Freshly Inked Interview with Megan Jean Morris
Photos by: Jenna Baily Cover photo by: steveazzara
Megan Jean Morris was practically born and raised tattooing. In preschool, she’d get sent home early for being covered in ink. From the time she could hold a marker was using it to temporarily tattoo classmates. After high school she attended Syracuse University, earning a Bachelor’s in Industrial Design. From that point, she put all her efforts into a tattoo apprenticeship. Her portfolio is widely diverse, using color and black and grey. She’s expanded her skill-set by taking time to study multiple styles and landed on the focus of Surrealism and Realism. There’s no stopping or slowing down for Megan, she’s driven by telling a story through her pieces and conveying a new perspective for clients.
What was your experience like on TV?
Very simple answer. TV is about making TV. It is not about making art. So, it was cool and interesting and it is fun being recognized. However, as an artist it is frustrating because you often feel like you are wasting your time since you are spending months not really focused on making artwork. And fame makes you famous. Not rich. So, it can be a huge waste of time financially unless you want to focus on business avenues that open up because of fame. But again, then you are focused on business instead of art.
Also, side note, People always wonder if reality tv stars will be the same in person as they are on the show. And it seems to me that reality tv uses a formula where they simplify a person’s personality and then amplify it. That way they have a consistent character based on who the person is in real life, although it is a dumbed down dramatic version of that person. They have to simplify us for the masses to remember who’s who… so theres typically the slutty girl, bitchy girl, or over sensitive girl. That’s about it for your choices for type-casting a female on reality tv.
Can you tell our readers what makes your interview different from the rest?
I am committed to sharing honestly with you guys in hopes that maybe it will be valuable for you. I am going to spend most of my time here talking about two things: 1. Being a woman in this industry and 2- my personal life and how it has shaped me. Toward the end, I’ll answer a few questions about my tattooing career and advice.
Who is someone in the industry that inspires you?
Paul Booth. If you look at his career, he has projects that take decades. He plans way ahead, he works in all sorts of mediums, tattoos, paint, sculpture, film, business and music. He gets it. It’s all creation. Plus, I think it’s so funny that his work is so dark and mine is often so light, especially these days. But we both do the same thing… we allow people to be with their feelings and express something and this allows for healing, development, and growth.
Other artists who have been my friends and mentors, supporting me throughout my career are Josh Duffy, Nikko Hurtado, Carlos Torres, Jose Perez Jr., Kelly Doty, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Sara Fabel, and Teresa Sharp. I also dated Carl Grace and Cleen Rock One for short periods of time but was fortunate to be influenced by their artistic perspectives and application techniques. All in all, I have been very lucky to have made connections with artists that were like my childhood dreams come true!
And your advice on receiving an apprenticeship?
Persistency and a highly developed sense of social interactions. Be helpful, not annoying. Good help and dependable people who want to work hard are rare. Be one, and you will be wanted. Do not expect anyone to give you something for free. Try and think if you were the boss, what would make your arrival pleasant, something they look forward to? Come with coffees, and awareness of their work, and ask to spend time at the shop cleaning and organizing and answering the phone for free. After they get to know you a bit, then maybe it will be appropriate to talk about an apprenticeship. I would not start out by asking right away if you can “have an apprenticeship”, it’s just too easy for them to say NO. However, not so many people will say “no, please don’t clean my bathroom and bring me coffees in the morning once or twice a week for free”. By spending time at the shop you will see and hear things that will teach you how to discuss tattoo ideas and rates with clients, or how to check inventory or notice other things the shop needs. Once you make yourself valuable, then you can talk about apprenticeship. Be smart and don’t waste your time with the wrong shop though. Make sure they have the capacity for an apprentice so that your efforts are not going to waste.
For the full interview check out our 2nd Annual women's issue with our awesome cover artist, Megan Jean!