Artist Feature: Beth Stanley of Old Friends Tattoo

>> Beth Stanley and her long-time best friend, Casey Diaz, fulfilled their goal of opening their tattoo own shop in Rochester, New York, which they named Old Friends Tattoo. Her whole life, Beth’s passion and only hobby has been art. “When I was around twelve it was when those tattoo shows started coming out and I was like woah...that would be a really cool career path.” At just fifteen years old, she was hired by a tattoo shop “and every single day after school my grandfather would drive me to the shop for my apprenticeship and back home, every day until I graduated.” Beth’s continuous practice and determination to perfect her style allowed her to become a shop owner!

Beth’s parents have always been supportive of her art and have inspired her creativity. Her father’s navy tattoos were the reason Beth was first drawn to her current career. Her mom saved some of Beth’s early drawings, and “brought in one of my drawings to me and had me tattoo it on her. It was actually a horses face that was kind of melting towards the bottom, dripping off a little bit, and it was a really good drawing even for when I was little.”

When she first started working, she had to reteach herself to draw for tattoos. “You have to get your idea and then perfect it,” the small details and shading come during the tattooing process. Taking the time to relearn and pushing past that artist block made her a stronger artist, and she has seen that by looking at her past drawings. “Once you see your early work it’s kind of embarrassing and you see where you are and you’re like, oh that’s okay! I’m going down the right path!” Her art style has transformed from a Neo-Traditional style to black and grey realism. The rotary machines she uses and her obsession with free flowing organic forms pushes her art to another level. Portraits of dogs and flowers are among her favorites to tattoo, and she now avoids creating Neo-Traditional and tribal tattoos. Her style has gained so much popularity that she is currently booked through July!

When envisioning Old Friend’s Tattoo, Beth wanted a place that was modern and chic and where people felt welcomed. She wanted a place that would challenge the hardcore, rough, and dangerous stereotype associated with tattoos. Finding a location was a challenge because many areas feared that a tattoo shop would give the town a bad image. “I was like, we don’t bring the riff-raff! We are artists who put their art on people, it’s really as simple as that.” After much searching, she found a place, convinced Casey to partner with her, and then her dream came together. Old Friends Tattoo is now located on 241 Norris Drive. <<