In this exclusive interview with Tattoodo Ambassador Teneile Napoli she tells us what it's like to be a mom, an incredible tattooist, and the owner of an all female tattoo studio, Garage Ink Manor. Her work is known for it's gorgeous black and grey qualities that illustrate magical goddesses, religious icons, and fantastical awe-inspiring animals.
How did you get into tattooing? Why were you drawn to this particular art form?
I didn’t choose the tattoo life, the tattoo life chose me! It’s a really a big story...I never came from a tattoo background and back then I was one of the first 10 female tattoo artists in Australia. I started apprenticing in 1998. I also completed my degree in multi media and fine art whilst having a new baby, being a single mum and all the rest! But that feels like a life time ago.
What is the tattoo community like on the Gold Coast of Australia? What are the pros and cons of owning your own shop?
We have always kept to ourselves but everyone we have met seems super lovely. Our studio is situated in the mountains so it's a while away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Our clients come from all over Australia and the world to collect their art, to relax and chill. The past 8 years of owning a studio has had highs and lows; it’s hard work. And being female in our industry has not been easy: we have been subject of a lot of jokes and hate. Iv'e thought about ending it all countless times from the heart break of some characters that have had me fooled, but my love for the art, the clients and the girls that truly love me have always kept me going. I love so much teaching and sharing this beautiful life with my friends and family. Tattooing has given me this opportunity to travel the world and I work with my best mates everyday.
I love that your shop is built through the work beautiful, strong, inspiring women. How did you bring these particular artists together? What would you say is your mission or philosophy behind being an all female shop?
We are all so different but like minded. In a sense we are all small town girls and we have all been bullied in our industry. Garage provides a safe creative environment for the girls to grow not only as artists but as women. We support one another in all aspects of our lives. Our philosophy is support and love, compassion, honesty and hard work. A space free of ego and, most of all, gratitude and appreciation for our clients for without them we could not do what we do.
How would you describe your style? What are your favorite tattoos to do or look at? Who are the artists, tattooers or not, that you look up to?
Dark fantasy is my favorite art form. I was strongly inspired by Brian Froud, Luis Royo and Gerald Brom, so many more but mostly my teacher Shane Little and my girls. All artists really. Travel and buildings inspire me, emotion inspires me, nature inspires me...music, pain, love!
What do you like to do when you’re not tattooing? What do you wish you had more time for?
Hanging with my beautiful kids, fitness and yoga. Helping my partner design and build investment properties...I love architecture and interior design.
Any plans for 2018 that you want to share? Guest spots, travel plans, new projects?
We are starting a podcast in September called Beyond Our Skin. We will interview our clients and listen to their stories. We have incredibly inspiring individuals come through our doors and we wish to share that with the world. Creating a channel for people to come listen and be inspired, not feel alone and relate to different stories. I could be out of my mind because I'm the most awkward person ever so this should be interesting! And travel plans? Always!