Interview with Ginger Pennington 08/01/2020
Ginger Pennington is an apprentice tattoo artist at The Hideaway Tattoo in Mission Valley. A tattoo apprentice, for those who are unfamiliar, trains under direct supervision of a mentor to learn all the ins and outs of the craft- from discipline and sanitation to the actual technical aspects of tattooing. Ginger specializes in cute or “Kawaii” style tattoos, drawing a lot of inspiration from anime and cute mascot characters like Sanrio.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on an online shop to showcase and sell prints, stickers, apparel, and accessories featuring my artwork. As a tattoo artist, your main career involves working on usually 1-2 people a day, and your clientele is mostly limited to those local to you. I want my art to be able to reach more than just those people within close proximity to me who have the funds able to get tattooed! After a number of people asked me if I would ever have merchandise for sale, I knew it was time!
My brand is named “Tapiioka Land” and my aim is to combine my personal artwork (inspired by my love for cafés) with imaginative storytelling. My mascots are two aliens from planet Venus, who co-own a bubble tea shop in Tapiioka Land. There will be an accompanying web comic that documents their adventures running their café. The aesthetic of my brand is happy, cute, and bubbly. When the world can be so horrible and scary around us I certainly want a refuge- a “happy place” where I can get away. I want my artwork and Tapiioka Land to somehow be able to provide some happiness for people.
How has this pandemic affected or shifted your practice/changed your projects?
I did my first ever tattoo (on myself, actually) the day before we were all ordered to shut down. The beginning of my career was very abruptly halted as a result of the spread of the COVID19 virus. Since tattoo shops are shut down, I’m not able to make bookings available for people. It’s a bit of a bummer but it’s also given me some much needed time to work on building my online shop, make a charity enamel pin in support of National Bail Out and Black Lunch Table, and given me an entirely new artsy hobby: resin crafts.
What has your journey been like as an artist or creative person?
My journey as a creative person has honestly been rough. I was told all my life growing up that I would never be able to make it as an artist. I was expected to go into academia from the start. I had to sneak in drawing time while pretending to study. I eventually ended up getting a B.A. in Linguistics from UCLA, and then a Post-Bacc B.S. in Communicative Disorders, and even went to graduate school for speech-language pathology, which I think is so comical now looking back on how different these fields are. I dropped out of graduate school to pursue tattooing, and never looked back. I had a brutal first apprenticeship that didn’t work out, and then managed to land the perfect apprenticeship at my dream shop working with my mentors Melvin Arizmendi and Nikki Rex.
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming, or rising artists/creatives?
If you have a true desire to be an artist in your heart, you can only go so long denying yourself the joy of creating. A little bit of strife and a lot of hard work is worth it to pursue your dream.
Learn more about the artist on Instagram:
@tattoosbyginger for artwork and tattoos
@tapiioka_land for their brand of merch
And on Etsy under Tapiiokaland.