5 Questions With: Jessica Mascitti Ellis

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I have a thing for tattoos and I have a whole lot of respect for tattoo artists. Jessica Mascitti Ellis is a tattoo artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. I found her work via Instagram a year ago and have been following her career ever since. Her black and white work and all of the portraits she does are simply stunning. She has a unique way of blending colors, her detail work is amazing and has a real talent for making every tattoo look so great on the skin. In my opinion, she’s one of the top female tattoo artists in the US right now. She currently tattoos at Graceland in Brooklyn and East Side Ink also located in Brooklyn. You can see some of the beautiful work she’s done here. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Jessica Mascitti Ellis:

1) When did you start tattooing? What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

In June of 2008 I started my first session on my first tattoo; a back piece by the incredibly talented Josh Lord. I fell in love with the method and ritual of the art of tattooing. I had never once felt beautiful until I adorned Josh’s beautiful work on my skin. I learned then that tattoos are magic. 

At the time, I was a freelance animator as well as a bartender and I wasn’t entirely pleased with either vocation. One of my closest friends, Bethany, planted the seed. She suggested trying to get an apprenticeship at Josh Lord’s shop East Side Ink. I didn’t feel worthy enough to be a tattoo artist, let alone one that would learn under the legendary artists at East Side Ink, but I thought, fuck it, what do I have to lose? 
I introduced my artwork to Josh along with my intentions, and to my surprise he wasn’t against the idea! A year later I was in the shop as both Josh Lord and Patrick Conlon’s apprentice. 

2) What inspires your art?

My artistic roots stem from my love of animation and comic books. Their influence never left my hand. Despite my best efforts to “mature” my style, you can always see the residue of anime and American comic book art in every piece I do. My current inspiration however is Bollywood! All those saturated colors in every shot and scene! The beautiful women!! I can’t take it!! 

3) How much has the perception women tattoo artists changed over the past couple of years?

I was lucky to come into tattooing at a time when ladies started to dominate the industry. Most of my tattoo idols are women, and I share those idols with my male colleagues. I know that my lady predecessors dealt with some serious bullshit from their male peers to pave the way for the next generation of lady tattooers, and I worship them even more for it. 

4) What in your opinion makes a good tattoo?

A composition that moves with the wearers anatomy and compliments the muscle structure is what creates a beautiful tattoo. Even the smallest tattoo should glide over the body like a silk scarf. 

5) What have been some of the most memorable pieces you’ve done thus far in your career?  

The pieces that I revisit are those that have accidentally evolved my style. It’s always the ones that force you out of your comfort zone that are most memorable. 

5 Questions With: Lizzie Renaud of Speakeasy Tattoo & Pinky’s Nails

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I first heard of Lizzie Renaud a few years ago when I was looking to get a new tattoo after having just moved Toronto. Lizzie is one of the top female tattoo artists in Toronto. Not only is she an incredible artist, she is also the owner of the super rad Toronto tattoo shop Speakeasy Tattoo and a few years ago also opened up a luxury nail art studio called Pinky’s Nails in downtown Toronto. Lizzie is not only a badass entrepreneur but also a visionary woman. She’s always on the lookout for new projects and opportunities, which is one of the reasons why this woman is so inspiring. I hope to one day have the pleasure of being tattooed by her. In the meantime, here are my 5 Questions With Lizzie Renaud:

1) When did you start tattooing? What made you want to become a tattoo artist?

I started tattooing in 2003’ish.  Those first few years was a lot of learning. I wanted to be a tattooer because I really liked working with people at my first job and I wanted to be a bigger part of it all. It seemed like a good way to make art as a full time job.

2) How much has the perception women tattoo artists changed over the past couple of years?

I think that as long as people keep asking that question, little has changed in general. Clearly we must still stand out as different. I’m not a “woman” tattoo artist just as much as there’s no such thing as a “woman” dentist or “woman” baker. I would love for there to be a day that we are just tattoo artists like anyone else.

3) What in your opinion makes a good tattoo?

I think when a client is able to simplify their tattoo ideas into the fewest elements possible, they will get their best tattoo. I also think that a client should really like the artists style of tattooing before engaging in any work with them. 

4) In addition to being a tattoo artist, you are also a businesswoman. You are the owner of the Speakeasy Tattoo shop in Toronto and also Pinky’s Nails, a luxury nail art studio. Why was it important for you to start up both of these businesses?

Sometimes I get ideas for fun projects and they’re fizzled out within a week… Other times a special motivation strikes me and I can see an idea through to a bigger end goal. My two shops are examples of ideas I was just motivated to see through. I think it’s important to take advantage of those feelings. 

5) What was it about nail art that you were drawn to? Do you think it’s a trend that’s here to stay?

Nail art was an escape for me, and I can’t really tell you why.  Some people like baking, some people do ceramics… Painting nails just was something that let me meditate through a creative medium.  I think my fixation on it lead to me wanting to create a dedicated space for it.

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I have a thing for flowers… I’ve always had. Maybe it’s a girl thing, maybe it’s the fact that I don’t live somewhere where flowers grow outside all year round. I like their delicateness, I like their colors, I like their smell and all of their different shapes and sizes. Each flower represents something different to me, a different time or event in my life. As a kid, I would receive flowers after dance shows, figure skating shows, birthdays, school graduations, etc. My mother would always adorn our house with fresh bouquets of flowers every week. It was just something that made our house not only smell nice but also feel a lot more alive. My favorite flowers are definitely peonies (hence the tattoo), but I really love them all! My dream is to live somewhere where I can have flowers around me all throughout the year. In the meantime, I try to decorate my apartment with flowers here and there, those than can survive with little sunlight or throughout the winter. Happy to have brought this new addition home!

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Photos by @Offner

Zara white denim pants

M for Mendocino white tee

Anine Bing Bohemian black hat

Anine Bing boots with silver studs (get them here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Lionette Gilmore bracelet (to order please go here)

Vanessa Mooney With A Tiny Tender Kiss Charm Bracelet White(get it here)

5 Questions With: Langley Fox

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Photo by: Clarke Tolton

Langley Fox is a not only a beautiful model but she is also an incredibly talented artist. For the past couple of years, I’ve been following her career via social media. She modelled for some of my favorite designers including Toronto’s Beaufille and has the raddest personal style – she’s always wearing Pamela Love jewels and has coolest combination of rock n’ roll and bohemian clothes. I love her Instagram feed because it is where she often publishes some of her latest artwork. I think all of her sketches are stunning, so much so that this past spring, I got one of her flower drawings tattooed on my arm (you can see it here) by my favorite tattoo artist Dr. Woo. I am extremely touched that this hardworking artist took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions. Here’s my 5 Questions With Langley Fox:

1) When did you start making art? Do you recall the first drawing that really marked you and made you think this was something you wanted to pursue?

I have always drawn since I was able to hold a pencil, like most kids I believe. I know that as a child I drew star people everywhere because it was something I was good at, I don’t think I thought they were remarkable or anything but I enjoyed making them. I decided I definitely wanted to be an artist the moment I realized you could make a “grown up” career out of it, which was around kindergarten.  

2) What inspires your art?

I get inspired by all sorts of things, such as visual imagery, conversations with friends and family, nature, dreams… Really any life experience can stem an idea. 

 3) In addition to being an artist, you are also a model. How do these two careers influence each other?

In my opinion these careers are almost complete opposites. Drawing stimulates the introvert in me and keeps me focused and creative, whereas modeling forces me to be an extrovert, be spontaneous, and go with the flow. Obviously I feel much safer as an artist but modeling has pushed me out of my comfort zone which I think is important to do in ones life. I now feel like they somehow balance each other out and I’m inspired by both. 

4) Can you talk to us about your style evolution from your teens until now? How has working as a model, traveling and shooting with different brands and designers influenced your style?

I have always approached dressing as another creative outlet; my body is just another canvas for me that I get to have fun with from one day to the next. It really isn’t about designer names or brands (not that I don’t love some of them), it’s more about having fun and dressing like a different character. My mind state on the matter really hasn’t changed since I was a kid, just the quality of clothes and skills to put them together. 

5) What have been some of your most memorable moments thus far in your career?

The artist commissions I have completed, such as Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton! For modeling it has been working with Michel Comte and his team, they are true artists themselves and I am honored to add to their vision. 

Peony Tattoo For Mom

Many of you have been asking about my new Dr. Woo tattoo that I got at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood two weeks ago. It has finally healed so I’m thrilled to post some pics of it. I decided to get a peony for my mom that was inspired by artwork from Langley Fox. I had the opportunity to first get tattooed by Dr. Woo in June of last year. He is hands down the raddest tattoo artist I’ve ever met. I was so thrilled that he found time in his schedule to make this super significant tattoo happen for me. Growing up my mother had peony bushes all around the house. They would always bloom right around my birthday and her birthday (we’re only a few days apart!) in June. She would always put some bouquets around the house, in my bedroom or would give us some to bring to our school teachers. Every year, without fail, this beautiful flower came out right in time for our birthdays. I’ve always associated this flower with my mom. So instead of getting her name tattooed, I wanted to get something just as beautiful as she is and that would remind me constantly of my hero. Thanks so much Brian for gifting me this beautiful piece of art, I’m forever grateful! I love you mom!

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California Highlights

Just before leaving for Montreal on assignment for work, I spent almost two weeks in California for a little r and r. Here are some of the highlights of my trip:

1- Venice

It was my first time officially staying in Venice on this past trip. @Offneraurelien had stayed there before and definitely is very fond of this beach town. Though I’d hung out in Venice and had meetings there, I had never really explored the town more: the infamous boardwalk, the enormous guys work out at Muscle Beach or those dressed up asking for money to pose for pictures, etc. What I liked about Venice is the fact that not too far from that madness, you have all the beautiful canals and homes in quiet streets. I envy those who live in that area. How about a nice kayak ride after breakfast or a coffee on your porch overlooking the canals and being just two blocks from the ocean?! Sounds dreamy! What I also fell in love with in Venice is Abbot Kinney street. The street totally screams MEL! I love all the quaint coffee shops, the abundant choice of restaurants (you must go to Gjelina – the Caramel & seasalt pot de crème is RIDIC! & 3 Square Café + Bakery) the cool clothing and vintage shops and its overall vibe!

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2- Deus ex machina

Located in Venice, this coffee shop/bike shop is a cool laid-back spot for a croissant and coffee in the morning. If you like the old motorcycle culture, surfing and coffee, then Deus is the place for you! I loved how friendly the staff was there. They don’t offer a very extensive menu but the stuff they do offer is yummy. Plus, they’ve got a cool shop design. Deus is always putting on some rad events in the Venice area, so make sure you check them out!

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3- The CheeseStore of Silverlake

Those who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese! I don’t think I could live without it. We stopped by the Silverlake cheese shop for a little “goûter” one afternoon. Their selection was fantastic! They had so much variety, cheeses that are hard to find even in Toronto, fresh baked goods and a wonderful selection on wines. Plus, their prices were really affordable! I loved sitting down on their bench out front in the sun and enjoying my goûter!

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4- Reel Inn

@Offneraurelien had been telling me about this place for quite some time now. He claims that Reel Inn was the coolest little taco restaurant in all of LA. Located on the PCH right at the beginning of Malibu, Reel Inn looks like some crappy wood shed. You would have no idea that they serve a huge variety of fresh fish they caught that day as well as some good old tacos. You could see it in Aurelien’s face just how stoked he was to be at his favorite “taco fish” spot. I loved their terrasse and super cosy atmosphere.

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5- Dr. Woo

While on vacation, I had the chance of getting tattooed by the ultra talented Dr. Woo, who works at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood. I’ve been following his instagram feed for the last couple of months and am a big fan of his work. He’s tattooed some bloggers I follow, celebrities, musicians and regular folk like myself. I’d been thinking of getting the word “Wanderlust” tattooed on me for quite some time now and thought he was the perfect guy to do it! Love the script that he did. For those who don’t know what wanderlust means, it’s “A strong desire to travel”. Seemed fitting!

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There were tons of other fantastic things on this trip – daily Urth Caffé stops, Café Gratitude, bike rides, my entire birthday extravaganza, Micheal Jackson slot machines in Vegas, Universal Studios, surfing, Encinitas, etc. Can’t wait for the second part of our adventure in July!!

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Feeling Grey + New Springsioux #DailyOutfit

Can’t say I’m thrilled with the current weather situation in Toronto these days… but who is?! I was hoping to come home and have it finally be summer in the city but to my utter disappointment, we’re still far away from the summer warmth and sunshine! I definitely try to appreciate the little bit of sunshine we’ve been getting any way I can!

This morning I finally received the last part of my birthday gift from @offneraurelien, straight from Paris! Wohoo 🙂 I received a few pieces from the brand new Springsioux collection! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be repping this rad up and coming brand from Paris here in North America 🙂 I first got one of their rings on my last visit to Paris in December and haven’t taken it off since! Today, I received one of their latest rings – the Horns Ring plus three items from their special collaboration with the Parisian tattoo artist Eddie Czaicki. I love his take on mexican art and the lady muerte. Can’t wait to wear these! Springsioux will be opening up their first concept store in Paris next month and will be doing their official store launch on July 6th… So wish I could be there! To follow the tribe, go here.

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H&M charcoal grey cuffed shorts (similar ones here)

Zara black striped tee (similar one here)

Zara TRF Combination Biker Jacket (get it here)

TOPSHOP Aztec inspired silver and gold necklace

Kitson LA leather and gold bracelet 

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Springsioux Horns Ring (get it here)

Steve Madden Zebra hair wedges