We had the good fortune of connecting with Joy Rumore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joy, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
Other than deciding to work for myself, the single most important decision I made that contributed to my success was simply to follow my instincts. Even when people told me I would fail, I trusted myself gut and trusted the research and preparation I’d done. Even when people told me I couldn’t do things by myself because I wasn’t a man, I trusted my determination to spend all day working to pay the bills and all night building or painting to get my shops open.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is ever-changing. I have been a very versatile tattooer, hopping from one style to the next, and my illustrative art does the same. Personal struggles, politics, and humanity influence my creativity. My tattooing career had a lot of setbacks and successes, as well. Coming up as a female tattoo artist in 2001 wasn’t easy and I won’t pretend any differently. I’m proud of myself for surviving it all and that I’m still here tattooing twenty years later.
I’ve learned to be more cautious and less quick tempered. I’ve learned that I am often misjudged, but I have often misjudged others. Having tattooed people from so many backgrounds and having traveled to so many places has given me perspective I never would have had if I’d simply taken the safe and easy paths. Being able to help another human close a chapter to a volatile moment in their life or commemorate the best day they’d ever had are examples of a couple clients I have tattooed in day. Sometimes tattoos are meant to be pretty or funny, but sometimes I’m a healer, too.
Now that I’m not tattooing full time, I’ve started working on non-fiction children’s books. I’m excited to show kids parts of history and science, while also teaching them to be kind and inclusive.
If there’s anything I leave behind, I hope to teach my child the wisdom one can gain from empathy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would stop into Descanso Gardens for a morning walk and then go to Buko in Glendale for a sushi lunch. The Natural History Museum, Petersen Automotive Museum, and La Brea Tar Pits would all be stops on our itinerary…sprinkled with pit stops for doughnuts and coffee. One day we would, of course, have to go up to The Getty. An entire day in Long Beach with attention to the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary! We’d spend a good portion of time on the beaches and just walking around taking in the views. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have had an incredible amount of help along the way. My family raised me to be business-minded and supported my decisions, even when the path I chose wasn’t what they expected. In more recent years, my personal and creative moves have been bolstered by a formidable, but somewhat private, pile of friends who are all about uplifting one another to succeed together rather than pushing others down to come out on top.
Shoutout to my podwife, Emily, for braving ghost stories and all things spooky with me on our podcast’s journey with The Residuals. We have incredible guests with terrifying stories and it is so creepy and fun! Please listen!
Another huge shoutout to Annie Motel. She’s a tattooer and the owner of Little Annie Motel Tattoo Parlor in Downtown LA. She’s got a crew of badass tattooers and I am so excited to be tattooing with them. I’m really grateful to have a booth in her place. Thanks, Annie!
Bianca Beres Joy Rumore