THE INTUITIVE TATTOO ARTIST
In the years that I've started to accumulate some diminutive ink, the aspect I've struggled with most is coming up with tattoo ideas that feel truly authentic and unique to me. This is not actually a "problem" when you're dealing with something so permanent; it has tempered the urge to etch my body with relatively meaningless symbols that I'll probably (definitely) regret later. I only really feel compelled to get another when I have a very unique, clear-cut idea or else want to commemorate something significant in my life. Earlier this year, it was the latter: After my grandmother died in January, I wanted something that would symbolize the passage of my childhood. I wasn't sure what that might look like.
So it seemed like kismet when I was invited to check out Earth Altar, a high-vibe tattoo studio and workshop space in L.A.'s Eagle Rock neighborhood that essentially combines the ethos of crystal healing and tarot with body art. Earth Altar co-founder Justine Serebrin specializes in what she calls "intuitive tattoos": After she facilitates an energy healing session to understand her client on a deeper level, the pair then collaborates on a resulting tattoo design. It's essentially an illustrated manifestation of a very cathartic therapy session.
After I picked out a crystal that "spoke to me"—for those well versed in geology, I went with a vibrant green malachite stone, which symbolizes creativity and breaking through old barriers—Justine led me through a tarot reading that was eerily on-the-nose. In addition to alluding to my deep, visceral connection with nature and the planet, my reading reiterated the fact that I was in the process of closing one very dear chapter of my life and hurtling toward an exciting metamorphosis. And as we recalled the years that shaped me into the person I am becoming, it suddenly became very obvious: My tattoo would have to do something with water. I am a water sign, and my earliest, happiest childhood memories take place at my family's lake house. And to state the Hallmark obvious, life churns on.
After we settled on a delicate wave design, Serebrin quickly inked it into my skin, with a very special (and very L.A.) pièce de résistance: After attaching my crystal to the end of a needle, she finished the ends of the tattoo in a stick-and-poke style so that I would be imbued with that energy. All in all, it made for the perfect visual homage to a complicated mess of nostalgia and emotion. Wave tattoos have been done before, yet mine feels as singular to me as my memories do.
I WENT TO AN ENERGY HEALER TO GET AN INTUITIVE TATTOO—HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
"Intrigued, I follow Serebrin back inside the studio—which is full of green plants, crystals, and textiles from far-away places—where she’ll create a mock-up of my design. “This is the part that really gets channeled through me,” she says as she begins to draw on my wrist with a pen. “I’m just allowing it to happen intuitively, and as I’m doing it, I’m getting words or reminders of what we talked about.”
I’m almost afraid to look at the design when she’s done five minutes later. When I do, I’m a little bit shocked—it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and it’s so…me. I can’t help but feel like it’s always been a part of my body and that she’s somehow excavated it from beneath my skin, like an archaeologist uncovering fossils from the earth."
This Tattoo Studio Takes An Intuitive Approach To Body Modification
"My goal for the intuitive tattoos are to use abstract symbolism representative of meaningful intention to activate awakening, transformation and personal evolution. Sometimes one may know that they want a meaningful tattoo but don't know what design they want. That's the little sweet spot where my work fits in. I feel like each intuitive design I tattoo is essentially a gift, a very unique code that only they know the true meaning of. I begin each session with a card reading; I created my own deck of cards that I use to help me tap into the subconscious of my client. It helps to open a deeper dialogue and get to the intention needed to be active for the tattoo. Then I hand draw the symbol on the desired are of their body and once approved I begin tattooing. I use a crystal or gem stone chosen by the client and tattoo them with the added benefit of the crystals healing properties, which they go home with as a totem from the experience. "
Want an "Intuitive Tattoo" Based on a Card Reading? Head to Eagle Rock
"Entering Earth Altar Studio in Eagle Rock, you’ll think you’re in a day spa long before you notice the tattooing equipment. You won’t hear the buzzing of tattoo machines or see flash on the wall, but you’ll be offered some imported raw water in the tearoom and have an opportunity to check out the assortment of crystals in the lobby."
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2016 AT 7:02 A.M.
BY JOSH CHESLER
The LA-based artist gives you an oracle card reading before the tattoo.
"Just when you thought you'd heard of every style of tattooing, a new shop with a very new take on the art form opens up.
Justine Serebrin has actually been tattooing for quite some time, but her "intuitive tattooing" is just starting to take off. Rather than picking artwork off of the internet or off the walls (or even having her pre-draw a custom piece), Serebrin sits down and gets to know each of her clients on a spiritual level before drawing an ornate design for the tattoo – often including a card reading to carefully determine the intent and meaning behind the ink and attaching a tattoo needle to a crystal for a portion of the tattoo.
Myspace sat down to ask Serebrin about intuitive tattooing and her brand new Earth Altar Studio."
GRAND OPENING IN EAGLE ROCK: EARTH ALTAR TATTOO STUDIO!
"Our studio is a place for custom creative tattooing and cosmetic, microblading and other permanent makeup. We do everything from hairstroke eyebrows to watercolor tattoos to freckles to areola restoration to scar camouflaging. We are also very proud to announce our new med spa service: Laser Hair Removal practiced by Christine Serebrin, RN who has over 30 years experience. We have other creative tattoo artists here who create very original and custom pieces for our clients. I feel very honored and grateful to have the opportunity in this lifetime to create a safe place for these special services. Earth Altar Studio is so much more than just what we DO here, it is a sacred vortex of community and creativity and self expression and honoring the self. You’ll have to come feel it for yourself."