We had the good fortune of connecting with Evie Yapelli and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Evie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I first pursued tattooing I didn’t imagine that I’d ever want my own business — I was too focused on learning what the heck I was doing! And I knew that working among other artists was a huge part of that learning. Eventually, though, I started to crave autonomy. I was developing my own unique style but because I worked for someone I felt like I had to take whatever projects came in the door. I’d also seen a lot of how other people ran their studios and I had my own ideas of how I’d like to run things. So I started saving money with the idea that eventually I’d want to do my own thing. Fast forward a year or two, when working for other people was wearing on me and the freedom of being my own boss was more and more attractive. I had just started researching how to open my own studio, thinking I might be ready in 6 to 8 months, when I found out that the shop where I was working was going to close. It was scary and stressful at the time, but maybe it was the kick-in-the-pants I needed. Now I’ve owned my own studio for close to 5 years and I’ve never been happier.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist but tattooing was my first professional art. The rest of my work is grown out of that, plus my love for vintage pop culture, illustration, and antique treasures like kewpie dolls and Victorian ephemera. My art has a limited palette, which often catches people’s eye — I call it “always black and usually red and sometimes gold.” As a business owner I love working with artists in other disciplines, collaborating on objects and apparel, putting on fundraisers and art shows. I like working alone day-to-day, but those collaborations really keep my creativity from getting stale. Especially now, when life can feel so isolated, it’s fun to work remotely on projects with people who inspire me.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Byblos Cafe in the city of Orange is a must-visit mom and pop Lebanese restaurant. The breakfast plate is my favorite, but you honestly can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Other delicious spots are Avila’s (a Mexican restaurant with a few locations — the one in Orange is in a gorgeous building that used to be a neighborhood church) and Pizza 2145 in Costa Mesa (get the blue cheese honey, it’s amazing). For entertainment, check out the Frida’s drive-in theater series. They’re an arthouse cinema in Santa Ana that had to get creative during the pandemic and the nights I’ve spent at their drive-ins are some of my favorite moments in this crazy year. Swing by Old World Village in Huntington Beach, a cute German themed village of shops and apartments. The bakery and grocer is killer. Old World is also home to Bitter Squeaks, an art studio/vintage squeak toy shoppe/eye candy extravaganza, open by appointment.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, Kevin Nelson, is the silent support behind my business. Back when I wanted to pursue tattooing he said “go for it,” and cheered me on when I thought I’d never be any good. When I was ready to open my own studio his take was “it’s about time.” Any crazy idea I have for a project or product, he’s on board. I’m so lucky to have him as my partner.

Website: showpigeon.com
Instagram: showpigeon

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