One of the Babes: Leslie Karin
Meet Leslie Karin, a tattoo artist and all-around creative professional. She produces "mystic stitchery and illustrations" via her company CatxBone Craft.
You can check out some of Leslie's art and illustrations on her Instagram. Learn more about her creative process below.
Q: What inspired you to start working in this field? Did you have any role models or learn from anyone in particular?
A: Once I started getting tattooed as a teenager, I became pretty fascinated by its power and significance. There's this mindset that tattooing is a practice that alters the body to make it a more fitting home for the spirit inside. I take that very seriously and commit myself to helping people safely change their bodies in a positive, more self-identifying way.
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: Learn to check your self-doubt. Learn to appreciate the difference between self-evaluation and non-constructive self-criticism. I think it's good to look objectively at yourself, your work and your progress, but only with positive intent. If you let yourself be consumed with self-doubt, it gets easy to give up or lose focus. I'm definitely speaking from personal experience here—it's a really evil and challenging thing to navigate.
Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity?
A: I really cherish travel as a part of my creative process. I always travel with sketchbooks, drawing supplies, usually an embroidery project and a camera for taking reference photos. I have had a lot of creative breakthroughs while on trips.
Q: What have been your most challenging moments in your career, thus far?
A: At the beginning of my apprenticeship I was at the shop about 80 hours a week, on top of running my Etsy and tending to my home and family life. Add to that being a young woman in a staunchly male-dominated field and it was very easy to feel like I was in over my head.
Q: What's your day job?
A: I work at Affinity Tattoo full time, tattooing and helping clients at the counter. Then I work part-time from home on my Etsy shop and handcraft line.
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: I run away from the Internet. I feel like social media has the potential to let creative people compare themselves negatively to their industry peers, and I don't think that's healthy. Instead I read a lot, especially epic fantasy. Childhood favorites like the Lord of the Rings and the Never Ending Story (read the novel if you haven't—it's a treasure) help me to come back to a place where I feel like the world is full of magic and possibility, which is crucial for my creative process.
Your favorite band at the moment: I've been alternating between King Dude and Shannon and the Clams for a few days.
Your favorite book at the moment: I'm reading through H. P. Lovecraft's stories right now, trying to absorb some creeping ominous gloom vibes before the winter is totally gone.