Womxn in Seattle: Aiyana Inatsu (by Emma Eekhoff)


If you live in Seattle and are active on Instagram, or at least mine, you’ve seen Aiyana Inatsu’s tattoo work. Specializing in stick and poke, and this isn't the stick and poke that you were given in your college dorm by your questionable floormate. Inatsu’s work is delicate and most precise  with the single needles of her choosing. Tattooing began with her fascination of being able to permanently change yourself; it's not a thousand dollar surgery that you're investing in, you're investing in art and someone’s creativity.

Who are your biggest inspirations?
The people who inspire me the most are my peers. One of the people who I admire the most is Lily Jones. She’s a really amazing illustrator. I think that we push each other ‘to never stop working.’ We grew up together, and even as a kid, I remember thinking that she couldn't get any better, but she continues to improve. I strive to be that way, like it's easy to get comfortable once you get something figured out but I hate the feeling of being stagnant.

I look to her to keep working hard.

How did you make the transformation of self to call yourself an artist and start charging people for your art?
It was pretty hard, I definitely have imposter syndrome and it was hard for me to think that my work was valuable enough for people to charge for it. But ultimately, it was my friends that pushed me to start charging clients. My beginning rates, they were like “What the fuck no! You need to start charging more.”

Ever since I started charging, I’ve raised my rates three times. [I’ve] that you need to charge for your time, because your time is valuable, especially if you work for yourself.


What have you been reading (watching, and listening to) lately?
I’m definitely in the category of people that loves the true crime podcasts.
I’ve been listening to The Last Weeks of August, focused around exposing the shit in the porn industry. It’s about the suicide of August Ames, where basically her husband, who was also in the industry believes that she was bullied to the point of taking her own life. But the investigation goes so much deeper than that.
I think that anything that has to do with sex work is really important for people to see that real side of it. Because it’s so easily consumed brainlessly, so to add identities, faces and life stories to these faces is really important.

What’s on your playlist?
Blood Orange, Frank Ocean, Steve Lacey, MistaDC, and Beach House.

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?
My favorite thing about Seattle is how much of a small family it kind of is.
I think that it's amazing that so many people that we know that are creative and that they each have their own special thing, their own specialty. There's always a job for everyone.
Seattle OGs have really set it up for young creatives to make it out here.

What does self care look like in 2019?
Therapy. Therapy is number one. I think I’m in my second year now, and I love it. I honestly don’t think that you need a problem to go to, I think it's like exercising, it like maintenance. I just think its so great that you get a professional objective opinion on things that are going on in your life.

Find Aiyana:
Stick Pokers

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