Who Did Your Ink? is the Straight’s weekly feature, where we ask badass Vancouverites about the talented artists, indelible stories, and, at times, questionable antics behind their most treasured tattoos.
What’s your name? Laura Treloar.
What do you do? I'm a jewellery designer, metalsmith, and retired high school art teacher.
Who did your ink? Most of my work was done many, many years ago by my eldest brother, Mike Austin of Mike's Custom Tattoos, in London, Ontario. I have a piece by my youngest brother, John (also at Mike's Custom), as well as one by Kerry Irvine of Fat City Tattoos (701 12th Avenue, New Westminster)—an amazing artist and hilarious friend who passed away a number of years ago.
Why did you choose these artists to do your tattoos? I got my first tattoo when I was 17—it was done at the tattoo studio where my big brother was apprenticing. I chose my artist based on our familial relationship, and my deep, deep family discount... I have never paid for a tattoo. I am from a family of six children, and am the most sparsely tattooed kid of the litter.
Is there any meaning behind them? Many of them were just things that mattered to me when I was a kid. The bulk of my work was done when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. I have a more recent half-sleeve, which is based on the work of William Morris.
I also have a piece from over 25 years ago, which is based on a woodcut from my favourite book of old English fairy tales. I have two tattoos that are memento mori for my grandmother—one of them has ashes from her cremation mixed in with the ink. So, some of them are meaningful, and some of them are just silly punk-rock kid leftovers.
Who’s your favourite local tattoo artist? I would say John "The Dutchman" Van ‘T Hullenaar—he is a dear old friend of my big brother's, and is also the only local tattoo artist I have actually ever met. He has a big, amazing studio and art gallery out in Burnaby, and is an amazing talent.
What’s next on your ink list? Next is a massive coverup of most of my tattoos! I am not very fond of most of them, and they take up a lot of skin... I sort of remind myself of a grotty old suitcase that has traveled around, gaining stickers from different places along the way.
I have a plan for a back/chest/pelvic piece—all in grayscale/sumi—and based on the works of William Morris. I just have to find the time to get it started! I also just found the original stencil for my husband's octopus tattoo; he passed away before he had the chance to have it finished, so I am thinking of working this piece into my future—another memento.