Freshly Inked Interview with Kelly Doty
You have a very unique style; have you always been drawn to that or did it take time for you to develop that?
I think it’s impossible to not have your own style. We’re all just little monsters made from spare parts of all of our favorite things. We can try and deny having a style or something that we’re innately drawn to, or we can embrace it. I think I’ve just embraced my style pretty fully.
When I first started tattooing, I was in a street shop and pretty keen to learn as much as I could about tattooing various skin types and various parts of the body. I just wanted to learn as much as I could. Then one time I tattooed a scrotum. I think it was Nietzsche that said, “If you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazed [sic] into you.” I think you could replace the word “abyss” with the word “scrotum,” and the phrase would be just as true. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re permanently drawing a lipstick kiss mark on a man’s scrotum. So...that’s something I live with. You shared on Instagram three fictional characters that best represent you. Do you remember the three you chose? What about each one connects back to you (Mad Madam, Gonzo, Cameron)? Have you gotten to tattoo any of these characters?I think Mad Madam Mim is probably the most obvious. I bear a striking resemblance if she were to lean towards green rather than purple. Plus, I have a natural disdain for sunlight. I’ve always thought I was a bit of a weirdo and as such. Gonzo is basically my patron saint. Plus, I tend to walk like a muppet. And Cameron is filled with all the self-doubt and anxiety that I personally cling to, as well. He really pushes himself to leave his bed eventually and I find that reluctant motivation relatable. Plus, Alan Ruck grew up to be quite a hunk. Much like myself. I haven’t tattooed any of them as of yet. I’d be pretty stoked to do any one of them.
Initially, it sounds pretty silly to call oneself an angel, let alone an Ink Master Angel. But, it’s pretty important to me in a few different ways. I really love that we get to highlight different issues and people who are going through a variety of obstacles or journeys, either through the canvases in each city or through the artists themselves. What does being an Ink Master Angel mean to you? I also really like that we’re showcasing strong women who have made it far in a male-dominated field. I hope that it empowers not only other women but other people who don’t see themselves represented as often as they should be. I hope the ball keeps rolling to highlight an even greater variety of people who don’t get to see themselves shown in the media often.
What was your experience like on Ink Master? Have you made a lot of new friendships from that?
My experience on Ink Master was much like anyone else’s, I’d assume. Awesome and horrifying, all at once. It’s such an utterly strange, unnatural state to find yourself in, sharing a loft with a bunch of grown adults where the guitar man from Jane’s Addiction will tell you what you need to draw, and then a tiny cowboy and the physical embodiment of disapproval will tell you if your drawing was good enough to win a large sum of money. I have to imagine someone pitched it in exactly those words.
It’s strange, though, because you feel automatically bonded with a lot of the people you were there with, and I did become good friends with a lot of them. Obviously, Nikki and Ryan and I are very close, but Gian, Sketchy, Kevin, Mike, Geary - everyone. I’m really glad I got to go through it with all of them.
Since being on Ink Master, how much has your life changed? What are some of your career goals for the near future?
It’s hard to say how much my life has changed since Ink Master because my life was changing so much at that time. Honestly, the fact that I built a shop -Helheim Gallery - with some of my best friends, Kristin Welch, Britt Whitman, Jess Brown and now Sean Gardner, has been one of the best, biggest changes in my life. It just so happened to coincide with Ink Master.
My future goals include...
For the full interview with the amazing Kelly Doty check out this issue of Freshly Inked Magazine by clicking here!