Karla Jane is a talented tattoo artist based at The Genuine Hustle Tattoo Shop in Takapuna, Auckland where she works with her partner, Corey; she also runs Kraftbomb in Grey Lynn where she sells plushies and animal topped savings jars. She is also my super rad friend and the only person I trust enough to tattoo me.
When did you begin working as a tattoo artist and why?
I started tattooing in 2003. I had been a body piercer for roughly 6 years before that, so I was already part of “the industry” however I have been an artist since I can remember, it’s all I’ve ever known or cared about really. It was a very natural progression for me to start tattooing. I knew as soon as I started piercing that I wanted to tattoo but it was not something I took lightly at all.
What inspires you with your work?
Hmmmmm… good question….. my style and influence are constantly changing. I get inspiration from other tattoo artists but also nature, the universe. I do a lot of sacred geometry and dot-work which I find really organic and primal. It’s like something that is ingrained into our genetic coding or something, it just feels right, so I do it.
Outside of the tattoo studio, you also run Kraftbomb along with making/selling your own items, how do you keep the creativity flowing and manage your time?
Haha wellllllll…. I don’t manage my time well at all; which is something I’m focussing on this year!!! I’m cutting down my crafting time to focus more on tattooing as that is my main (source of) income. I feel like if I’m not creating something, then I’m stagnating, so the creative flow or process has never really been an issue but time definitely is!
What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment in your art?
My biggest accomplishment is tattooing. I’m at a point in my career when people come to me to get my work on them!! Holy shit do you know how flattering and cool that is?!!
Describe a typical day/week for you:
Get up.. Tattoo all day.. Fit drawings in where possible.. Go home… Gym… Dinner… Drawing if I have time… Sleep… Get up early because I probably didn’t get all my drawing done the night before… and repeat, 6 days a week.
Where do you see your creativity going in the future? With Kraftbomb and the tattooing?
All I can hope for tattooing is to just keep learning and improving. As far as Kraftbomb goes I don’t know… I hope crafting stays interesting for people and I hope the public continue to find the value in buying handmade. I hope to take more of a back seat at Kraftbomb. Maybe I’ll start incorporating more of my tattooing into my crafting
If you could give fellow creative entrepreneurs a pearl of wisdom, what would that be?
The hardest thing I’ve had to conquer with tattooing is believing in myself. No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.. BELIEVE IN YOU!!! And just do it, go for it!!! Life is so short man….
What are some of your favourite materials to work with and why?
As far as crafting I love working with felt and polar fleece, there’s something really snuggly and homely about it.
What kind of music do you enjoy working to?
Hmmmm… when I’m tattooing I like chill stuff, nothing too distracting. The Doors, always the Doors, but everything from Motown to Michael Jackson to Morcheeba to Ani Difranco to Alice in Chains to Snoop Dogg, Fiona Apple, Nirvana, Janis Joplin, Eddie Vedder… I could go on and on…
You can find Karla at The Genuine Hustle Tattoo Shop, 100 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna. Like ‘em on facebook here.