Ceramics artist Martina Thornhill discusses her journey through motherhood and establishing her presence as both an artist and a business in March’s Visual Arts interview.
How long have you been tattooing?
I have been tattooing for 11 years.
First tattoo you ever gave?
A tree on my husband’s leg.
Tell us about Forbidden School of Body Art.
We have been open for 8 years and have placed over 100 artists into the industry in the U.S. and other countries. About 30% of our students are coming in from out of Oregon to learn.
Future plans for the college?
We are always evolving at the school to provide the most current information in the most effective way possible. We are currently pursuing National Accreditation, which should be a 3-5 year process. This will give us a chance to accept Federal funding for our program, making it more affordable for students to attend and allowing us to be very selective in our admissions. We will be approved to accept the GI Bill in November which is a big step in this direction.
Favorite style, subject matter, etc?
I love tattooing geometry, dotwork and mandalas. I really enjoy mixing this style with other more traditional imagery.
What do you do when you’re not being the boss lady?
I have a husband and 3 small children that I spend my non-working time with. My whole family does Jiu Jitsu, so we are at the gym most of that time.
Favorite PDX tattoo shop, other than your own?
The shops that have hired graduates from our school and the shops that our graduates have opened on their own.
Least favorite body part to tattoo?
The chest, on people that I dont know. I am not comfortable being in random peoples’ faces.
Most memorable tattoo?
My co-worker, Damon’s face tattoo. It was very meaningful to him and I get to see it all of the time.
Favorite tattoo artists on the West Coast?
Shelly DeAngio and Violet VanStappen.
What did you do before tattoo work?
Every artist and student that has come through my school and shop has taught me something. Whether it be positive or negative, all of this knowledge has built the business into what it is today. »