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Meet Samantha Ceora

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Ceora.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was working a 9-5 as a legal assistant at a wrongful death mass disaster law firm about 13 years ago… When I had my terrible dragon back tattoo; covered up with a beautiful alienesque design by Kirk Alley. He had a private studio and worked alone. I was intrigued by the artifacts and style of his work. Anytime I drove past his studio, I would call and leave a message. Mentioning if he needed any help around the studio I was available. All I wanted was to be around the art, listen to the stories and be immersed in the work. I hadn’t considered being a tattooist at all. I never thought my art was good enough.

Eventually, he responded and asked me to bring my art in to chat. I thought “huh? my art?” I gathered all my art, sketchbook and anything I had from high school class. I went in to meet with him. He looked through my book and said; “You’re better than I was when I started, you need to quit your job and come learn from me. I will teach you”. And so I did. I began working for him five days a week. Cleaning, setting appointments, setting up and breaking down his stations. I moved out of my place and back in with my mom. I lived in a tiny room full of boxes. I made my income to pay my bills and feed myself with all sorts of odd jobs. Background acting, art modeling, gogo dancing, catering, process serving, event production. All on the side.

About a year in, I started to do free tattoos for people. Who often would take advantage of my time, but…this was essential to my learning the craft. I started doing house calls and charging only $50hr where I would bring my entire studio set up in and out of my client’s homes. Often with little to no help. Up and downstairs both ways. This too, I knew at the time was preparing me to own my craft. I was earning my right. I worked at Legends barbershop for a time working with a good friend Alex. I left the shop when they moved locations before they booked a reality show. In hindsight, I am glad I did because the fame game is not my drive. I value my work now more than I could’ve ever known at the time. As a sacred ritual art form.

From there, I worked at a shop now called American Ink, once named Art to the Bone. Which was where I received the terrible dragon tattoo that I got on a whim during a heartbreak with my first love… which was covered by Kirk my first and most influential mentor. Of my mentors, I would like to also mention; Judicael. Whom I met at burningman with his wife. We instantly had a sort of tribe connection. He invited me to his home and studio in grass valley where I sat in on a few sessions. and later worked in his incredibly magical studio in Nevada City, CA. For the past ten years, I have been working from my private studio in Downtown Los Angeles. Where I have been honing my craft. Being that of a ritual tattooist.

Has it been a smooth road?
Ahhh, I would say that this has been the most challenging journey of my life besides that of becoming a mother. And I would also call challenging an understatement. The first tattoo I did on someone, I was shaking. I had to go into the bathroom and stare into my own eyes. Confront the permanence and my ability. I had to put aside my insecurities and serve the client for what they asked of me. Realizing the power handed to me. That I had to own with honor and confidence. When the mind wavers so does the needle.

Throughout these years, I have faced a lot of judgment and power struggles within the industry. Being female has been a challenge in the male-dominated industry. Although I will say, we are a very welcomed and needed energy within it all. Even if not obvious on the surface. Our caring gentle and nurturing nature is something I believe the world of tattooing needs more of. One of the biggest challenges I have endured has been the spiritual backlash. I mean that as in; how I am generally viewed tends to be a fad or an attempt to monetize spirituality. I can’t blame people for questioning and even downright making fun of and discrediting what I do. Because I have seen many people pick up a book on healing and even devote their entire lives to the healing arts and still deliver inauthentically.

Please tell us more about your art.
I specialize in sacred symbolism, fine lines and ritual tattoo. I am known for providing extra care and attention to the meaning behind the work we create together. I often co-create custom designs to represent the rite of passage a client has undergone. Major life changes, loved ones passing, etc. I am most proud of the trust I receive as a tattooist. The stories of the most profound nature, where I am confided in as a therapist of ink. What makes me unique. I’d say firsts is the hidden gem of a studio I work from. It a private appointment only space I have curated over the last ten years. I’ve had it blessed and christened as a temple space. My lineage is of many generations of witches. I can only explain my own values within my practice. My feeling is that those who came before me may have not held such a strong moral compass. And so I feel a strong responsibility to heal and honor the craft. By following the rules of universal magic.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love most about LA is the unique nature of the city. There is always action, nothing can stop the creation and wild savage spirit of it all. Every type of person resides here. There is no limit to what one might find here. I’ve lived in this city almost my whole life. There is every scene you can think of. I love the variety of people. I love that nature surrounds us here. The beach the mountains… We have it all. I truly enjoy the fast-paced lifestyle and the challenge within that.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Stephen Dietrich

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