Heart-To-Heart Talk With Sam Chase About Tattooing

Heart-To-Heart Talk With Sam Chase About Tattooing
Dive deep into the world of tattooing with Sam Chase as she shares her journey, inspirations, and expert advice in this captivating interview.

Meet Sam Chase, a tattoo artist from Naperville, Illinois, fairly well known for her anime style and inclusive approach. Having carved her path to recognition as a female tattoo artist, Sam has found her creative home at Sapphire Studios, where she brings her stunning designs to life.

We reached out to Sam to get the latest insights into the tattoo industry. In this interview, she shares her thoughts on personal expression through tattoos, communication with clients, and even predicts future trends. Get ready to dive into tattoos with Sam as your guide.

Introducing Sam Chase

Sam Chase is a talented tattoo artist who carries her infusion of passion for self-expression through her entire journey in tattooing. The InkMatch team had the pleasure of speaking with Sam, and her story resonated deeply with us. We are excited to share her inspiring story with you. 

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Sam Chase at work

Sam Chase at work

Journey Into Tattooing

Sam’s journey into tattooing was driven by her love of sharing art with others. While pursuing a degree in Communications at Aurora University, she nurtured her passion for drawing. 

Sam actively participated in the local music scene in Elgin, Illinois, where she displayed her artistic talents.

“I was creating flyers and album covers for local music bands,” she recalls. “It was a fantastic way for me to gain exposure to the professional art world.”

Sam believed that creativity was a powerful way to express herself, and tattoos on people from the music scene sparked her interest in this industry. 

They inspired me, I looked up to them and wanted to be like those people. I loved how tattoos were becoming a powerful means of self-expression, and I wanted to be a part of that. So, I decided that I wanted to develop in that direction and become a tattoo artist.

— Sam Chase to InkMatch

Despite at first being rejected from a studio in the Chicago land area, Sam’s determination to become a tattoo artist remained. She searched hard for a mentor and eventually found an internship opportunity at a studio in Elgin. “They didn’t like my vibe, and that’s okay because it worked out the way it was supposed to,” she reflects on the first rejection.

Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Field

The tattoo industry, historically male-dominated, often presents challenges for women. Sam’s journey has been no exception, as she has also faced a lot of criticism along the way. “Being criticized for something you put your whole heart into is really tough in any field,” she reflects.

Early in her career, Sam encountered sexism from clients and colleagues. Some clients were uncomfortable with the idea of being tattooed by a woman, while others crossed boundaries with inappropriate suggestions. These experiences left a bitter taste, overshadowing her love for tattooing

It was a really negative experience in many ways because of the specific interactions I had with clients and some of the people I worked with. Even though I loved tattooing, it didn’t make a difference to me at that moment. It’s like, ‘Well, if I’m going to be treated poorly, it doesn’t matter how much I love tattooing.’

— Sam Chase to InkMatch

Moreover, coworkers doubted her capacity to endure stress merely because of her gender. Such an attitude makes the workflow unbearable, causing many talented tattoo artists to lose their passion for ink.

It’s like being treated as a joke, as if I wouldn’t have the mental capacity,” she says. “This is ridiculous because I’ve never seen anyone with more mental capacity than women. Women make things happen!”

Despite these formidable challenges, Sam remained steadfast, drawing strength from her intrinsic worth and the support of people around her. “I had to overcome my fear of failure and criticism,” she says. 

Now, thriving in the supportive team at Sapphire Studios, Sam has finally found a place where she feels happy. With a change of surroundings, she has attracted clients who appreciate her artistic skills, allowing her to realize her full potential as a tattoo artist. Attitudes towards women in the industry have changed significantly in recent years, with more and more women proudly claiming to be tattoo artists.

I believe that the industry is changing rapidly to acknowledge that women can be good tattoo artists. And I think it’s still a problem, I’m sure, but I have not experienced that issue recently. Changing my environment made a huge difference in that, and in doing so, changing my client base. They actually seek me out because I’m a woman, which makes them more comfortable as well. I’m really grateful for every step of the journey, even if it is painful.

— Sam Chase to InkMatch

Approach to Work: Tattoos as Personal Expression

For Sam Chase, tattooing is more than just art — it’s a powerful tool for personal expression and self-empowerment. “Tattoos hold a special power in that way,” she explains, highlighting the significance of tattoos in shaping one’s identity.

In a world filled with body-shaming and unrealistic beauty standards, Sam sees tattoos as a means to reclaim the right to love your body as it is. “Tattoos are a tool for reclaiming your body in a world where society dictates how you should perceive it. Just as you can’t choose your anatomy, you can’t opt out of paying taxes,” she asserts. 

Sam acknowledges the challenges that come with embracing tattoos, particularly in the face of societal judgment and familial disapproval. “Many families don’t approve of tattoos, but you have the freedom to make that choice. You’re allowed to get the tattoo you want (if you’re of legal age),” she declares.

For Sam, the decision to get a tattoo is an act of self-care and self-discovery. Just as one might change their hairstyle or nail color, getting a tattoo is a way to honor oneself and express individuality. 

Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than treating yourself. You’re worth doing whatever you want to this vessel that we have for a very limited time. You are worthy of love, though it can be hard to see at times, but you can always decorate yourself with tattoos, and you are worthy of decoration.

— Sam Chase to InkMatch

Sam Chase’s workspace at Sapphire Studios

Sam on Communication With Clients

For Sam, the most rewarding aspect of her job lies in the connections she forms with her clients and colleagues. “I’ve met so many incredible people, and I am literally doing a dream job,” she shares. 

Building loyal client relationships has been particularly meaningful for Sam, with many returning to her for new tattoos and friendly conversation. “Even if I’m having a rough day, the people I meet make it all worthwhile,” she says. Despite the challenges, her love for tattooing and the relationships she’s formed continue to fuel her passion.

Sam’s goal is to create a welcoming and accepting environment for her clients. “I want to be a safe space for them, and I want them to know that I am on the same page as them,” she emphasizes. Sam ensures that her clients not only leave with beautiful tattoos but also with a positive experience.

Red and Green Flags

When it comes to communicating with clients, Sam Chase has learned to recognize both red and green flags over the years. She shared her experience with InkMatch to help beginner tattoo artists find their ideal clients.

Green flags
Red flags
✅ Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for the artist's style and preferences

✅ Value the artist's expertise and show enthusiasm for their portfolio

✅ Are receptive to suggestions and follow the artist's recommendations

✅ Open communication and mutual respect

✅ Express excitement about collaborating with the artist
❌ Request designs that are outside the artist's area of expertise

❌ Misalignment in values that may create tension

❌ Disrespectful behavior or disregard for boundaries

❌ Prioritizing cost over quality

Sam’s studio has an inclusive and progressive atmosphere, making it a safe space for clients who share similar values. It is this vibe that attracts people who meet Sam’s green flags. 

When client requests are outside of her expertise, Sam strives to provide them with the best experience possible, even if it means referring them to another artist in her studio. “I refer them to a colleague who I think will do a better job,” she says.

According to Sam Chase, some interesting things are happening right now, but it’s not easy to predict the future. “I would say there’s a kind of trend in designs right now that you could call cyber-tribal or cyber-symbolism. But I don’t think it’s going to be popular for very long, like other types of tribal tattoos,” she says.

On the other hand, Sam sees anime tattoos growing in popularity and expects them to continue to gain momentum in the coming years. She also notes the current popularity of fine lines and minimalistic tattoos but expects a shift toward designs with bolder lines.

Many tattoo artists create amazing micro-realism designs, but the skin is still skin, and some very small and detailed tattoos probably won’t age well. I love fine-line tattoos and do them myself, but micro-realism I think is a trend that will fall out of favor.

— Sam Chase to InkMatch

🌞
What are UV tattoos? Read our interview with Johnny Hall to learn all about the new trends in the tattoo industry.

Beyond the Ink: Q&A with Sam

Q: What's your favorite style to create tattoos in?

Sam: I’d say my favorite designs are related to anime, manga, video games, and pop culture. I'm passionate about this stuff, and it's always frustrating to me when I see a tattoo artist tattooing an anime character and treating it as nothing but a picture. I believe it's important for the client not only to get a tattoo but also to connect with the artist on that level, to discuss it, and to admire it.

I think that this energy of people seeing that I not only do anime design but also share this passion, inspires me. Now, people often come to me specifically for anime-style tattoos, and I'm so grateful for that because I love it.
Beyond the Ink: Q&A with Sam
Sam's hand tattooQ: Do you think you have enough tattoos at this point? And what is your favorite tattoo that you have?

Sam: Well, I don't think I have enough tattoos yet. I'm not sure if I ever will until I'm mostly covered. But hey, I still have plenty of bare skin left to make many amazing designs.

Picking a favorite design is always hard when you have a lot of significant tattoos. I hold a special place in my heart for my hand tattoos — I remember getting them and feeling like I was the coolest person in the world.

There is also a sword that goes from my chest to my belly button, it was done by Chris Dabkus at UpRise Tattoos. This tattoo has helped me a lot on my journey of accepting my body.
Q: Do you have any current inspiration? Something or somebody who inspires you?
Sam:
It may sound cheesy, but all of my coworkers just fuel the fire of inspiration in me. They are just so talented in so many different areas, I just can't allow myself to fall behind, that would be a crime!
Sure, I follow incredible tattoo artists on Instagram, but no one inspires me like my peers do. I want to keep climbing up with them because we get better together. They're not just coworkers, they are my friends, and I want them to be proud of me.
Beyond the Ink: Q&A with Sam

Summary

So bright can be a woman’s journey in tattooing, and despite all the challenges now, Sam Chase is shaping the industry along with other renowned tattoo artists. Her passion for tattooing is truly inspiring and proves that you can achieve your dreams no matter what.

These were insights from Sam Chase about the hard but exciting work of being a tattoo artist, the challenges women face in the industry, and possible trend evolution

We hope this interview has inspired you! As Sam says, “Every tattoo carries a unique story waiting to be told.”

FAQ

👩 Can a Girl Be a Tattoo Artist?

Absolutely! Many talented female tattoo artists have made significant contributions to the industry. It’s about skill, dedication, and passion for the craft, not about gender. You can learn more about successful women in tattooing in our interviews with Jessica Valentine, Liz Cook, and Sam Chase.

👩‍🎨 Is Tattooing a Talent?

Tattooing requires a combination of artistic skill, creativity, and technical ability. Successful tattoo artists often have a natural talent for drawing, however, tattooing requires constant practice and long training to master the craft.

🤫 Can I Tattoo if I Can’t Draw?

Drawing skills can be beneficial for tattooing, but the good news is that drawing can be developed just like any other skill. Many successful tattoo artists have crafted their unique styles that align with their drawing abilities.

🎨 How to Learn Tattoo Art?

You can start by drawing tattoo designs on paper and learning the theoretical basics through online resources, books, and tutorials. Many experienced tattoo artists offer apprenticeships where you can learn practical skills and techniques.

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