Dorthe Romain – Skin & Colors Tattoo:
Dorthe Romain is 45 years old today and started her career back in 1989 and has been in the same shop ever since. Many things can be said about Dorthe’s career as a tattoo artist, and don’t you worry they will throughout this article. But one thing that sticks out is that is all began with love.
The reason Dorthe originally started working in the shop she has remained in for all these years, is because she fell in love with its owner and became his girlfriend. So it did indeed all begin with love.
However, the love was not only towards her sweetheart, it was also towards the craft of tattooing.
A craft, which Dorthe at the time when she began tattooing, was one of the only women who was working as a tattoo artist.
Getting Started In A Male Dominated Business:
To Dorthe, becoming a tattoo artist came naturally to her; however it was not without its challenges. She has always loved drawing, though her own family did not appreciate this talent much and said “that is something you can do in your spare time”.
Luckily, this did not deter Dorthe and she kept on drawing and becoming a better and better artist.
She didn’t know what she wanted to do though, but when she got a tattoo while she was in labour training/education, she met her soon to be boyfriend. Then she started hanging out in his tattoo shop, and started getting more and more into tattooing herself. Then she ended up trying out tattooing herself, and was immediately hooked and knew this was what she wanted to do with her life.
However, it was very tough being one of the only women in the industry at that time, when she started tattooing. No one gave her any respect or actually believed a woman could be any good as a tattoo artist. So Dorthe had to work extra hard and proof them all wrong, by improving her skills and showing them how good she was. But you constantly had to explain yourself to customers, and explain how good an artist she was, to win over people and talk them into letting her tattoo them.
Having To Prove Yourself Twice Over:
People just didn’t believe, women were suited to be tattoo artists at all back in those days. Even though there was already other women in Denmark such as “Roxi” in Copenhagen and Madam Blue in Aarhus, proving this stereotype wrong. It was still immensely tough for Dorthe and she constantly had to prove herself, even after becoming a great tattoo artist.
This is very clearly to Dorthe, the area in which both the industry and the tattoo culture has improved the most. Women are no longer seen as an abnormality or inferior in the tattoo world. Young up and coming female artists, luckily in Dorthes opinion, do not have to prove themselves all the time in the same way. People focus on their great art instead; some may even prefer female artists today as they can look nicer than the men and also are very, very creative in their art and work, as Dorthe puts it with a chuckle.
Acceptance Came Easier With The Times and Their Changes:
Even in small towns like Holstebro, where Dorthe and her Man’s shop is located, are more accepted of women both tattooing and being tattooed. Even in general, people are more accepting of people being tattooed in general, though there are still some prejudices and stigmas to overcome, it is way better today, than it was back in the 80’s and 90’s.
Back in the day, as Dorthe recalls, you could barely even tell anyone what you did for a living, if you were a tattoo artist; “We had to tell people when they asked us what we did for a living, that we were painters or just regular artists”, as she says laughing. Whereas today, she can freely tell people that she and her husband are tattoo artists and have their own tattoo studio. Which makes her feel a lot less discriminated against and feel a lot more respected, for what she does and loves to do.
Among the tattoo collectors also, women are no longer seen as feeble creatures who only get small dainty tattoos, perhaps a couple of them else they will look butch. Today, women get a lot more tattoos and people are a lot more accepting of women who get big and colorful tattoos done. There is just a lot more acceptance all around as Dorthe sees it.
The Age of Individual and Creative Tattoos:
However, there is one improvement that she loves even better, in today’s tattoo culture and industry.
Is how people today get personal and individual tattoos. The days of flash art tattoos are over, and thankfully so. There are in her opinion, a lot less fashion ink as well today. Though she does get happy and feels a bit nostalgic, when people want to get an old-school style piece done on them. Though even in those cases, it is a lot more personal and creative than it used to be.
Dorthe gets a bit nostalgic and chuckles to herself, remembering how that despite all the stigma and prejudice she might have faced as a female artist, she remained strong through it. Though, tattooing as pregnant was a bitch and very tough to pull off, as she says laughing. She got to see it all change.
With Great Improvements, there will always be a downside:
When thinking about what could be a downside of the tattoo industry today. Dorthe quickly talks about, how it is way to easy for anyone, that just wants to earn a quick paycheck, to buy some tattoo gear and start scratching on their friends at home.
As a former board member of DTL (Danish Tattoo Guild), she is firmly against this. Dorthe wishes that there could someday be some legislation put into place, that would prevent this from happening. So that, the industry can be even safer, both for customers and artists.
She was even on the board for 23 years, helping to fight for the improvement of the tattoo industry in Denmark. Though she has stopped being a board member, she does remain a proud member of the Guild to this day.
A New Kind of Tattoo Industry in Denmark:
She is happy to see how the industry at least in Denmark, has become a lot more organized today. But she does hope it will continue to get more and more organized. So that it can be stronger and stronger.
She believes that the next big step for the industry as a whole, at least in Europe. Is going to be shared EU regulations, that will be mandatory for everyone. In regards to hygiene and rules about the how to run a shop.
She hopes that someday, they can put a stop to scratchers and home tattoo artists. As well as making the industry as a whole, safer for the customers. It will also improve their business in the long run.
She always advices and will keep advising people, to think carefully, before getting tattooed.
To the young tattoo artists who are starting out, she would like to say. Hold on to what you have learned and remember that you must never think, that you are done learning.
As for herself and her husband, she is proud to say that they keep it very old-school in their studio. But that is only because they are from a certain generation and think that is more fun for them. Their clients do seem to love it so. Though, they still keep the hygiene in pristine condition and their shop safe.
And they will probably keep tattooing together, till they are no longer able.
We hoped you enjoyed this article, our second installment in our series, to showcase some great tattoo veterans.
For more info about Dorthe, check out her and her husbands website, as well as their Facebook. Please keep your eye on Mediazink for more awesome articles. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram (@Mediazink_Official), for more awesome articles and other content.