Boulder tattoo artists responsible for Red Magic Tattoos have opted out of sexist parlors

Boulder County, Colorado - A group of female tattoo artists in Boulder were sick of the sexism that plagues the male-dominated tattoo industry. Together, they ventured out on their own and took over a strip for female clients to come to escape the misogyny.

Female owned and operated tattoo parlors are popping up in Boulder County, Colorado.
Female owned and operated tattoo parlors are popping up in Boulder County, Colorado.  © Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/@blackbirdinktattoo/@redmagictattoo

Three years ago, Morgan Alynn decided that she was done with how women in the tattoo industry were being treated, including herself. Rather than continue suffering through the daily ridicule, though, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

The solution? She opted to open a tattoo parlor for women, where they could come to be inked in peace, in a secure and safe environment. Boulder County's Red Magic Tattoo has been going from strength to strength ever since.

In an interview with Daily Camera, Alynn briefly why she decided to leave the toxic culture behind her: "All the places I was working at were really tough. There was a lot of abuse and sexism, and just a lot of like really weird s***, that I just time and time again couldn’t seem to like to escape, and so it was really nice to get a space."

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Sadly, Alynn isn't the only female artist who's faced inappropriate remarks and endured sexual advances from male artists and shop owners, especially in the early days of their career.

Female tattoo artists not given support or mentorship by male counterparts and parlor owners

It's a common to have new artists partake in apprenticeships to learn different skills and gain experience from a mentor. But Lakewood, Colorado artist Christa Valdez said there wasn't much mentorship when she was working in male-owned and operated parlors.

Instead of getting hands-on experience from artists at the shop, Valdez was doing the dirty work, like sweeping the parking lots and manning the front desk.

Sexism in the tattoo industry sees female artists mistreated and sexually harassed

She also encountered sexual advances from the owner, saying that "I kind of felt trapped in that, too, because I did feel like I owed him in some way, even though he hadn’t taught me anything."

Now, Valdez has her own booth at a female-owned shop called Blackbird Ink outside of Denver, owned by Kristy York. One of her main missions is ensuring artists are paid fairly for the work they've done, something that many female artists in the business don't experience.

Though Valdez is still finishing her apprenticeship, she can book clients and charge them for her services. Ultimately, she's happy to finally be at a parlor where women are respected and treated as equals.

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/@blackbirdinktattoo/@redmagictattoo

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