Artist Tiaret Mitchell (@tiarettee) works out of their private studio in Baltimore, Maryland. Describing themself as an artist who works across many mediums, we discussed all things art, inspiration and 'futuristic botany'...
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative career, or was your path less clear when you were younger?
I always had an idea, even as a child that my career in the future would be creative and also not traditional, I just wasn't sure which art form it would be. As a child (and even now) I was very musical. I played piano and harp and sang all the time. It was my dream to be a musician, but as I got older I fell in love with visual art more and more. By the time I was 16 I knew I wanted to take my visual arts more seriously in the career aspect and keep music to myself! So it got clearer as I got older.
You describe yourself as an artist who works across many mediums. What initially drew you towards tattooing as a creative practice?
I started getting tattooed pretty young, I used to do sticks and pokes on myself at 12 and 13, and started going to actual artists at 15/16. The form of expressing work on your body and the symbolism behind that really intrigued me. Something about the permanence and the tribalistic nature of tattooing was very grounding for me. I felt seen in the art form. Tattooing also always keeps you inspired, at least for me, and that was and still is a key indicator that I genuinely enjoy it. I get bored very fast, but tattooing constantly inspires me to think of new ways to create. I love working with bodies as a canvas, as they also force me to take the art I'm creating and sharing more seriously. I love the pressure, the seriousness, the ritualistic nature and the permanence of tattooing. It's very fitting for me.
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You have described your work as ‘futuristic botany’. Could you explain this idea to us a bit?
Yes! As of right now I am in a huge botanical phase. Futuristic botany is an abstract modern take of anything botanical. Instead of traditionally drawn plants, I artistically interpret them into a more modern/futuristic approach, using bold colors, incorporating abstract elements like water inside flowers and things like that. I am still working and developing this style so I feel I've only scratched the surface of Futuristic Botany! But that's the name i've given the style as of now.
Your concept of ‘full body botanical’ tattoos is really unique to your work. Where did this idea develop from?
It started when i got my first inquiry on a full sleeve of abstract vines. It was the summer of 2020. I had never thought of doing entire bodies until then. After that piece I realized this is an amazing way to connect people and nature together through my art. I am also very inspired by Jess Chen's work, I had a good friend of mine at that time after I did my first couple of sleeves to show me her works and my mind exploded. I was like "It is now my mission to create full body botanical tattoos!" The concept of growth was something i've always drawn in my art, often using plants as the symbol for that, so it only made sense to go bigger and bigger! I love tattooing symbols of growth on people. Full body botanicals are my favorite works to do, also because they are so extreme and often jar reactions out of people, which is exactly what art is supposed to do. Make people feel, make people react and think.
You are well known for your bold colour work on all skin tones, especially dark skin. Do you feel there are still misconceptions within the industry about colour tattoos on dark skin?
I do feel like there are still huge misconceptions about coloured tattoos on dark skin, unfortunately. Its rooted in ignorance, racism and not willing to learn. But as long as I exist I will continue to prove the misconceptions wrong. Color is for everyone, it's all about application! Learning color theory will help a lot when learning to tattoo black and brown people.
As someone who primarily works in colour, what are your favourite colours to work with in your art and tattooing?
Oh my gosh, My all time favorite colors are Orange/Red, Green and Navy Blue but recently I've been really into Turquoise violet and Orange together and also playing around with oppositional colors on the color wheel.
When you’re not creating art, what do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I'm usually always doing something. I like to keep my mind active, otherwise I go crazy. I'm usually with my family or friends, traveling, singing or dancing (I sing and make music quite a bit), doing yoga, spending time in nature and/or taking care of my plants or playing my switch LOL.
Follow Tia on Instagram to keep up with their work @tiarettee.