CATE (CRISPY AURA) - Chicago Tattoo Artist - #3 'Behind the Ink'

CATE (CRISPY AURA) - Chicago Tattoo Artist - #3 'Behind the Ink'

We would like to thank Cate for donating designs used on the CRISPY AURA 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.


CATE (@_crispyaura) Q+A:

red dragon line line tattoo from cate 

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

There’s a reason that with each flight, the flight attendants remind you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others in case of an emergency. It’s so easy to get caught up in the tasks, responsibilities, duties and relationships that we feel the need to tend to, forgetting to check in with & take care of ourselves. Once you have a solid relationship with yourself and all aspects of you, that’s when you can truly be present. The most important relationship that you’ll have in this life is with yourself.


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

It took a long time, but I finally became good at checking in with and communicating internally to myself and all aspects of me. It might sound crazy to some but to me, meditation is truly just a daily meeting of my ego, inner child, and higher self. Understanding my own emotional triggers and making sure I show myself the grace and love I would show a friend when I’m feeling negative emotions has gone a long way. Also allowing myself REST and quieting my mind when needed, because our bodies will be the first to show us if something is off balance. 

 tattoo from crispy aura

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

I would remind her that she is so loved and always looked after. She always has access to the wisdom & love that she needs because it lives within her. I would always encourage her to explore and grow in her creativity and curiosity. Also, “you don’t need to be perfect to deserve love”.


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

There is so much that we don’t learn about mental health until later in life - and it usually takes a lot of self discovery or being in a bad mental space to come across. Especially since we model our emotional responses to what we see from our parental figures, it would be amazing for our school system to start teaching kids at a young age about expressing emotions and regulation, while removing the shame. The conversations don’t have to be complex but would kickstart that lifelong understanding of self identity and mental wellness without the stigma that you must be depressed, weak or crazy to talk about your feelings.


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

Tattoos used to be viewed as sacred, artistic self expression until it became associated with violence, gangs, and criminals. I think it’s important to understand where the negative stigma came from in order to override it. It’s a new era and the majority of our society is viewing tattoos as artistic expressions yet again, & I believe that will keep growing.


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

Have fun!! You get to create art and celebrate its completion with your canvas, how amazing is that! Don’t get caught up in the “work” aspect of it too much and let it lose its special-ness.

 cate, owner of crispy aura, tattoo artist chicago

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

I believe that at the subconscious level, all tattoos have some sort of meaning and elicit some type of emotion to the wearer, but the meaning doesn’t always have to be super profound. It could be as simple as the tattoo making you feel a certain way, or highlighting a body part that boosts your confidence, or a silly reminder to not take life too seriously. The piece of art has usually brought the wearer some sort of connection and emotion at some point in time, and that’s meaningful enough :) 


Follow Cate on IG @_crispyaura to see more of her work!

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