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The tattooist who is both artist and therapist

The tattooist who is both artist and therapist Margot Mifflin Aeon


I started getting tattooed. It was a way of slowly reclaiming my body. I look a certain way — a lot of people make assumptions. [And] I work for [a company] that’s very conservative. I needed a way to express myself in a way that felt more authentic to who I am and how I grew up and how I am today.’

‘People who are survivors of abuse have that issue of [not knowing] where anything is from here down,’ Roxx says, touching her neck. ‘Putting the mark on there is like reclaiming it.’

‘She’s a therapist,’ the client says laughing, gathering herself up to leave and finish her errands. ‘We should pay her for therapy.’

‘It’s not like my clients are all wounded warriors,’ Roxx continues, ‘but inevitably, no matter how healthy their lives have been, once they get on the table... [they start to talk]. ‘They feel safe telling me.’ That includes LGBTQ clients who might not feel comfortable in more conventional shops.

Though some tattooists discourage this kind of psychological entanglement with clients, Roxx considers it part of the process. Her shop name, 2Spirit, refers not only to her own gender ambiguity (‘People often describe me as this kind of magical shamanistic creature that’s neither masculine nor feminine,’ she says), but also to the collaborative nature of tattooing: ‘It really does take two people to work together to make really great tattoos.’ 

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