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Sacred Skin Incantation: Interview with Tattoo Artist Noel'le Longhaul

Sacred Skin Incantation: Interview with Tattoo Artist Noel'le Longhaul

Tattoo Artists13 min Read

In this interview with Noel'le Longhaul, she opens up about her process, the craft of tattooing, and the Lupinewood Collective.

When I first saw Noel'le Longhaul's work it was like revisiting my childhood. That time in life when curiosity and symbols merge like magic, when the voices of the earth are still heard, when the flame of freedom or genuine self expression hasn't been extinguished by oncoming adulthood. Reconciling societal reality with our own authentic natures within can be a lifelong journey, but Noel'le makes this look not only possible, but powerful. In her illustrated microcosm I find that everyone has their heart unleashed, their body made perfect as it is, and their skin made sacred. Through transient destruction, like a forest fire creating fertile grounds, a place of Utopia is found. Here lives acceptance, protection, and adoration.

Your oeuvre spans a vast amount of materials and mediums, and it’s clear that your entire life is fused with creative works. Do you remember the first time you created something? How do you feel your personal background has fostered your artistic growth?

Traditionally tattoo artists are taught through apprenticeships, but many incredible tattoo artists are self-taught, including yourself. Why do you think there is a prejudice against DIY tattoo artists and why was tattooing an art form you were drawn to?

I was drawn to tattooing like a moth to a flame, compulsively tattooing myself as a teenager with a sewing needle and thread, with no knowledge or real interest in tattoo culture. The physicality of it grounded me in my body in an immediate and powerful way. The fact that a mark was left behind that process felt like magic to me: that I’d always be connected back to that moment of presence in my body. When I started tattooing my friends, that power over time exponentially multiplied: no matter what happened, a part of us would always live in that moment of closeness and intimacy, no matter the physical distance between us, no matter what choices we made, until our bodies died.

Your style is incredible, easily recognizable, and translates beautifully to every medium you work with. Your voice is definitive and crystal clear. How did you grow self-confidence within your art forms, what artists inspire you, and what advice do you have for younger artists trying to find their voice?

The tattoo industry is notorious for being predominantly cis straight white male oriented, but LGBTQ tattooers are getting an overwhelming amount of support through many media platforms, communities, and more. This seems to throw a positive light on the tattoo community becoming more open, welcoming, and aware which hopefully means, overall, society will follow suit. What has your experience been, and what do you think is the best way to promote understanding and acceptance outside of, and within, the queer community?

I love that you equate tattooing with witchcraft. The ritualistic aspects of tattooing, the energy transfer between artist and subject, it’s all very spellbinding. How do your practices weave together and do you think this is why people are so enraptured with your work? How can we practice magic in our everyday lives?

Because you stand for such strong concepts (being anarchist, trans, a witch, etc.) do you find that your art becomes socio-political in nature? Do you ever think of your art as a catalyst for change?

The goals and concepts behind Lupinewood are beautifully inspiring, like a Utopian novel come to life. How did the collective begin, and how did you all happen to find such a marvelous chosen family?

There seem to be so many projects and events going on at Lupinewood, that the work behind the scenes must be intensely overwhelming. How does the collective handle tasks equally? How do members handle moments of disagreement or struggle? What resources, if any, did the members use to base the collective on? Are there any present or past communities that inspired Lupinewood?

How can people help support Lupinewood? What does the future hold for Lupinewood that we can share with our readers?

Justine Morrow
Written byJustine Morrow

Social Producer, Journalist, Editor, and Curator for Tattoodo I am here to support you 🌻 IG: @lathe.of.heaven

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