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

Hi Miya, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Hmm… I remember before my first tattoo experience, it was so intriguing for me to dream about what it would be like. Before getting tattooed and starting to learn how to tattoo, I couldn’t fully comprehend how uniquely spiritual and empowering it can be. It is many things for many people, but tattooing certainly has been deeply spiritual for many cultures and people for thousands of years. I feel a real responsibility to try to honor this as much as I possibly can!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I think happens in any worthwhile pursuit, facing continual challenges is inevitable. My younger years informed a way of me pursuing my path that was rooted in a false resilience – one that told me to push by all means necessary, and that strength and success and worth will be achieved by doing so. As I am learning and experiencing more, I am finding that true resilience looks very different from that older story I had. I am learning to be more present, more aware, and more holistically loving to myself and others. Ultimately, I feel this makes me a much better tattooer. It is really important to me to actively create in a way in which I am holding space for my clients to create their own experience however they need, for what they may need at that time – I truly feel so much fulfillment from striving to do this!

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 love hiking and being outdoors, so I would definitely say do some exploring on the trails and beaches here! For other activities while visiting the area for a trip, following are some really great Black-owned businesses in the Santa Barbara and Goleta area:

three great restaurants to try on State Street are Embermill (@embermill, embermillsb.com), Mollie’s (@molliesonstate, santabarbaraitaliancuisine.com), and Petit Valentien (@petitvalentiensb, petitvalentien.com). Also Mylestone BBQ (@mylestonebbq) at Draughtsmen Aleworks in Goleta on Sunday’s, and Gipsy Hill Bakery (@gipsyhillbakery) has without a doubt the absolute best chocolate chip cookies… ever. Dr. Jacques Charles (drjacquescharles.com) and Summerland Salon and Spa (@summerlandsalonandspa, summerlandsalonandspa.com) if you’re looking for some self love & care, and also dance classes from Paris (@maryjanehoe) through Dance Unlimited!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very grateful for all those who have played a role in my life, and it is easy for me to say so much of any success I have is due to my parents, sister, partner, mentors, family, friends, and clients. But I would love to take this space and use it to do a shoutout to my aunt, Kelle. She is an art director, designer, and incredible artist but beyond that, she has been without a doubt one of the most important figures in my life. A role model to me and many others, Kelle has exemplified focusing on pursuing her career while maintaining intention, humility, kindness, and integrity. It’s easy for me to recognize that I would not be where or who I am at all without her. I know that some of the things I am most proud of about myself come from her, and the growth and learning I have been able to experience throughout my life from our interactions and her guidance. Everyone has hardships and struggles in their life, and Kelle has always been there for me. The ease that comes with feeling that support from people in your life is such an amazing and powerful gift! She has taught me unconditional love and displayed to me the fruits of working through tough inner healing. Her constant support, understanding, and love has made an absolutely enormous positive impact on my life.

Website: miyamatsui.com
Instagram: @miya_matsui

Image Credits
Paola Christiansen (photographer for middle photo of main header picture)

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