Our first featured artist is Yvonne Wiltse. Yvonne currently works out of Red Handed Tattoo in Las Vegas, NV, and doesn’t consider herself the stereotypical geek of days long past. She does, however, identify with the geeky world by making sure to pick up her pull box from her local comic book shop, and not missing a single Marvel movie midnight premiere while dressed to the nines in the best Avengers Minecraft shirt. Yvonne is not afraid to let her geek flag fly, and advertise her loves on her own skin and apparel. Her favorite fandoms began with Star Wars and Mario Bros., but have branched out into any comic she can get her hands on as well as video games, movies, TV series (Doctor Who, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly), and of course tattooing.
Yvonne has been an artist for over 6 years now, and finds it incredibly enjoyable and rewarding to tattoo in the geeky genre. The geek subculture has been such a huge influence on Yvonne’s life, and allows her to really bond with her customers when they are getting a tattoo of something she is a fan of as well. Yvonne believes a person’s tattoo artist should be fully invested in their client and the subject matter to give them the best experience possible. As a child, Yvonne’s parents were into Star Trek, and made sure she and her siblings were immersed in the sci-fi world as well. She received her first NES at age 6, and was able to master Super Mario by the end of that year, beating it in only 7 minutes. As Yvonne got older, her brother and sister were tattoo artists, and would joke with her about becoming one too. She was not into tattoos at that time, and was focusing on studying voice, musical theater, and opera in college; spending a lot of time performing in Las Vegas shows for a living. One day her sister allowed her to tattoo a tiny snowflake on her leg, and that was the spark that lit the fire in her passion for tattooing. This was both a magical and frustrating time for Yvonne, as she now had to completely change career paths, and start all over again. However, as many dreams go, they’re hardly easy, but incredibly rewarding.
Yvonne has never had to face any serious ridicule for her likes and interests, and if she ever were to, she would easily brush it off as those people are not worth it in the end. The majority of judgment Yvonne has to face if from the older generation who are not adjusted to, or accepting of a person, especially a woman, covered in tattoos. Within the subculture of geeks or tattoo enthusiasts, she never has to deal with any of that. For Yvonne, those subcultures contain the most generous, accepting, loving, and misrepresented people she has ever met. This is really the biggest reason she fell head over heels for her profession, and finds all anyone ever wants is for you to be genuine with them. When you aren’t honest with yourself or others about who you are, it is a waste of everyone’s time. Yvonne finds she is more powerful and respected when she can show her vulnerabilities.
For anyone, including young girls she would like to remind them that the world is a different place than it was even ten years ago, and if they want to do something, or be a part of something, just do it. The world will never change simply by people thinking it should, it changes when we engage in it. As she puts it, no one would sit on a pile of dirt their whole life and be frustrated that a garden never grows; you have to plant seeds, till the soil, sprinkle some water, etc., to make anything of that pile of dirt. “Change is always met with resistance… make it happen anyways.”