Charissa Vaunderbroad - Gallery & Bio
Henna! Henna! Henna!
Who is Charissa?
A native of Spokane Washington, I did
my first tattoo on my dad in 1980. I've been
tattooing professionally since January of 1994. I tattooed at River City Tattoo
from 1980-1996. That same year I founded Constant Creations
with my mother, Constance. I have been to conventions in Houston, Texas,
Seattle, Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, and Orlando,
Florida. I traveled Europe - Italy and Germany
in 1995. In 1999 I birthed my little boy Phoenix.
Alex Grey, Robert Williams, Mark Ryden, Frida Kahlo, Alphonso Mucha, Todd Lockwood, Patrick Woodruffe,
Grimey, Adrian Lee, Sunny Buick, Roman, Guy Aitchison, Burn
Hogarth, Clae Welch, Jason Oestricher, H.R. Geiger,
Cam de Lion, Lisa Petrucci, Camille
Rose Garcia, Glen Barr, Brian Froud, Robert Crumb,
Munch, Vermeer, Goya , I could go for days…I’m a juxtapozer…
Favorite tattoo artists?
Paul booth, Little Vinnie Myers, Jack Rudy, Judy Parker, Guy Aitchinson, Grime, Aaron Cain, Clae Welch, Jason Oestriecher, Deborah Valentine, Don Ed Hardy, Leo Zuelletta, The Leu family, Constance Eller, Leslie of New York, Sonju Rattler, Telisa Swan, and indigenous tattooists of the world that came before us.
What do you think about when designing a tattoo?
What my client wants; has it been done before; what style am I working toward; my value range and color scheme. I also consider composition on the body; whether the lines are graceful, the depth of the composition, what kinds of textures can reinforce the subject matter, line weighting, and how abstract or representational it must be. But most of all... time reastraints.
What do you draw with?
Rolls of tracing paper, a map of the body part, written and pictorial resources. I also have red Sanford drafting pencils, Mars erasers, Sakura (graphics and micron pens), and Prisma color pencils to do my tattoo drawings. I enjoy working with watercolor pastels, charcoal, oil paint, and collage when I’m not tattooing.
What do you tattoo with?
I use new, pre-made needles and Starbright colors. For my black I use Kuro Sumi, Talons, and Starbright. I have to use Nitrile gloves, and I use Mickey Sharpz and Danny Fowler machines. I make my stencils by hand with indelible ink paper. And I love Sanitex HB wipes for my surfaces.
What subject matter do you like working with?
Ilike to work with anything and make it artistic as possible. Clients have great ideas and itís my job to channel their vision through me and have it properly represent them and be beautiful enough that they will love it he rest of their lives. My taste tends to gravitate toward things that rock, beautiful and irreverent. I enjoy juxtaposing ideas and styles you wouldnít see together and like to do reproductions of peoples' art on them. I also like portrait work, nature stuff, fantasy art, and art Nuevo. I enjoy the act of tattooing, and do my best with whatever Iím given to work with.
How does being a female affect your tattooing career?
I think I may be more talkative than some male artists. I have to schedule less tattooing to get my drawings done now that I’m a mom I usually will work on one big tattoo a day. I have had advantages and disadvantages in being female - but it doesn’t bug me. Being a female tattooist breaks the stereotype - like being female or left handed, or educated, etc. I don’t buy into that sell out-cool guy-famous-competitive-my way or the high way crap. Maybe there won’t be such taboo around tattooing in the future.
What was the first piece you did?
I was 4 and it was coloring a parrot on my dad’s arm. I was too young - it turned out crappy.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I like the rock and roll that was played in New York in the 70’s; I like the kind of hip hop that was played in New York in the 90’s. But I also like a lot of different brands of electronic music, oh and heavy metal of the 80’s. I like all kinds of music as long as it ROCKS.
Is there anything you won’t tattoo?
Yeah, your face or genitals or anyone who is intoxicated or underage. I also won’t do an exact reproduction of a tattoo you found. I believe in being original. Bring in your pictures; tell me what you like about it I’ll draw you one of your own, ok? I don’t like racists and I’ve never done a racist tattoo but I do believe people should be marked with their beliefs. I favor blue material to crosses, but I tattoo what is asked of me. There’s always laser surgery.
Is tattooing addictive?
I think tattooing yourself is a valid form of self expression and it’s about as addictive as chocolate, love, or pain. I heard recently that the brain chemicals released during the tattoo open up the wiring in the brain that facilitate altered states of consciousness and is conducive to learning - even in old people. I think it is our instinct toward the aesthetic that drive people to get more tattoos. I don’t know anyone who would sell their body for tattoos therefore I don’t think it’s addictive... not a popular theory.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to expand our shop and gallery to bring more artists out of the woodwork. And I’d like to get some retail, low-brow clothing and soap and make-up to expand the services of tattooing and piercing and art to include peoples over-all style and well being. Eventually I would like to teach my son what I know about tattooing if he is interested. Other than that I want to keep tattooing. I would also like to create more paintings. if I ever get carpel-tunnel or any of that Iíll be selling stylish gear and maintaining an antique photo booth. I havenít made a plan yet. Whatever I do it will be in Spokane. So many people just give up on this city to sit in traffic jams in more liberal and diverse cities. I say, stay here and be subversive. If we don’t - who will.