Yes it Hurts, and You Will Bleed: A Tattoo Artist Panel

Professor Scott Méxcal sits down with three of Seattle’s preeminent tattoo artists to chat about life behind the needle. In this discussion, they will explore the history of tattooing, tattoo cultural traditions, and the personal journeys of tattoo artists Sonrisa Barron, Suzanna Fisher, and Dustin Burt.

About the artists:

Sonrisa Barron is the owner and lead artist at Serpent Tattoo LLC, established in 2023 in Olympia, WA. With a Bachelor's degree from Evergreen State College and extensive training via a long-term apprenticeship, Barron specializes in neo-traditional and illustrative tattoo styles. Barron believes that tattooing is not just about creating a beautiful piece of art, but also about creating an energetic exchange that promotes healing and clarity.

Suzanna Fisher was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and has always felt lucky to live amongst the beauty and diversity that can be found here. Shortly after graduating with a degree in Visual Art from the University of Washington, Suzanna began a tattoo apprenticeship and the fates were forever sealed. Tattooing allows Suzanna to collaborate with clients to realize their vision of personal adornment through a shared appreciation of nature and with respect for this ancient art. Suzanna has been tattooing professionally since 2007 and has owned and operated Bellwether Tattoo in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle since 2014.

Dustin Burt specializes in realistic tattoos through the Black and Grey tattoo technique and has developed a style of his own. With a degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and over ten years of tattooing experience, Dustin Burt strives to continually develop as an artist while providing the highest caliber of artwork to his clients. In 2021 Dustin was featured in MoPop’s tattoo exhibition "Body of Work: Tattoo Culture."

About the Moderator:

Scott Méxcal is a public artist, scholar, and art activist. Born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico, Scott grew up amongst the Nopal and Yucca learning the fundamentals of Chicano Street Art. In 2000, Scott moved to the PNW to earn his BFA from Northwest College of Art and later studied classical painting at Gage Academy of Art in the Aristides Atelier. In 2022, Scott was awarded an MFA through Prescott College in Social and Environmental Practice Art. Scott has lectured at the Seattle Artists of Color Expo and Symposium (ACES), created public art projects, commissions, and exhibitions throughout Seattle, and supports the fight to close the NW Detention Center with Tsuru for Solidarity and La Resistencia.

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Gage Academy of Art acknowledges the Coast Salish Peoples as the original inhabitants of this area and connecting waterways. We understand the land that Gage occupies is unceded territory and that today many Indigenous peoples live here and without their stewardship, we would not have access to this space. We honor the Coast Salish Peoples’ sovereignty, rights to self-determination, culture and ways of life. Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have called this territory their sacred land. We commit to learning, educating others and repairing the legacy of historically harmful relationships between non-Native and Native peoples in King County. In doing so, we will be honest, and recognize the experiences of Native peoples to include genocide, forced relocation, forced assimilation, and land theft. We also acknowledge Native peoples are survivors, present in today’s world, thriving. We encourage everyone here today to ask themselves: what can I do to support Indigenous communities?

In an effort to be transparent, Gage is contemplating this call to action and re-working how to best support Indigenous communities.

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