By: Amelia Mehlbrech-Savala
Feb. 13, 2020
After giving us the incredible honor of sharing her artwork in our upcoming Marked box, Jess Mascetti was able to share even more of herself with us by divulging a piece of her tattoo odyssey. Here, Jess shares with us how she has fought through the ranks to become a staple in New York City tattooing. Even through humbled words, there is no denying Mascetti's incredible mind, superb talent, and resolute work ethic after listening to a piece of her story and understanding her perspective on art. Here is what Jess had to say about some of the questions I threw her way.
Star Sign: Cancer
Favorite Food: Charcuterie
Drink of Choice: Bourbon. Rocks.
Favorite Movie: The Professional
Favorite TV Show Right Now: The Watchmen
Karaoke Song: “Kiss Them for Me” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Pet’s Name: Owen
I was born in and raised mostly in Long Island City Queens NYC.
I was a very shy, very quiet child and low self-esteem hindered my ability to communicate. Art quickly became my language, my identity, and it was a means for me to receive the accolades I was incapable of receiving through academia. A safe place that I could escape to.
I’ve always been fascinated by the moving image; whether it film, animation, or a tattoo on dancing skin. I never knew where my place was in relation to the medium, but always knew I needed to be a part of it.
When the tattoo ban in NYC was lifted in 1997, I had sought a tattoo and an apprenticeship by a gentleman known at the time as Mad Dog. He owned a tiny, 24-hour shop on the 6th Ave strip. I was still in high school at the time as well as a cocktail waitress at night and I just couldn’t balance the time. I ended up ruining that opportunity for myself by not being able to make the hours. To my fortune many, many years later in 2009, I had the honor of meeting tattoo legends Josh Lord and Patrick Conlon, who took me under their wings and have given me the greatest gifts I could ever receive. To have both of these great men as tattoo mentors is a blessing I could have never imagined for myself. To say I’m lucky is an absolute understatement.
I don’t feel as if my tattoo work has its own style. The art fluctuates with each person I collaborate with. My intentions are always to make the recipient feel more beautiful, or stronger, or more complete by the end of our session. Each artistic intention is tailored to the recipient, resulting in adorning artwork distinct to their vision and spirit.
Tattooing is endless work if you’re lucky. When you’re not in the chair tattooing, you’re usually at the desk drawing for tattoos.
My favorite past time outside of drawing when time allows is studying the works of Shakespeare, Shaw and of course Chekhov, as well as attending contemporary productions throughout the city.
This is an endless list. I’m not even sure where to begin- each name is a twig on a branch on the limb of the ever-growing tree of the conscious collective.
James Jean, Lars Uwe, J. Scott Campbell, Vanya, Thomas Hooper, Anderson Luna, Alphonse Mucha, Alfonso Cuarón, Becky Cloonan, Michael Turner, Christopher Nolan, Jeff Gogue, Trent Reznor, Lena Heady, Nick Cave, Teresa Sharpe, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Kehinde Wiley, Hokusai,
Tori F**king Amos.......
Meeting and learning the stories of the people whom I get to collaborate with.
Why rush? When it’s right, it’s right- and there isn’t a time limit on that.
You may find that you’re never ready, which is also fine. You can admire tattoos without being adorned in them.