Alongside being a tattoo artist with a unique style, Noel'le Longhaul is an interesting person, who identifies as a transgender individual as well as a witch. Both of these aspects of their life intersect in their intriguing art work, which, like the occult, draws its inspiration directly from nature.
Longhaul has a compelling personal philosophy about tattoos. They believe that the art form has the power to transform lives, that it's literally a form of blood magic. "[Tattoos are] a way of marking out what I would now call ritual space with people who were trying to find ways of helping each other, tell each other's stories, and inhabit each other's bodies," Longhaul told Broadly in an interview. They claim that being heavily tattooed is fundamentally empowering, not only in terms of having control over their own body but also how the outward world objectifies them.
Longhaul identifies as a witch for reasons that parallel their interest in tattoos. "[It] feels like both magic and tattooing are about the construction of secret hidden spaces where we can use ritual and intention to cast up this dome to inhabit a position of collaborative power," Longhaul continued. This intersection of identity politics and tattoos is not only trippy, it has real political agency as well.
As one can infer from the image above, Longhaul's tattoo style is primarily done in black and grey with mild stippling and hatching. There is a fairytalesque element to their work that conjures up other iconic images from fine artists like Arthur Rackham, John Bauer or Edward Gorey. Few other tattoo artists have imported this enchanted aesthetic as elegantly as Longhaul in their misleadingly simple work.
Longhaul's pieces that reside on their client's extremities, such as hand and foot tattoos, have a bewitching air to them and are highly unconventional as well. It is uncommon for artists to illustrate complex scenes like landscapes on these boney parts of the body, but Longhaul somehow captures the majesty of nature where you'd least expect it.
The floral tattoos that Longhaul performs are also spellbinding, almost as if taken directly from a medieval apothecary's sketchbook and transmuted onto peoples' bodies.
Though all of Longhaul's tattoos have their signature charm, their illustrations that feature bordered vignettes of the natural world are the most outstanding. The piece above that depicts an otter out for a night swim is an example of their work at its very best.
Longhaul tattoos at Charon Art Visionary Tattoo in Great Falls, NJ, so if you're in the area and interested in getting a nature tattoo or talking about the intersectionality of identity politics and witchcraft, check out their shop. Also, they can be found on Instagram @laughingloone, where more of their magical art is showcased.