Empress Red Art

Posted by Tony Davis

The eighth installment of #SSForEveryone features Amber Nelson, Owner of Empress Red Art, formally known as AmbyInkz.

My first introduction to the tattoo industry was when I was 17 years old. In high school, I used to draw tattoo ideas for people for a few dollars. Then I noticed that the actual artists in shops would claim the artwork as their own, without crediting me. When I realized what they were doing, I asked them to train me, but they didn't, or they claimed that women don't tattoo. After getting a machine from my uncle, I practiced for a year on myself, did a small apprenticeship in 10th grade, and the rest followed behind. Opening my first shop was a great feeling. My search for a space and dealing with zoning and such was difficult. Once I had crossed that bridge, I realized I didn't need approval or good wishes, I could do anything.

As a woman in the tattoo industry, you must hold your own space and weight, never be intimidated. It's almost as rare as when a woman joins a football team. Many men will not approve, or even try to demean your abilities and character. Hell, they've even befriended me to upend me, but I'm good at what I do, so I try to master it all. My skill and my journey can't be erased, they keep me grounded and aware.

It feels great! My favorite thing to see is young people venturing out and taking risks. Especially female artists and painters. As a young adult, I remember being nervous about working and traveling with my skills since I had no examples coming from close by. And now I'm a part of a group that helped create a "Black tattoo experience" in Mobile, Alabama of all places? That's incredible! They'll tell you art is a dead end, but I proved them wrong.

I love Secret Scientist. SS is accessible to all ages and genders. Even back in the Fly Times era, I was a fan of the brand. It's a staple for the city, so I always wear it. It’s something we all should be proud of because it represents Mobile, AL to the fullest, Mardi Gras, and all! #SSForEveryone

 

Follow her business page on Instagram @EmpressRedArt

Shots by: @ddbmedia on Instagram