FEATURE Hip Hop + Tattoos: Ashley Paige aka LOVE
As a queer Black woman, Ashley is an intersectional artist, dedicated to serving communities who are typically excluded in the tattoo community and making the most disliked part of their body something they love. Check out the exclusive interview with Love and find out why she is the up-and-coming sought-after tattoo artist.
Tell us where you’re from and how it has influenced your art?
I was born in Maryland, but my parents are from Jamaica. My Jamaican parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. They applied the perfect amount of pressure. I knew that if I was going to be an artist, I needed to make enough to be able to provide the life I
desired for myself.
Where did the name Love come from?
When I decided to go by an artist name, love was what I needed most. It works for me on many levels because I love making art, I want people to love their bodies, and love their bodies even more because of my tattoo work.
What makes you a unique artist? Do you have a signature style?
I’m unique as a tattoo artist in so many ways. I just don’t know of another black female tattoo artist who does what I do like I do it. Not only have I mastered several tattoo
styles, but I am also a formally trained artist which is also very rare in the tattoo industry, specifically rare in the black tattoo community.
How long did it take you to develop your art?
I’ve been a visual artist my entire life, my mom has drawings from art contests that I entered in elementary school, so I’ve worked my whole life to become the tattoo artist my clients meet today.
How has hip-hop influenced your craft?
Some of my favorite tattoos to do are hip-hop artist portraits or hip-hop tributes! I love the energy and confidence hip hop-inspired tattoos give my clients. I love hip-hop music.
As a woman in the industry, what challenges have you faced?
As a woman in this industry, I face challenges. As a black woman, I face challenges. As a queer black woman, I face challenges. As a plus sized queer black woman….haha! But the least painful challenge I face often is someone seeing my tattoo portfolio and assuming a man did it.
Did you come out as a gay woman or tattoo artist first? And did one influence or encourage the other?
I came out first, it was obvious at an early age haha and my sexual preference has strongly influenced my tattoo business. After less-than-ideal experiences at traditional tattoo shops, I have created a safe space for clients of all genders to receive luxury artistic services. I also really strive to make women and feminine identified people feel very comfortable and empowered throughout the process. I want my love of art to resonate through everything I do.
Have you tattooed any artists in the industry? If so, who?
Yeah, I’ve tattooed a local artist named Snoop. I love to collab with more dope artists on tattoos, paintings, murals, anything artistic! I’m game.
If you can put ink on anybody in the world, who would it be? And What?
I want to tattoo Beyonce’, something small someplace easily hidden. I’ve thought about this before.
Tell our readers how they can get in touch with you?
I’m @artizmylov on Instagram.
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Ashley Paige AKA “Love” is the artist behind Artizmylov, a Maryland based private tattoo studio that specializes in realism, portraiture, Polynesian tribal, and colorful floral tattoos. Artizmylov was created in response to the exclusionary tendences of the tattoo community. As an intersectional artist, Love is devoted to bringing quality, high-end tattoo experiences to those other artists may feel are less desirable as clients. Artizmylov brings a luxury tattoo experience to oftentimes neglected, marginalized clientele such as non-binary individuals, the plus-size community, people of color, those with skin concerns (stretchmarks and/or moles for example), and the larger LGBTQIA+ community.
Love’s work stands out from the crowd due to her experienced, formal, fine arts education, and cultural and social influence. Studying in various cities across the country, she has learned multiple tattoo styles from tattoo mentors in San Diego, Atlanta, and New York. A life-long seeker of knowledge, Love is an alum of Morgan State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Painting and is now a graduate student at the Maryland Institute College of Art.