CAT JAMES - Denver, CO Tattoo Artist - #3 'Behind the Ink'

CAT JAMES - Denver, CO Tattoo Artist - #3 'Behind the Ink'

We would like to thank Cat for donating designs used on the CAT JAMES x LONELY COWBOY collaboration tee, available now (CLICK HERE). Because of her donation and desire to help the community, we are able to continue funding our Lonely Cowboy Scholarships - offered in high schools across the US, awarded to students interested in mental health education.


CAT JAMES (@oldsolnewtricks) Q+A:


#1 - Why do you believe taking care of your own mental health is important? 

Our mental health is the foundation for finding joy and fulfillment in life. Having a sturdy foundation is what allows us to navigate the endless ups, downs, and unknowns that life brings. No matter how much you improve, this foundation that is our mental health is constantly being tested and therefore needs consistent maintenance and care.


#2 - What are some practices you do daily to make sure your mental health needs are being met?

Journaling and physical activity, ideally outside in the sun, are my most cherished forms of daily self care practices. They look different each day ~ sometimes, writing songs serves as journaling. Sometimes activity is essential - like surfing, running, yoga or even just stretching. It's important for me to listen to what my mind and body need on any given day and be able to adapt.


#3 - What's one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

"Don't get wet before it rains" ~ It's actually advice my dad gave me (often in Italian), that I never truly understood until recently. It means to not worry about things that haven't happened yet. Being prepared is one thing, but stressing about something that has yet to occur and may not ever is a waste of precious energy. You miss out on the enjoyment of sunshine, worrying about rain that may never come.


#4 - How do you think the education system could do better for mental health education?

I think it's important to pose mental health as a practice & tool that helps everyone be fulfilled and succeed as opposed to a requirement  they have to learn about or something only messed up people have to fix. I remember thinking that if someone had a therapist, they must be real messed up.. Now, especially in the tattoo shop, most of my conversations are about us processing what we talk with our therapists about and generally revolve around mental health.


#5 - What are stereotypes that aren’t true about heavily tattooed individuals?

I can't tell you that stereotypes in general aren't true, because they may or may not apply to the heavily tattooed individual you happened to be looking at. But I will say that I've witnessed a lot of people assume that one day we'll regret all the permanent adornments we've covered our bodies with. I can only speak for myself, but I'd bet a whole lot of money that most heavily tattooed people would agree ~ my tattoos have become a part of who I am. I learn to love myself more every day, tattoos included. I can't wait to be an old tattooed lady with long silver hair and wrinkle lines from all the smiling I've done over the years. I don't believe in regrets.


#6 - Give positive words of wisdom/encouragement directed to the next generation of tattoo artists/artists in general

Sometimes we get caught in the rat race believing that our art is a means to an end. It's important to remember that our art allows us to express, it allows others to resonate with and it allows us all to connect. All of those things are more important that money and the material things money can buy.


#7 - Do you believe tattoos need to have meaning? 

I don't think it's a matter of 'needing' to have meaning. I think that whether the imagery means something or not, the fact you decided to put a permanent marking on your skin has intrinsic meaning. Maybe it means you think it looks rad, maybe it means you don't care what anyone else thinks, maybe it means you had a wild night with your friends you'll never forget. It doesn't need to mean anything existential, but it will always mean something ~ And that is how tattoos tell a story and become a part of who you are.


Follow Cat on IG @oldsolnewtricks to see more of her work!

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