Meet Ariel Wyu, fashion-enthusiast and one of FRIENDS NYC Spooky Tattoo Natty partners. We sat down with Ariel to learn more about the female tattoo artist working and creating in New York City.
“I currently work at Blindreason Tattoo and Mischief Tattoo in lower Manhattan, but I do travel around for guest work. I specialize in line and color tattoos, most of them are cute and small so a majority of my customers are females. I do both flashes and custom designs. I’m inspired by movies, paintings, artwork or common things around me. If I see something interesting on the street, I take a picture of it and make it into a design.” - Ariel Wyu
CQ: What about tattooing inspires you?
AW: The fact that someone will have my art on their body sounds very attractive, haha. Also, I can choose my own subject matter so it’s more a free-form of art.
CQ: Give us a little background about you. Who is Ariel?
AW: I have a Korean Chinese background. I was born and raised in China, but had more cultural influence from Korea. I moved to St. Louis, Missouri six years ago for my college, and after graduating, I relocated to New York City. My major was marketing which I didn't really enjoy. I wanted to work in art or the fashion industry.
CQ: Was there a turning point in your life when you realized you were going to be a tattoo artist?
AW: I liked painting, sewing and all those types of activities, so one day I just realized I might be good at tattooing. It’s connected to things I’ve always wanted to do, so that's how I started.
CQ: What's the craziest reaction you've received from someone in regards to your line of work?
AW: One of my co-workers customers (not mine) said 'WOW' for 10 minutes straight when they saw me tattooing. I felt very shy, but also happy and appreciated.
CQ: In 20 seconds or less, walk us through your tattoo experience, from prep to finish.
AW: Discuss designs, adjust size, set up my station while customer fills out form and finish payment, put stencil on to see if customer likes it, go through all the product and process that will happen in the next hour, TATTOO IT!, check the final outcome and see if customer is happy about it, put bandage on them, explain aftercare process, and lastly, make sure they leave with a happy face!
CQ: What’s the weirdest thing you've had to tattoo on someone?
AW: Recently I tattooed four Chinese characters that say, "tattoo a dick" on someone. (It doesn't sound as aggressive in Chinese as it does in English.) People will think it’s weird but it’s a form of performance art for him, so I support that idea. Life is short so we should do everything we want to do even if it’s weird.
CQ: If you weren't a tattoo artist, what you would be doing, and where?
AW: I think I might become a stylist or something related to the fashion industry. But even if I wasn't a tattoo artist I'd still be living in New York because everything can happen here. There are so many opportunities.
CQ: But if you had to leave, where would you go?
AW: I love the fashion, foods and craziness of New York, but recently I’ve really wanted to live in Seoul or Tokyo since that’s where a lot of my favorite stylist and designers reside. I plan on visiting Seoul, Japan or Puerto Rico next.
CQ: Can you give us a hint of what kind of doodles can we expect to see on the 28th from you?
AW: I didn't want to do those typical halloween themed tattoos, so I twisted it a bit in my style, haha. They are all cute, doodle-style simple little designs.
**We heard that if you can name Ariel’s favorite movie, she might just tattoo it on you. (Hint: It’s not the Little Mermaid.)**
You can catch Ariel at Spooky Tattoo Natty October 28 creating more fine-line pieces. Be sure to follow Ariel on Instagram @arielisgood to see more of her work.