We had the good fortune of connecting with Lexx Marie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lexx, what do you want people to remember about you?
As an Aquarius, naturally im always going to root for the underdog in most situations. So when it comes to my legacy, I would love to be know for being an artist that made some sort of mental impact as well as an artistic one. Even if some don’t agree with my viewpoints of the world, I would truly love to be an artist that opened a conversation or brought forth an idea that one was unaware of before interacting with me. For example, my pricing is something that typically sparks a conversation, and is a topic most are either unaware of completely or never knew specific details of even how they are affected by it in everyday life. My pricing is a sliding scale based on how we are paid in the US, which is not the same depending on the persons gender and ethnicity. Because of this, I decided to allow my clients to choose how they identify and pick the price they feel is appropriate for them individually. I then donate a portion of the sessions over a certain hourly amount to local organizations or services that help to better the oppressed in my community, the Bay Area. This is one way I would love to be remembered; that I acknowledged issues in society that I believe oppress certain individuals, and through my creative and entrepreneurial career I did what I could to bring awareness of it and make changes where I believe they should always start, at home.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In the 3 art mediums that I do proffesionally, its a big surprise when people find out that I have zero schooling or professional training in any of them. Im self taught myself by trial and error on myself, vigorously researching on my own, and finding people willing to answer basic questions for me. When I first began trying to find my way in this career, I was met with some hesitation because of my lack in professional training, but I took pride in being able to say and show that I didn’t begin to call myself professional until I fully understood the art form I was entering. So when I started to produced the artwork along with the knowledge behind it, my talents and skill would be questioned less and less. This is something I’ve always found myself doing; finding something im passionate about and deciding to learn the ins and outs about it so that I can share that with others fully. Specifically as a tattoo artist, I’m not only a female, but a black female. I didn’t realize how rare that was until I started researching other tattoo artists and looking for inspiration from ones that looked like me. I also got a sense of how this was going to be a challenge for me when I was trying to find an apprenticeship. I was even turned down one time after the shop owner found out I was a mother, because I ” wouldn’t be able to put my work first cuz its easier for dads”. Shit like this is what makes me proud to say that I found a way regardless of the viewpoints and “gatekeepers”. I can say that I’m black female tattoo artist with her own studio space, in a very white and very male industry. And because of the knowledge I’ve gained mostly on my own, im able to not only educate others, but also create artwork that reflects that knowledge.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am born and raised in the East Bay (eastern section of the Bay Area). I moved around enough throughout my life here that I don’t even really feel comfortable claiming just one city, the whole damn 510 area of the east bay is my home. And after 33 years of life here, I can honestly say that Oakland will never be matched in my mind and in my heart. Anyone native to The Bay Area will not be excited to sit in traffic and cross that bridge to San Francisco even though most of the “tourist type activities” are in the city. But Oakland just has an energy that you can’t compare with. Sadly, I drive around where I grew up hanging out and most of it is unrecognizable, so sometimes even exploring my own hometown is a new experience for me. But one thing I can still count on is food. Me and bestie WILL be eating good and that’s for sure, taco trucks included. Pretty much its pick a cuisine, any cuisine, and we can find it somewhere in the bay. Hiking is also the one thing that you can get almost anywhere out here with some beautiful views of the bay. So I would have to say my perfect itinerary would be morning coffee at a different cafe each day, hiking some of the hundreds of trails, FOOD, and anything else they would want to do because the way gentrification is switching things up, we might both need to plan somethings together and find what’s new (yes that was shade, but I still love the bay).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I decided to quit my state job and be a full time artist, I was definitely met with people who didn’t deny my talent, but definitely denied that I would be successful doing it in an entrepreneurial fashion. It honestly first came down to my husband reassuring me that I am talented and nothing is truly permanent in this situation. If I struggled he would help where he could, and if I decided I needed to go back to working a job then I always could. It was a mental security blanket that I needed to hear to see myself actually leaving full time job to begin a career I had no professional training in. Second, i have to say that my manager at the time was the one person at my then job who didn’t make me feel stupid for thinking this idea wasn’t insane and unattainable. Her first reaction was ” you should! practice on me!”, which I did for months before I got the courage to give an unnecessarily long 30 day notice of me leaving (obviously I was still hesitant). And lastly I would have to say that I have received so much support from my clients and the people I’ve worked creatively on projects with. Many times over these years I didn’t understand how they believed in me so much while I was second guessing this whole entrepreneurial venture thing feeling like I was failing. For that I’ll always be so grateful because it’s them I am giving service to in my career, and to get that support is something I never thought I would experience when I started doing this.
Instagram: @lexxmariearts , @ lexxmariephotography
Facebook: Lexx Marie Arts
Yelp: Lexx Marie Arts & Photography
All my work, photography and tattoos/henna.