Sunday, June 5, 2011

Artist Interview: Brittany Warner-Smithereens

Brittany Warner-Smithereens

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Brittany Morgan-Smith.  She is a tattoo artist in Hawaii.  We met in art school, Laguna College of Art and Design, back in 2004.  I was married to a Marine and moved to California and she moved to California and married a Marine!  Something about those jarheads...their irresistible! 
This is a portrait of Brittany by me, from art school.  And to think I almost gave it to her!  Then I wouldn't have been able to post it here 7 years later! lol

How did you get started as a tattoo artist?
It was something I wanted to do for a long time, but I was having a hard time getting the courage to try to get into it.  Once I had my mind set on it I knew I had to do it or I would never forgive myself. I lucked out and got in at an amazing shop in Hawai`i before I had even moved to the island :)

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, find it here!

What is your favorite part of giving a tattoo? 
The look on the person's face when they see their tattoo in the mirror for the first time and love it.
I also love when I can tell that I am doing something that makes someone feel more beautiful or when the tattoo brings closure to them.

Dude Looks Like A Lady, find it here!

How important do you feel your fine art background is to your success as a tattoo artist? 
In some ways it has helped so much and in others it has actually been problematic. It helps to know how color works, little tricks to lead the eye, etc
But it has been a big problem when it comes to using black and to defining things so much with lines. As a painter, using black is a huge no-no, but as a tattooist black can be your best friend (i'm still trying to convince myself of that).

Do you have any suggestions for people interested in becoming a tattoo artist?
Don't do it if you enjoy sleep, free time, and sanity, haha!
No, but seriously, it is far too easy to get a kit and teach yourself at home... don't do that!!!! It can be really hard to find somebody who is willing to share their knowledge with you, but it is worth it to learn to do things the right way. It's not only the fact that you are marking someone for life, but it is also a health issue (yours and theirs)

Rose Colored Glasses, find it here
I've always loved your work,  and I really like your "tattoo" paintings. What do you use to paint them?
First of all, thank you!! Big difference in them now that I'm tattooing, huh? Lines galore!  I mostly use microns, watercolor, &/or copic markers on coffee-stained watercolor paper.

Whats the weirdest tattoo you've ever done and/or seen
Most of the weirdest ones I've seen have been on a friend of mine who makes it her mission to get weird tattoos. One of them is of a monkey having sex with a mailbox.
The weirdest that I've given were of a pig and cow cut charts. I didn't think they were that strange (the recipient is a chef who is planning to get a fruit and veggie sleeve from me also), but they always make people giggle and ask questions when they look through my portfolio :)

Peonies, find it here
If you could tattoo any celebrity who would it be and what would you give them?
Hmmm, I honestly can't think of an answer to this. I'm not big into actors/actresses, but I LOVE musicians and comedians. This is such a boring answer, I'm sorry, hahaha!

Sailors Grave, find it here!

Do you have any tattoos?
I got my first when I was 18 and I'm still waiting on my others. I have had a sleeve in the planning stage for 2 years with my boss/mentor, but he's yet to start it. I have an appointment set in October already with one of my favorite artists in the world, Valerie Vargas. I'm already getting excited for that :)
Loner Rebel, find it here!

Kat Von D, Love or Hate?

As a tattoo artist I'm supposed to hate her, but I don't; I actually feel bad for her. I do hate LA Ink though because it has turned into a soap opera with tattoos sprinkled in here and there.
As far as Kat goes she has helped not only to show that there is room in the industry for the ladies (which, obviously, I appreciate) but the shows have helped to make tattoos more acceptable. She may not be on my list of favorite artists, but she's definitely got my respect

You can find Brittany at Pacific Soul Tattoo in Honolulu, Hawaii.  You can also find her on etsy at

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