Meet The Young Artist That'll Design Your Next Feminist Tattoo

 
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Tea Leigh is a young Brooklyn-based artist and tattooist. She’s also the wonderful mind behind Welcome Home, a gorgeous all-women tattooing space.

Leigh's work is imaginative, delicate and thoughtful, just like her. How did she go from college dropout to self-made creative with a bustling business and cult following? We don’t know! That’s why we asked her to be our "Boss of the Week."

What was your very first job?

My first job was as a film developer. I would develop film, retouch the negative, and print them out for the customer. I got to see a lot of really interesting photos back then. This was before digital was a big thing. 35mm forever! 

What do you “call yourself” now?

I'm not sure what I call myself. I guess a tattooer? I don't like to get pigeoned holed with that though, because I feel like I do many things. Maybe I call myself a multidisciplinary artist? As you can tell, I have zero idea haha.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

I never get tired of this question. It was from my tarot teacher Lindsay Mack and she said "you can be afraid, you just have to be willing." That launched me into the opening of my own studio Welcome Home and pushed me to keep going, even though I was scared shitless of where I'd end up.

What does “success” mean to you? 

Success is self-defined, not defied by people around you doing bigger and better things. To me, it means to look at what you've accomplished and feel good, and a bit of resolve. Success means to better yourself and the folks around you through your work. Success means feeling power in your magic.

How do you manage stress?

That is a very good question. For the most part it doesn't feel like I do a good job. But I think if you ask most small business owners that, they will say the same thing. Mostly, I try to pause. I try to limit my screen time and listen to music in my headphones as I'm walking around.

I also really love to clean when things are too stressful. My apartment is still never clean somehow though. 

What do you wish someone told you when you were 21?

That I could do anything I wanted! That dropping out of college wasn't a huge mistake and to take it in my stride. You literally can do anything you want to do. There are different levels of how hard you have to work to get there, but if you want it, go take it! 

What inspires you and gets you out of bed in the morning?

Other small business owners and female tattooers inspire me. It is so hard to do this on your own and for the most part, you feel like totally giving up. But when I think about all the female identifying people who have done this, especially those in my network, it gets me going for the day.

I am endlessly grateful for all the people before me who have blazed a trail, so that I can have the privilege to do what I love.

Question: Do you have a gorgeous, feminist tattoo? We want YOU to take part in a Girlboss photoshoot in LA. Fill out this form if you're down, and pass it on!

Words: Jerico Mandybur
Photo: Instagram/@briannewills