Canadian artists of all genres
It’s a comfortable scene on a snowy day. Schools are closed and Jenny Henderson is home watching Willy Wonka with her nine-year-old daughter. This comforting aura is inherent in Jenny’s personality, and it sets her apart as a tattoo artist in Hamilton. Her studio, Sacred Blue Tattoos has a soft, comfortable, hippie vibe —it’s one of the reasons her clients, some of whom are also moms, bring their 18-year-old daughters in for their first tattoo.
Jenny graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and although she always dreamed of being a tattoo artist, she went to teacher’s college instead. She taught art for several years before finding the courage to give up a stable teaching gig to follow her dreams. “My fiancée gave me a tattoo kit and his leg,” she says. That was the push she needed. “When I was younger, I didn’t have confidence, and as a tattoo artist you need confidence. ‘Grow a set of man balls,’ my mentor told me.”
She did, and with the help of her mentor, Stephen Williams, she embraced her talent and her confidence grew. “Coming into Hamilton I’ve been embraced by the community which has been big,” she says. It’s here that she’s done art shows at Homegrown, Sealed Art and Supercrawl.
When Williams, who owns Xquisite Ink moved to Brantford Jenny followed him. But, with a fiancée, a daughter and a 17-yearold step son, the commute was too much. So, a year ago she rented space in the Down to Earth Shoppe and opened Sacred Blue Tattoos. The risk paid off. In less than a year Jenny made a name for herself, no small feat considering Hamilton is a hub of creativity and talent within the tattoo industry. “We have fantastic artists and shops here,” Jenny says.
So how does she differentiate herself in a town that houses some of Canada’s best? “Tattoo artists are artists. I’ve always been a painter so I tend to look at the body for it’s natural, organic aesthetics. I’m very concerned with how the tattoo will look from far away, not just up close,” she says. “I focus on negative space and the overall body, not just the individual piece.”
Another thing that sets Jenny apart? “I really like working with clients rather than telling them what they want…So many people have a tattoo they were talked into based on what the artist wanted to see, but I like to remind people that it’s their tattoo, not mine,” she says. “Your work is your advertisement and I want to ensure every piece I do is lovely.”
This strategy is paying off as word of Jenny’s creativity, talent and caring approach spreads. “People come in because they saw someone else’s tattoo, or they’ll see someone’s tattoo on Instagram.”