Tattoo artists usually have talents that stem from some sort of art, whether that be drawing, painting or something like that. For tattoo artist and business owner, Athena Funk, it was graphic design, a career path she took for a few years before she connected it to tattooing.
After graduating college and moving to Las Vegas, Athena worked at a tattoo shop, but not with a needle—she designed the shop’s marketing and promotional materials. Eventually, her friend and owner of the shop asked if she could draw. Turns out she could, and her career switch to a tattoo artist kicked off.
Athena returned to the midwest and continued tattoo work, and six years ago she opened Amarok Tattoo Studio. The studio participates in many local events, as it’s important to Athena and to the business to give back. The shop hosts events and donates the money to the Rape & Abuse Crisis Center, they also offer free cover-up tattoos on victims of human trafficking.
“We were also the first people to ever tattoo inside of the Plains Art Museum for Unglued Craft Fest,” Athena remembered.
During their experience in the industry, artists tend to pick up a few tips along the way. Athena shared something that she keeps in mind when it comes to memorial tattoos.
“Someone said, ‘If I had more time, I would write a shorter letter.’ It’s the same with tattooing. It almost takes more time to simplify things into saying what needs to be said. Tattoos are a visual way of communicating something. I don’t do a lot of lettering or anything like that. If someone comes in and they want ‘RIP’ and dates and things like that, I always try to push them towards doing something more personal, as opposed to a cross or a rose with letters or ‘RIP.’ [I ask them] what specific memory do they have with this person? What’s something that they can look at that will make them happy and not sad? A lot of times, when there are letters or names, for the rest of their life, people are going to ask who that person is and what the story is. They’ll have to be prepared to relive that over and over and over.”
Amarok Tattoo Studio
10 8th St N #200, Fargo
“I learned how to tattoo on the strip in Las Vegas, so there was a lot of walk-in traffic. Also at Dead Rockstar, you take whatever walks through the door so you want to get good at everything. I was taught a very solid foundation of different styles, different rules that go with the different styles and things like that. It assures that, as an artist, you can always stay in business if you can do anything. Right now, I really enjoy doing Traditional style tattoos and Japanese Traditional tattoos.”Athena Funk