- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - Leyna Grace Adamson had a good job as a saleswoman for a medical parts supply company in Greeley. It was a consistent, decent paycheck, with good hours, and she loved her boss.

It just wasn’t what she wanted to do.

Adamson loved painting. She had painted “since she could,” she said, which meant before kindergarten.

Art, though, didn’t bring a consistent paycheck, so she worked as a saleswoman for almost two years, doing what many people do: work a job to make a living, not to fulfill their dreams.

She was young when she graduated from Greeley Central in 2009 and is now 22. But as a saleswoman, she was already headed down the path of a worker “living the dream,” as many say with sarcasm, not sincerity.

Daylight came two years ago, when Jon Kindball, owner of Jon’s Custom Creations Tattoo, asked her to be his apprentice.

He needed an apprentice because the last one quit. But he also knew she was an artist.

She needed a little convincing at first. It’s scary to leave a well-paying job for something much less, even if Brandon was an electrician. But she didn’t need much convincing. Kindball was offering her a chance to be an artist. He was offering her a chance to do something she loved and make a living at it.

Tattooing has evolved from sailors, bikers and hair metal musicians to many “regular” people getting one as an accessory, a memorial to a life-changing event or, yes, something to do on a dare.

But that also means the standards are higher. Kindball was exciting. Her first week, Adamson traced over a picture of a rose. That’s all she did.

“I must have done that rose thousands of times,” she said.

Kindball understood the need for freedom, but some, if not most, tattoo customers are looking for a specific design. A tattoo artist needs to draw those designs down to the petal. So, in the back, and without pay, she traced. She learned letters. She reproduced other designs. It was tedious, but it was educational. She didn’t mind the work. In fact, she began to love it more than she thought she would.

“It was far more exacting than even art school for sure,” she said, “and Jon wouldn’t hold my hand through it.”

The next step was to practice tattooing, and that meant tattooing herself. Tattoos are permanent and painful, after all, and so there aren’t many out there willing to act as an experimental canvass.

She started with stars on her ankles. Now she’s moved up. She sets most of her own schedule.

Kindball still gets a percentage of her earnings, but that’s how it goes. She will be a full-time worker next year.

“People trust you,” Adamson said. “It’s a privilege. Rather than paint something at my house that no one sees, you’re doing something that they will have on their skin for life.”

She also sets her own designs. She hasn’t found a style yet, but people trust her enough to come up with something after they talk about what a customer wants.

___

Information from: The Tribune of Greeley, Co, https://greeleytribune.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide