who I’ve become today! I’m currently a bar manager at a smaller (but fun) local bar. My dream is to become a permanent makeup artist (as well as a licensed makeup artist) by the end of 2023.
Your ink and yourself are truly stunning – you really seem to be true to yourself and your personal style. How would you describe yourself?
Thank you! I definitely view myself as unique and different. I have a mixture of girlie, edgy, and fun all mixed within my personal style/personality. I love that I get inspired easily and I’m able to use that to also inspire others. My desire to make another woman feel good about themselves is a need in my life. Growing up, I always wanted to be like everyone else, until I found ME! I want everyone else to be able to do the same and express exactly who they are.
I can tell that you’re really passionate about makeup (and talented at that). Tell us a little about how you’ve embraced that passion, and what it means to you?
I am! I genuinely enjoy makeup and the entire application process. I’ve always had a love for makeup growing up and in my teenage years, but as time passed the love grew and grew. This passion has different meanings to me. It’s a great outlet for anxiety, an amazing way to express myself, and just truly be! One day (soon) I’m excited to be able to apply makeup on others and have them leaving feeling the exact same way. I thrive off of that!
Let’s talk about your tattoos! I see that many of your tattoos revolve around horror culture. Tell us a little bit about this passion of yours, and how it inspires your ink.
Horror is a huge part of my life. If I’m watching a movie, 90% of the time it’s horror. I remember when I was pretty young, borrowing a VHS box set of Friday the 13th from one of my uncles. I was instantly hooked after the first movie! That was the start of my love for horror and it has never ended. Horror gives me excitement and comfort all in one, sounds crazy right?
I can honestly say that your back piece blows me away! It is so beautifully done and the detail is incredible. Could you tell us about this piece?
Thank you so much! My back piece was the start of my horror tattoos. Jason Voorhees was my first horror character that made me fall in love with the genre, so of course he had to be the very first on my body. I knew I wanted a larger back tattoo, but for the longest time I was unsure of what…. until Jason Voorhees! After he was tattooed, I knew THAT is exactly what I wanted on my back. All my favorites! My artist is Ryan Clark from Pittsburgh, PA, as well, and he has been not only amazing, but also a huge influence on my back piece (which is now extended and also has a leg sleeve connected). I would have to guess we have about 30-35 hours just in my back piece.
Where does the motivation typically come from when you want a new tattoo, and what does that process look like?
Most of my newest work (over the last 3-4 years) has been thought out for the most part. When we started my back piece, I had an entire separate album on my phone with photos saved of all the horror characters I wanted, so we just went off of that and who fit best in the next space. Once my back was filled, we then decided to move on to the leg and just keep going, haha. All of my horror portrait work (and honestly most of the rest my tattoos) are all done by Ryan Clark out of the human canvas tattoo shop.
I have to know the story behind your first tattoo! How old were you, what was/where is the tattoo, and what made you decide to go for it?
Oh geez! THIS one was definitely spontaneous!! So, I had just turned 18 a few months before, and felt the urge one day that I just absolutely NEEDED a tattoo. I have no idea why or where this idea came from, as none of my family or even friends at that point were into tattoos. So, I walked into the nearest shop – which is no longer open – and randomly picked anything from the flash available, which was a tribal and heart arm band. Needless to say, that is now covered with floral black work on my arm!
Tell us about some of your favorite tattoos, and about the experiences you’ve had getting them.
For me, having tattoos is more than just having tattoos. It’s the entire experience from beginning to end result. Sitting in the chair and getting tattooed is an experience all on its own; your body goes through many phases, and it’s quite addicting! My back piece is of course one of my favorites of all time. I think the subject, of course, is the main reason, but I also have so much time invested in it, and grew to become good friends with my artist in the process. My other favorite is definitely my color floral arm, which is my children’s birth month flowers, which was my first larger tattoo and was planned out many months before!
I also see that you’re a mom of two! What are some things that you want your kids to know about tattooed women, and tattoo culture in general?
My main concern is self expression! I truly believe my tattoos show who I am on the inside. What I want my children to know is that it’s okay to be 100% you, with or without tattoos. We all show self expression in different ways and I absolutely accept that! My son is more on the side of not wanting any tattoos at all, while my daughter already has a few smaller ones planned. With tattoos becoming much more mainstream, and with them growing up with a tattooed mother, they are super accepting to not only tattooed people, but people in general, and that’s my ultimate goal; treat people with kindness!
Tell us about some of your other passions and hobbies outside of the tattoo world! What do you really love to do in your free time?
I really enjoy makeup, however, when I’m free and able, I absolutely love coming up with and recreating Halloween/special FX makeup! For the past few Halloweens, I have been doing face paint and makeup recreating horror characters, and I’m honestly loving that and plan on doing it more often. On an average free day, you can absolutely catch me napping, watching movies (horror of course), binging Netflix, or playing board games with my family.
What are some aspirations you have for you and your family? Do you have any exciting plans or changes coming up?
Nothing super new or exciting is coming just yet! I do have big plans and goals for the near future! Attend makeup artistry school, take a few courses for permanent makeup artist, and really aim to have my own studio in the end!
My son has graduated high school and my daughter will be going into her senior year next school year, so I will fully be there to support their future plans going forward! My daughter has big goals to attend culinary school after high school, so that’s super exciting!
Thank you so much for sharing with us! Could you leave us with one of your favorite quotes or messages you’d like to share with the world?
Thank you so very much! A recent favorite quote spoke to me so deeply!
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” – Maya Angelou
Thank you Erika!
Read more about other tattooed women below: