Today we’d like to introduce you to Joy Rumore.
Joy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In my teens, my plan was to get a PhD in Forensic Anthropology, but after undergrad, I unexpectedly switched gears. I began tattooing in Rhode Island in 2001. I have been a full-time artist in several shops in the North Eastern United States (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York). I’ve also done guest spots and conventions in the United States and Europe. 2007-2015, I owned & operated Twelve 28 Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. 2015-2017, I co-owned & operated Trinity Tattoo Collective in Ridgewood, NY. I have been lucky to work with many fantastic artists from around the world and have had countless adventures thanks to tattooing.
I moved to Los Angeles in 2018 and have been tattooing very part-time, as I’ve been focusing more on other kinds of art while also being a SAHM. For example, I am half of The Residuals, which is a paranormal podcast I make with my friend, Emily. I’m also very close to finishing my first children’s book!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Coming up in a male-dominated industry 20 years ago was not an easy thing. Tattooing in general wasn’t the mainstream trend it is today. Money and respect were hard times come by, but I’m still here…quietly kicking away. I’ve always kind of been the person that will make something happen, even if it doesn’t exist yet.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a tattoo artist, I care very much about the personal experience of the client. I came up doing flash off the walls, but when I opened my place, I vowed I’d never have a flash rack. I wanted to do custom tattoos for every client. I was absolutely laughed at for this idea…to my face…and told I’d be out of business in six months. Instead, I was open for over a decade in NYC and only closed to move to LA. I’ve done hilarious tattoos and incredibly meaningful ones. I started doing areola and other post-mastectomy tattoos for breast cancer survivors and previvors back in 2007. Because of my work in this area, I was part of an exhibition at The New York Historical Society Museum in 2017. I had a piece in the exhibition and also did a live tattoo demonstration as part of the exhibit itself. The long term relationships I’ve formed with clients, many who are truly friends that I still tattoo, have been a real treasure. I’m proud that I have been able to heal wounds, give closure, recreate famous artwork, have artistic freedom, and live my life the way I have seen fit.
In my new role as a podcaster, I get to tell stories and try to debunk anything I can, being a natural skeptic. On The Residuals, my cohost, Emily, and I tell each other our personal ghost stories and read paranormal stories from our listeners. We have really been redefining what paranormal can encompass. Delving into everything from typical hauntings to possessions and even further into time-slips and alternate universe theories. I unintentionally discovered that I really enjoy editing! I started doing it out of necessity, but I’ve found the process of creating in this new way to be very fun and happy to explore it more.
I’m also writing and illustrating a children’s book about anatomy. I’ve always wanted to get into illustration, but I’d previously been so wrapped up in owning a busy tattoo shop that there wasn’t time to pursue anything else. Being able to combine my art and love of science, especially an easy way to introduce science to children is extremely satisfying…even if I find myself squeezing in time for illustrating when I definitely should be asleep.
I’m always drawing up new pieces or trying new media. I just started block printing and wished I had more time to get into it! Some of my work is available for purchase, but I also take commissions.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Many of my fond memories center around time spent with my grandparents. As a business owner himself, my grandfather always imparted his business wisdom while showing me how to work on the engine of his boat or something else usually reserved for boys. My grandmother always listened to how I felt about things and encouraged me to do what made me happy, even if that wasn’t the popular take with everyone else in the family at the time. I hope I’ve made them both very proud.
- Tattooing: $200/hour
- Website: JoyRumore.com
- Email: JoyRumoreTattoos@gmail.com
- Instagram: joy_rumore
Joy Rumore, Tim Quackenbush