tatts by tee interview for

May 1, 2013

by Lyfe Silva

Thomarya ‘Tee’ Fergus is a 26yr old female tattoo/visual artist from Toronto. Tee got her first tattoo at age  17 of her astrological sign the size of a loonie (canadian dollar coin), on her upper back because it was an easy spot to hide from her mother. Tee always had a knack for drawing and was offered a tattoo apprenticeship at the age of 21. Tee completed her apprenticeship at Nu Cool tattoo studios in Toronto, and ever since tattoos and tattooing has become an integral part of her life. To Tee tattooing is not just an art form, or popular culture instead its a spiritual practice. The opportunity to meet all different types of people from different walks of life are just some of the perks of being a tattoo artist.. Tee wouldn’t ask for anything else to do as a job, she is overwhelmed at the opportunity to put art on someone for the rest of their lives. Tee enjoys getting tattooed as a form of therapy and enjoys trading tattoos/techniques with fellow tattoo artist, she also gets a kick out of tattooing herself and plans on doing her entire upper thigh on her own.

When did you realize that Tattooing was more than art form?

It was natural progression, as I began to meet different artist and researching different techniques I started to see that Tattooing isn’t just an art form. In some cultures tattooing is a right of passage, some its tribal identification, in popular culture its become a revolutionary act, a form of rebellion.

What is most intimidating part of doing someones tattoo?

Giving someone their first tattoo is always fun yet intimidating,  majority of the time

first timers are unsure and it can be challenging reassuring them. But tattooing in general is intimidating, you’re putting something on someone for the rest of their life.

How did you get into tattooing?

I’ve always been great at drawing/sketching and my homies asked me to draw things for them. I drew up this one design for a homie and went with her to get the tattoo and the artist was pleased with my sketch and asked me what am I doing with my art? at the time I was just doing it for fun, and he asked me did I want to help out around the shop. After about 8 months of tracing, washing tubes and setting up for the artist, I finally got to do my first tattoo and it was on myself. It was a great opportunity, my mentor was a complete ass but he did put a tattoo gun in my hand, and for that I am grateful.

Is it difficult to tattoo yourself?

Its a mind fuck because your mind is saying no you’re about to inflict pain on yourself while hands are trying to  move. Its some foreal ass mind over matter shit you know? taking your mind to a place of peace while trying to concentrate on putting this piece of art on yourself. It takes a lot of concentration and balance, but as time has gone by I’ve only gotten better at it.

What are some of the most requested tats?

The most request request i get for tattoos are religious tattoos lots of praying hands, rosaries, and the virgin mary. I also get a lot of script but i have been working on my script so i enjoy doing it.

In our celebrity obsessed culture, how has your experience been with celebrities influencing the tattoos requested?

Celebrities definitely have a big impact on the tattoos people get….i remember when Rihanna got those stars i did stars going down the back of women for like 3 months straight that was a killer. The shhhhh tattoo is another popular one. I’ve heard the term you know people mentioning that they are trying to get like wiz  khalifa, the thug life tattoo is also very popular one. The celebrity impact is real.

What has becoming a Tattoo artist done for you overall?

Through tattooing I have had the opportunity to travel and perform my craft, I have met some amazing people and fellow artists. Tattooing has allow me to expand my art and art  forms, it’s taking me into painting and using different mediums like silk-screening, some graphic designing, and just being open to learning all art forms. I feel that expanding to these different fields has definitely helped me to hone in on my tattooing skills. I hope to one day have a private studio and a centre for the youth where they can go and have a safe space to expand their creativity. You know? Power to the people.

Tee Fergus

Co-Founder of TrifeLyfe