Meet Liz Cook: Insights from a Renowned Tattoo Artist

Interview with Liz Cook
Meet Liz Cook, tattoo artist and owner of Rebel Muse Tattoo. She shares with us her opinions on the most interesting questions about the tattoo industry.

We continue our introduction to the most renowned tattoo artists, and today we want to introduce Liz Cook, owner of the tattoo parlor Rebel Muse Tattoo, Dallas. She has kindly agreed to answer our questions, and we would like to share with you Liz’s insights on the most interesting ones. 

In this article, you’ll learn what challenges women have to face in the tattoo industry. Moreover, Liz shared with us how she overcomes these challenges, we hope you’ll find her experience truly inspiring. 

Let’s learn together about Liz Cook’s life and tattoo path.

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Getting to Know Liz Cook

We had the pleasure of speaking with great tattoo artist Liz Cook from Dallas, TX, and want to share her story with you.

Getting to Know Liz Cook

Creative Path

Liz Cook began her journey into tattooing with a rich artistic background, as she grew up in a family full of artists and writers. Creativity has played an important role in her life since childhood. Art was never just a job to her, it was a way of life, a calling she couldn’t ignore.

We’re all a bunch of really creative people, and if we’re not doing creative things, we become miserable human beings.

— Liz Cook to InkMatch

Interview with Liz Cook

But tattooing didn’t come into Liz’s life so quickly. While she was still in art school, she began working as a receptionist in a beauty salon. The salon owners wanted to introduce permanent cosmetics, and Liz, with her art background, was the perfect fit. “I knew it was either going to be something that I absolutely hated and wasn’t good at, or I was going to enjoy doing it,” she recalls.

Liz often heard that modern artists can only copy others because everything possible has already been invented. But the world of tattooing seemed unexplored and full of potential to create new things.

When I was in art school, we were told that ‘you can’t be original with art anymore.’ But tattooing was such a medium that hadn’t really been thoroughly explored. We were so in our infancy of it, and we still are.

— Liz Cook to InkMatch

— Liz Cook to InkMatch

In 2009, Liz completed a formal apprenticeship in Perth, Australia, at Abandoned Art. This experience helped her achieve a lot, and even after returning to her hometown, she never stopped working hard to develop her talent. 

Today, Liz is the owner and co-owner of several popular tattoo parlors including Rebel Muse Tattoo Lewisville, Dallas, Denver, and Kansas City Missouri, Bad Dog Gangs, and Quick Cap Tattoos.

Liz’s journey as an artist took an interesting turn when she joined the cast of the reality TV show “Tattoo Girls” in 2017. The story is centered around Ink Ink Tattoo Studio in Springfield, Missouri, where a team of five gifted tattoo artists worked. Liz became a newcomer to their team, bringing discord to the established workflow.

Interview with Liz Cook

Despite being perceived as a villain in the show, Liz didn’t see it as a problem. As she mentioned after filming, “This is a common thing for the show, as the writers still need to create a narrative with interesting characters.” Our team had a great evening watching “Tattoo Girls” and we can say that Liz did a great job with her role as a villainess. 

Have you heard of UV tattoos? It’s a new trend in the tattoo industry. Read our interview with Johnny Hall to learn all about this style from the pioneer.

Philosophy and Approach to Work

Today, Liz is best known for her color realism and portrait tattoos, but she doesn’t limit herself to one style. She loves to experiment and values the diversity of tattoo genres. “I have such an immense appreciation for all the different genres out there,” she says.

In tattooing, she enjoys not only the process but also connecting with people. Applying ink to the skin has become for Liz a personal form of dynamic meditation. She believes that tattooing can transform not only a person’s appearance but also their life.

I wouldn’t have come out of my shell without tattooing. And I feel like the transformation that it has on so many people’s lives.

— Liz shared with InkMatch.

An important part of Liz’s job is teaching tattooing and permanent makeup. Her dream is to develop a program to teach tattooing to students at the university where she studied art. 

But as for now, Liz has no plans of leaving Dallas, which is why many fans visit the city to get a tattoo from her. She is also a common guest at conventions around the world, where you can watch her work live.

If you enjoy learning about the lives of successful tattoo artists, read our interview with Chaim Machlev.

Portrait tattoos by Liz Cook

Q&A: Liz About Life and Work

Q: What inspired you to become a tattoo artist?

Liz: I have always been close to art: my grandmother was an artist, and my dad is a writer. Making art never felt like a job to me, so I knew this was it.

I was just a front desk clerk in a beauty salon, but when my colleagues heard about my art skills, they offered me to take a course. Moreover, the owner herself wanted to start developing in perm makeup.

So I agreed, and that was the origin of me getting into tattooing.

I learned the art of permanent makeup just like how one learns to tattoo, all while attending art school. It was an exciting experience and I loved seeing people's lives changed by my efforts. And after 20 years, I've become more spiritual about tattoos.
Q: What inspired you to become a tattoo artist?
Q: What kind of tattoo styles do you like to work with?Q: What kind of tattoo styles do you like to work with?

Liz: While I'm recognized for my color realism and portraits, I enjoy experimenting. I deeply appreciate all varieties of genres.

Whenever somebody approaches some style differently, resulting in a new and unique piece of art, or when someone reinterprets old ideas, it feels so fresh. And it makes you wonder what led to this fusion.

However, tattooing color realism brings me the most joy because it feels like second nature to me. There are numerous avenues to explore within it, and I find the process endlessly intriguing.
Q: What is the most challenging tattoo that you have ever done?

Liz: There's always that second-guessing that comes with being an artist. You're always able to reflect on your work and pinpoint those moments where you think, “Oh man, I should have done that differently.” But you don't gain that insight until you're able to look at it from your future self.

That's the challenge in my mind, to just think, “Yeah, this is a good tattoo, actually, this is awesome,” and then allow myself that time to simply enjoy it without diving into self-criticism. So, that makes every tattoo a challenge.
Q: What is the most challenging tattoo that you have ever done?
Q: What's people's biggest misconception about tattoos or the tattooing process?Q: What's people's biggest misconception about tattoos or the tattooing process?

Liz: There are two sides to it: coming into tattooing without an art background, and the amount of effort and time it takes to become a pro.

A lot of people who aren't in the industry look at tattoo artists and think, “You're just sitting around all day drawing on people.” It's not like that.

It is hard work, for which we have to coordinate the body and navigate the physical limits we have. All while drawing that line between making a living and striving for quality work. It's about finding a balance — between work, life, and your family.
Q: What do you enjoy most about tattooing?

Liz: For me, tattooing has become a form of spiritual connection, and I wouldn't have come out of my shell without it.

Each ink brings a changeover not only to the lives of my clients but to mine as well. It's often like a dynamic meditation, as I start a tattoo I don't notice the hours go by, and then I find myself thinking, “OMG, it’s been three hours already?!”

This dynamic meditation is the spiritual aspect of tattooing that I absolutely adore.
Q: What do you enjoy most about tattooing?

Challenges Faced by Tattoo Artists: Liz’s Perspective

The creative path is a difficult one, and tattooing is no exception. Every artist faces the familiar problem of battling insecurities and the endless striving for perfection

Liz Cook, an experienced tattoo artist, knows this struggle well. Despite over 10 years in the industry, she continues to ask herself, “Is it as good as it could be?”

Liz describes the internal struggle of recognizing the merits of each tattoo while simultaneously resisting the urge to endlessly criticize her work. “It makes every tattoo challenging,” she reflects.

This problem can be even more acute for beginning tattoo artists because no matter how good a design looks on paper, it’s much harder to work with a tattoo machine in real life. That’s why few people even with an art background do well right away. And Liz had to face this struggle, too. 

We think this story is truly motivating because it teaches us that becoming a professional doesn’t happen overnight. Consistent practice and hard work always pay off in the end, and Liz Cook’s designs are proof of it.

If you have just started your journey into tattooing, we have a few tips for you on how to open a tattoo studio. This will be the first step to your dream.

Is It Hard for a Woman to Work in the Tattoo Industry?

Just a few decades ago, it was wild for a woman to be a tattoo artist, let alone have a tattoo. However, even nowadays, tattooing is still seen as a more masculine profession, and some people remain doubtful of women’s ability to excel in this field.

She even shared with us some instances where people assumed her job based solely on her gender, and her spouse was frequently mistaken for a tattoo artist.

My husband and I are both covered in tattoos. And people would always ask my husband, “Are you a tattooer?” Yet they never asked me the same thing. If I wanted to be identified as a tattoo artist, I had to pave the way myself.

— Liz Cook to InkMatch

Despite the challenges, Liz considers them a part of her growth as an artist. “That was a challenge, but at the same time, it’s acceptable to me because, without it, would I even be as good of a tattoo artist today,” admits Liz. 

She recognizes that overcoming challenges has shaped her path and fueled her passion for tattooing. It is these challenges and finding solutions to them that make her journey interesting, and it is truly inspiring.

We also covered in detail the struggles women face in the tattoo industry. Read the story in our interview with Jessica Valentine, owner of Heaven tattoo studio.

Summary

These were insights from Liz Cook about her life and work, which she kindly shared with InkMatch. This article tells a story about her journey into tattooing, the challenges she has faced, and how she copes with them.

Liz is a truly inspiring person who meets challenges with her head held high and demonstrates how passion and dedication can overcome any obstacle.

We hope Liz’s story has inspired you to chase your dreams! 

FAQ

🤔 Is It Hard to Be a Tattoo Artist?

Being a tattoo artist is challenging, it requires patience. Artists work hard, as some sessions can take up to 8 hours. And, of course, let’s not forget about following hygiene standards and safety precautions.

🎨 Is It Possible to Become a Tattoo Artist Without an Art Background?

Yes, it is possible. Many successful tattoo artists practice their skills on paper and transfer them to a special silicone mat that mimics skin. Motivation and discipline are the keys to success.

👩 Can a Woman Be a Tattoo Artist?

Of course! Tattooing is a profession open to people of all genders and ethnicities. Many talented female tattoo artists have made significant contributions to the industry, such as Liz Cook and Jessica Valentine, the interview with whom you may find in our articles.

📋 How Many Tattoos Does an Artist Do a Day?

It depends, but on average, a tattoo artist can do between 2 and 5 tattoos in a day. Some designs take less than an hour, while large tattoo sessions can last up to 8 hours.

📅 What Is the Lifestyle of a Tattoo Artist?

A tattoo artist must stay creative, keep up with trends, and never stop practicing. Many tattoo artists often work long hours, including late evenings and weekends, to meet the needs of their clients.

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