Welcome to Meet the Tattoo Artist, a series where we showcase talented Twin Cities tattoo artists who are creating spectacular art on peoples’ bodies. This installment showcases the work of Taylor Sue of Bee Tattoo.
Name: Taylor Sue
Years Tattooing: 7
Are you from Minnesota?
I grew up in Northfield. I started my apprenticeship there and moved to Minneapolis in 2019.
How did you get into tattooing?
I’ve drawn since I was very young. Later in high school, I was attracted to more traditional tattoo artwork such as pin-ups, skulls, and snakes. For my senior year self-study art project I drew a series of graphic designs based upon these concepts.
After I graduated, I was working two jobs as a barista and a waitress, and started tattooing my friends and coworkers in my free time. My mentor and coworker at the time were opening up a small studio right across the street from the restaurant I was serving at. They saw some of my tattoos through the grapevine and one day reached out asking me to stop in, offering me an apprenticeship.
What were some of the barriers/struggles you have faced as a tattoo artist?
Sometimes It’s hard to stay in touch with my own unique visions of what to create. When you’re creating for other people all the time and consuming so much art content on Instagram and other platforms, it can be hard to know what is coming up within yourself to let out. I’ve been trying to make more time and space to create things for myself when I can.
Do you lean towards a particular style of tattoo?
I work mainly in black and gray. I like stippling these days as I prefer the gritty, grainy texture to a super smooth soft look. I enjoy creating a variety of work; plants and animals, ancient artifacts and sculptures, decorative, folk art, lady heads, and mythical creatures.
Name three things that inspired you early on in your career:
Nature, fantasy, and my mentor. I was lucky to have someone teach me who was very encouraging and truly passionate about tattooing.
Name three things inspiring you now:
The color green, esoteric teachers, podcasts. Nature, still and always!
Is there a tattoo that you’re particularly proud of? Can you take us through why?
Probably one of my most recent tattoos I made of a green heron, sunny fish, and lily pads. I really enjoyed creating a simple yet inclusive nature scene that really flows well with the body.
What about the weirdest/most original/most random tattoo you’ve even done?
I did some considerably odd tattoos on drunk folks in my early days of tattooing. One that stands out is some matching Mickey Mouse tattoos on a couple, including each others’ initials. It wasn’t until I started tattooing that they told me they just met across the street!
Do you create other kinds of art?
I have a pottery studio membership and try to do that on my weekends when I’m home. I also enjoy singing and have a goal to practice more guitar this year. I like to make graphic pencil drawings, too.
What do you get up to when you’re not tattooing?
I'm usually at my favorite cafes drawing and doing work, in nature, practicing yoga, and writing. I really enjoy traveling, on my own and with my boyfriend. He’s a photographer so sometimes I go with him on his trips and play model. This photo is from Olympia, WA, last spring.
Do you have any projects or new things coming up that we should check out?
Not at the moment! I’ve been living out of my van and traveling most of the winter and just now settling back into Minneapolis. I’m excited to get back into my work and enjoy the summer here in Minnesota.