One of my favorite pastimes is cruising around online and finding new tattoo artists to have crushes on. A few weeks ago on twitter one of the tattoo bloggers I follow sent out a tweet with a batch of tattoo artists and shops worth taking a look at. The women at @13skin have never steered me wrong so I took a peek and instantly had my latest crush;
Briana is not only an artist at Buju she is also the owner. And her lovely shop is a perfect example of a bright, beautiful and welcoming space that clears away the outdated aesthetic of “the shop must be a cave”.
But Briana and Buju are much more than a pretty face. Briana employs an all female line-up of experienced and talented artists that have developed a loyal following and it is easy to see why.
As you can see the lady has some major chops and is not chained to a particular style. I was especially drawn to her use of vivid color and her intricate linework.
You can see a lot more examples (and develop your own crush) by visiting her instagram page here; http://instagram.com/briana_buju_Tattoo Now I used to live in San Diego many moons ago but I am originally an east coast girl from Massachusetts so when I read Pretty Living Onlines article about Briana I was delighted to see that she was an east coaster like me (because I am literally that easy to please). And even though these articles covered things like how Briana got into tattooing and what her average day looks like (an enviable mix of sunshine, outdoors and creativity) I had more questions and Briana was gracious enough to take time out her very busy schedule to answer them for me.
Tattoo Tourist: Looking over your portfolio I see some really nice examples of different styles; watercolor, American Heritage, etc. Do you have a favorite style that like you like to work in? Do you consider any particular style your specialty?
Briana: I can get excited about a variety of different styles and generally feel like the enthusiasm surrounding a piece is based more on the energy of the person being tattooed than anything else. On some of the larger pieces, I end up spending a lot of time with someone new and getting to know them. This can be a unique experience and I end up remembering the piece as interconnected with the personality. I would say the style that comes most naturally to me is a watercolor style with no outlines, or an intricate style with so many lines it makes your eyes cross!
TT: Are there any tattoo mentors that you are hoping to work with or meet in the future? Any artists that you personally find inspiring?
Briana: Definitely! I love and admire many artists in the tattoo community around me. One of them being Lalo Yunda. I had the opportunity to work with him in New York. I learned a lot from him, and he continues to push me to be a better artist. One thing that I really admire is that as hard as he works, he plays! It’s a wonderful balance that I focus on achieving. Travel inspires!
TT: Have you found the tattoo world a welcoming place so far? It can be a man’s world and an old boy’s club in many ways – how are the other shops treating you so far?
Briana: Yes, I think that some shops might be set up in a more hard-edged, intimidating fashion but I have either felt welcome or have made myself welcome. I’ve always felt like a big part of carving out a space for oneself or “making it,” so to speak, in is fearlessly forging your own way and establishing the space you want around you. Buju Tattoo is an environment that was very consciously and intentionally created to have positive and welcoming atmosphere.
TT: I love the notion of an all woman shop. Is your clientele mostly women or is it mixed? Do you think you will add a male artist at some point?
Briana: The clientele is pretty evenly men and women. As for adding a male artist at some point, we are taking it one day at a time and are more than happy with our current line-up of ladies.
TT: Here is a non-tattooed related one for you. I see you are a Massachusetts girl – so am I! I lived in San Diego for 7 years (my husband is born and raised in Encinitas). As an east coaster does the sunshine occasionally get to you? I missed the seasons (except in January – then I was loving that sunshine). Do you feel like an east-coaster living in Cali or are you a real So Cal girl now?
Briana: Despite being an east coaster by blood, I never get sick of soaking up the sun. But I have to agree with missing the seasons. Nothing is better than the crisp, smoky air and orange colors of autumn in New England. One of my sleeves is of squirrels rolling around in leaves, and this nostalgia is something I keep close to my heart.
TT: Final question; the next time I am in San Diego can I come in for a tattoo from you?
Briana: Yes! Well then I guess it’s time for me to plan my next trip down to San Diego and mix a little business with pleasure! (Business; visiting relatives Pleasure; getting inked by Briana – woo hoo!) Thank you again to uber talented Briana Sargent of Buju Tattoo in San Diego – check out her cute dog amongst other things here