NEW TIMES What body piercing do you do most often?
VEIUM Definitely nose and navel. Because I work in a beach town, often people who come in are on vacation and want something they can show off in a bathing suit.
NEW TIMES Knowing there are many stereotypes that go along with working in a tattoo shop, what is something people wouldn’t expect about you?
VEIUM People probably assume that I am a total hardass, but in fact I strive to be a caring, good, thoughtful person. Actually, since I’ve become a body piercer I have been more conscious of taking care of myself. I do yoga six days a week. I like waking up early and going to bed early every night. So, I guess, that makes me a lot lamer than people might imagine.
NEW TIMES What has been your experience as a woman in a very male-dominated industry?
VEIUM Because the shop I work in is rad and the people I work with are so nice, it’s not as difficult. But definitely being the only woman around at least three dudes at a time, it’s easy to fall into step with them, to cuss like a sailor and make inappropriate jokes. I try to retain my femininity by stepping it up in terms of my womanly appearance and being more feminine in my dress.
NEW TIMES What do you bring to the shop as a woman?
VEIUM I and another coworker introduced Dance Party Saturdays, which, for the first couple of hours of the day, we put the Lady Gaga Pandora Station on and rock out; something you wouldn’t expect from a tattoo shop is to walk in and hear some “Bad Romance” and have at least half of the artists enjoying it. I feel like I help make our shop feel more dynamic and inviting for all different types of people. Going into a tattoo shop can be kind of intimidating, and I do my best to balance that out by being a kind face when you walk in.
NEW TIMES How do you feel about inflicting pain on people?
VEIUM During my apprenticeship, I had to consciously choose to disconnect from the fact that I was literally hurting people. I would never be able to finish my apprenticeship if I had retained those feelings. I am also not hurting people maliciously; people are voluntarily coming in wanting a certain aesthetic, and something that’s involved in attaining that is going through a little bit of pain.