A prodigious talent that is already making a mark on the community with her incredibly detailed tattooed Kewpie babes, Sofia Ripper took some time to talk about her background and beginnings with Tattoodo. If the steady hand behind the illustrative old school and traditional work on the plastic skin isn't already apparent, we'll surely be signing up in her books soon enough!
What is your artistic background? What are your first memories of tattoos?
My grandmother was a printmaker and my brother is an artist as well so I was naturally inclined to be artistic. I originally wanted to be an illustrator but I ended up taking one printmaking class and fell in love with the medium while in college. So I have my undergraduate in printmaking. What’s funny is I was just talking to my aunt and she was saying how when I was around 5, I was explaining to her how I wanted a giant butterfly tattoo across my back. It just made me so happy to think that I’ve always been aesthetically drawn to tattoos even as a child.
When did you decide to become a tattoo apprentice and why did you want Adam Vu Noir to be your mentor? What has the experience been like for you?
I always wanted to tattoo, but I never thought it would happen as organically as it did. What happened was I got tattooed by Adam and we talked a lot about art and life in general. I wanted to get tattooed by him because I thought it was so insane that he traveled the world for his job. Which is what I want to do too so I was inherently drawn to him. So we got along the whole appointment and he was mentioning that he needed an assistant for his pop-up, Strangelove LA, and that’s how our relationship started. He started with me tattooing a Kewpie that he carried in his backpack across Asia. Then it just grew from there to me becoming his apprentice.
What style of tattooing are you most attracted to? What artists, tattoo oriented or not, are the ones who inspire you most?
Being an apprentice takes an insane amount of work, but what do you do when you’re not working in the shop? How do you maintain motivation?
What does success mean to you? What are your hopes for the future?