Who Did Your Ink?: Véronique Noelle mellows out to Japanese jellies

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      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?  Véronique Noelle.

      What do you do?  I’m an indie-rock singer-songwriter.

      Who did your ink?  Justina Kervel, co-owner of Liquid Amber Tattoo (62 Powell Street).

      Why did you choose this artist to do your tattoo?  A friend of mine has a half-sleeve of colourful, tropical flowers—I think it's gorgeous! My friend told me that Justina had done it and that she specialized in that style with no outlines. I think it's the same as what people call “watercolour”.

      This recent tattoo is only my second. I get ink only when I'm really feeling it and that usually takes a long time. When I decided on three Japanese sea nettles—jellyfish—I knew I had to have Justina do it. Then they could be all flowing colour.

      The design started as some photographs of Japanese sea nettles and my crude drawing (the only kind I can do) of an arrangement of three jellies. Justina turned that into a gorgeous artwork, which then became the basis for the tattoo.

      Is there any meaning behind it?  One of the first things you see when you walk into the Vancouver Aquarium is a tank of Japanese sea nettles. They’re fairly large and orangey, with long, flowing tentacles.

      I realized that when I watched them for a while, I got very calm. They're so beautiful—and there was something about the silent, slow-motion flow that put me in a relaxed state. So, they became special to me.

      I got the tattoo as a somewhat delayed 60th birthday thing. I haven't really gone mellow, at least not yet, but I've hit a point at which I feel less hurried than I used to. So I appreciate all the more the unhurried flow of Japanese sea nettles.

      The unfortunate thing about liking jellies is that they are actually horrible creatures! Not only can they give you a painful sting, they also have a way of taking over ecosystems. But I do love how they look.

      Who’s your favourite local tattoo artist?  Other than Justina, I don't know! I've seen really nice work from other artists at Liquid Amber. My spouse has a superb water dragon that was done by an artist named Jen, who was at Liquid Amber then but has since moved on.

      The artist who did my first tattoo is no longer in the business.

      What’s next on your ink list?  This is a large piece—it required 16 hours over five sessions. I might be done, but never say never.