“My parents said that I was going to go to hell and bringing all of them with me”.

 

If you’re looking for realism, black and grey portraits then you’d better book an appointment with Anam . Born to be an Artist, it wasn’t easy to follow her passion growing up with a traditional Pakistani family. Nevertheless, tradition couldn’t keep her from her dreams, as she perfected her craft and opened up her shop along with her sister rightfully name Bloodline . I sat down with this bright smile, big personality Artist to discuss tattoos, family, and her infatuation for “Old White Man Music”.

514: How long have you been in Montreal?

AQ: Since I was three years old.

514: In what area did you grow up?

AQ: On the outskirts in Pincourt.

514: What got you interested in becoming an Artist in the Tattoo business?

AQ: I just thought it was cool to be cool (laughs), but obviously I was drawing since I was young, and my sister works with me here as well and my mom was doing oil paintings.

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514: Was there an apprenticeship that you had to go through?

AQ: Yes, for approximately 2 years.

514: How long have you been tattooing professionally?

AQ: A little over 10 years. I worked for a shop for two years, and then another shop, and then I opened up a private studio downtown, and now we’re here.

514: Have you ever seen the woman that had Drake tattoo on her forehead, would you have done something like that?

AQ: I don’t think I would have done that, I would have passed that one to Devin (laughs), {Devin is another Artist working at the shop}. The thing with tattoos is that if your fuc*ing sane and you’re not handicapped or being coerce by other people and you’re willing to make that decision like a sane adult and you’re not fuc*ing sh*t face, high on heroin or something like that, then you really know what you want. Some people fuc*ing dress really ugly but they fuc*ing love what they’re wearing, so it just comes down to personal choice.

514: Did you make good money right out of the gate?

AQ: No way (laughs) everyday I’m hustling. A lot of fuc*king grilled cheese sandwiches, Kraft Dinner, bowls of cereal for supper, although I still do that because cereal is just so delicious.

514: Is there any special schools that you can go into to learn how to tattoo?

AQ: No.  A lot of people either start on their own or they have private apprenticeship. When I started there was not a lot of stuff on the Internet and people weren’t into sharing so much knowledge. Now you can fuc*ing find so much sh*t if you have the patience to watch documentaries and read books. There’s just so much information you can get now.

514: Is there an age limit in Quebec  that you have to respect before getting a tattoo?

AQ: Well in Quebec there is no regulations for that, It’s kind of fuc*ed up. Here at the shop we don’t want to tattoo anybody under 18 because they’re just a pain to deal with.

_b9a0048-3514: When someone wants to work in your Bloodline tattoo shop what’s the process before getting hired?

AQ: My questions usually involve , “Are you fuc*ing annoying as a person because I have to spend a lot of time with you?”. Usually I like to deal with people I already know.

514: Can anyone who knows how to draw become a tattoo artist?

AQ: I don’t think so, I know people who can draw, and who tried tattooing and gave up. It’s not paper, its humans and humans can be annoying on top of it.

514: Did you ever practice on things like Cantaloupes?

AQ: No, I never did that sh*t.  I don’t think it’s really useful at all because there is such a big difference. What a waste of time.

514: Has tattoo evolved since you started professionally?

AQ: Yeah tattoo evolves every day and there is always something to learn.

514: Are more women getting more tattoos these days than men?

AQ: I say it depends on the type of tattoo, but definitely more compared to back in the days.

514: What sacrifices have you made to get to this point in your career?

AQ: Well my parents said that I was going to go to hell and bring all of them with me (laughs). They weren’t fuc*ing super excited. Like they didn’t fuc*ing bring me here to tattoo a bunch of bikers. At the beginning, I told them that this is what I wanted to do and they fuc*ing didn’t want to have nothing to do with it. So I started to do it anyway, and I lied to them telling them I was working at a fuc*ing library, while I was really out learning how to do tattoos. But eventually they busted me, because their parents and they found out and they were fuc*ing super pissed.

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514: How do your parents feel about you tattooing now?

AQ: Now they are super cool with it. They are like (in a Pakistani type voice)“ Oh! my God. Look at my daughter, she made a face on this guy” (Laughs). And they see I am super serious, and I am trying to make something out of it, and they see me travelling and doing what I want to do.

514: Have you ever messed up on a tattoo?

AQ: Absolutely, but most people don’t really notice. But as a tattoo artist you have to be your worst critic. Like fu*k I should have done that differently. There is always a way to fix, you just have to make it look as presentable as possible.

514: Where is the craziest place you have ever put a tattoo?

AQ: I’ve never put a tattoo anywhere crazy.

514: Do some people put tattoos on their private parts?

AQ: Yeah, some people do that.  I’m not into that.  It’s weird. I’m not trying to fondle anybody and sh*t. I do mostly portraits and realism and I don’t think I want to put someone’s mom on their di*k (Laughs).

514: If you get a tattoo and you’re overweight, does the tattoo adapt with your skin?

AQ: It definitely is a factor. You do not want to do it someplace where you have a fold or something. If you’re going to get pregnant later on your body is going to stretch and we can’t guarantee what it will look like after.

514: Are tattoo removal techniques getting better?

AQ: I think they are getting better. If you want to remove something entirely it takes a long time,  and I think you have to wait 8 weeks in between sessions.

_b9a0041-2514: Would you recommend taking it off or putting something else on top of it?

AQ: Well, I recommended both. I have even had a removal done on myself. You just don’t want a cover up to look like a cover up. If you’re going to hide a tattoo with another tattoo it has to look natural and sometimes it’s not possible, unless the person has at least one or two session of laser removal to pale it out. And I’ve had it done. I had a chest piece that I got when I was fuc*ing 16 and as an adult it just didn’t fit as well anymore. So I had my laser done, and it just got pale enough for me to do my cover up on it.

514: How many tattoos do you have?

AQ: Oh! man I just stop counting. Eventually it will just become one big one.

514: You’ve ever thought of putting a tattoo on your face?

AQ: No. My face no. My hands yeah, but it’s just prime real estate.

514: How do you determine the price of a tattoo? Is it set by time, size, or detail?

AQ: For me personally it’s just all about the piece.

514: Does a tattoo machine cost a lot of money?

AQ: It depends on what type of equipment you’re using. Mine ranges from $700-$800, but that’s just the machine. You also need disposables like inks and needles. It’s all monthly expenses.

514: What is your style of tattoo called?

AQ: I would say Black and Grey Realism.

514: When did you know you were ready to do realistic portraits?

AQ: I think the type of art that you enjoy more kinds of play a factor in it. In the beginning, I would never have attempted to do it because it was just too hard. I had one customer that really wanted to do a portrait of his dad, and he was like I know you can do it because you can draw it, so he was like, “just do it and we will see how it comes out”. And it came out good. From there I wanted to do more and I just started narrowing it down.

514: Do you think tattoo artists are starting to get more respect in the art industry? Or is it still a social stigma?

AQ: Yes. More respect now than ever. Because back then it wasn’t just artists doing it, it was bikers and sh*t tattooing their buddies and things like that, so they weren’t necessarily artists.

514: How did you establish such a large following on social media?

AQ: I have no freaking idea (Laughs). I just try to do the best tattoos that I can do and narrow it down to what I want to do. I’m just really fuc*ing honest with people, telling them if it’s a good idea or not, and it shows through your work and it’s all word of mouth. And obviously social media is insane. If I make it more presentable its sort of an advertisement.

514: What’s the most common body part that hurts the most?

AQ: I would say the rib , the torso, the arm pits, knees.

514: Whats the best thing about being your own boss?

AQ: I get to do what I want. I have freedom of scheduling, travelling, and I don’t have to run anything by anybody.

514: Whats the most challenging aspect of running a business?

AQ: Running an actual business, you want to do what you want to do, but you have to make sure your team is happy, and you have to consider a bunch of other people who are always with you.

514: Why did you name your Tattoo Shop Bloodline ?

AQ: Because the shop is run by me and my sister.

514: Would you open up another shop?

AQ: I just think one fuc*ing awesome shop is good for me. I am not really into having a fuc*ing franchise of places because the more you have, everything becomes mass production and things start becoming out of your reach and you have to care less about a lot of stuff, and I want to care a lot about my business so I think one is plenty for me.

514: Who do you listen to musically?

AQ: Well according to Devin I listen to old white man music (laughs). I listen to Neil Diamond, and Lynryd Skynyrd. I guess I am a little red neck at heart, but I listen to a little bit of everything. But I prefer old white man music (laughs).

514: Whats the first App you open up in the morning?

AQ: I guess Instagram .

514: Are you a Netflix and chill type of person?  Or do you like to go out and party?

AQ: I like a good balance of both.

514: One article we’re writing this month is: On terms of infidelity, do women cheat better than men?

AQ: I don’t know because I am definitely not that type of person. But I don’t know because I never surround myself with that type of person. I think a` woman can be a little more conniving in an intelligent way, a little more sneaky and men are just a little too obvious.

Facebook:  Anam Qureshi

Instagram: @tattoos_by_anam

Photo Credit:@gcastrophotographe

Written By: Vlad Pierre

Edited By: Yvonne Sam

 

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