Name: Drew Linden
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Occupation: Unicorn Maker, haha. In all seriousness, or not, I’m a Tattooer.
Born in the land of beach and sun, Drew Linden always had more taste for adventure than her small town allowed. To chase the dream, she left home for Northern California where she studied journalism and music. She returned to her Southern California roots once more to complete her tattoo apprenticeship before trekking across the country to call New York home. " I remember arriving here scared shitless but kept saying to myself if I can make it here I can make it anywhere, " states Drew.
After a six-year roller coaster, she continues to live in New York City with her two cats. When she's not tattooing, she's listening to her massive collection of records and boxing, her newest obsession.
Catch this badass tattooer at Eight of Swords Tattoo in Williamsburg Brooklyn and read about her journey below!
For starters, you're a wicked talented artist! What attracted you to the world of tattooing and how would you define intuitive tattooing?
I would honestly have to say, I was at the right place at the right time and wouldn't take no for an answer. I've been getting tattooed since I was 16 and it wasn't until I was looking for an after class job during college that I walked into a tattoo shop in my hometown and got hired. The first thing I really loved about the environment was the chance to connect with people on such a personal and intimate level. At that point, it would be six years before I even touched a tattoo machine.
The art was always a given. My grandfather was the only person in my family with a tattoo, and I remember always being so fascinated by it. Additionally, both of my parents were artistic so there was never a shortage of crafts in my house growing up.
After a year of working at the shop, I had made up my mind. This is what I wanted to do, so I began drawing. I was young and inexperienced, but I persisted and practiced every day. At this time, in the early 2000s, there were only two other female tattooers I knew of and they were big shoes to fill – Jackie Dunn Smith, the First Lady I had the pleasure of befriending and obsessing over... and I still fangirl to this day and she's one of my closest friends. She gave me the confidence to follow this passion.
I knew I wanted to make a difference, not only in tattooing but also in the realm of there being more females in the boys' club. I have always been set on working in a career that allowed me to help people and tattooing became that career for me. As an empath/intuitive person, I learned early on during consults that I could visualize exactly what my client wanted with one or two words – that goes along with body placement.
In the last eight years, I have also worked heavily on myself as a person and with my spirituality. Now, I can not only be told what a client may or may be going through, but I can also feel it. I've had friends describe me as an intuitive tattooer and also a scared scribe. I figured intuitive tattooers would just be easier to swallow for most people, haha. Either way, I look at tattooing as an art form and a serious way to heal mind, body and soul.
Off the top of your head, what are a couple of your favorite pieces to work on?
When I started tattooing, I was drawn to traditional or the Americana style of tattooings – bold lines, lots of black and bright colors. Over the years, my style has changed and I now do quite a bit of blackwork, etching style line and dot work. I really enjoy doing floral tattoos in either style, tarot/religious/occult symbology, stylized portraits, bold traditional and lady heads.
On top of the style above, you professional microblade eyebrows and freckles. Can you describe the process of microblading?
Mircoblading was one of those things where I saw a way to further my empathic/healing abilities in a more alternative setting. It is done with a hand tool, so no tattoo machine is needed. I start by numbing each client and then make small hair stroke lines on a mapped out brow line on the face. Freckles, on the other hand, I do use a machine. Both procedures are done with semi-permanent cosmetic tattoo ink.
How often do the brows/freckles have to be touched up?
Brows are a two-session process about 8 weeks apart. After the second follow up, depending on how much brow we are building and the color of pigment/hair used on a client, they're usually good to go for about 9 - 12 months.
Freckles are yearly but the more they fade, the more natural they look. I will say that once you get 'em you just want more!
How does art play a role in your life outside of the tattoo parlor?
I feel like once you realize you're an artist, which I believe everyone is, art is your life. Like, tattooing isn't just a job, it's my entire life and everything is connected to it. Yet, the biggest influence art has had on my life, outside of the shop, are fashion and music. I am always trying to put the strangest outfits together. I want to stand out and be loud and proud. I want to make the world realize that what others see as ridiculous is, in fact, wonderful in its own right. But, let's be totally honest, I wear a ton of black and listen to a lot of Billie Holiday and New Order.
When you need a moment to catch your breath and escape the realities of life, where do you go?
My bathtub. I fill it with the hottest water and Epsom salt; an amazing way to cleanse and ground my body and energy field.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
Learn accounting! Because one day you won’t be receiving a paycheck where someone does it for you. You’re gonna have to keep track of everything. Also, don’t grow up so fast. You’ve got all the time in the world to be amazing.
Discuss the importance of female friendships in your life.
Growing up, I was a tomboy. I wanted to hang out with boys, dress like them, play the games and sports they did. It wasn’t until college that I realized the necessity female friends would play in my life. Now I would literally die without them. I was lucky enough to have a sister who was very close in age with me so I always had her and she is my number one! But I have grown so much as a person in the female friendships I’ve had. Everyone is a lesson waiting to be learned and I’m so thankful for the ladies that have stuck by me through different points in my life.
Who are some of your greatest influences?
Every single person trying to make a difference in this world.
If you could have dinner with any woman in history, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Marie Antonette because in the face of such hate, this woman was born into a position where you had no real voice. I’d like to hear her story.
Patti Smith because I know we’ve walked the same walk before and I’d love to be able to sit across from a woman who helped shape the idea of New York for me before I moved here.
Maud Wagner, the first female tattooer in the US. I wanna know what living within a circus and tattooing on the road was like.
What are you grateful for? My life. and the people in it. I am so incredibly fortunate to be living this life and I go to bed every night and wake up every morning thanking the universe for allowing me to be here.
Quote to live by?
Don’t look back. You aren’t going that way.