Meet Catherine Courtlandt
I made a conscious decision to be an artist at the age of four. Tattooing at Haylo is the beginning of a new chapter in a twenty-year fascination with body art. In the early 90’s I worked in a bead store in Oakland, California and loved thumbing through the pages of African Ark and Africa Adorned on slow days. These vibrant coffee table books focused on cultural beadwork but also displayed face and body paint used by different tribes for ritual and celebration. I noticed that the markings in those photographs resembled the spirals, circulating dots and repeating patterns that have appeared on the edges of meeting agendas, on the backs of envelopes and in the pages of my notebooks for as long as I can remember. Study of African, Caribbean, East Indian and First Peoples ritual and body art led to my style of face and body painting that I create by connecting with the essence of each person who sits in my chair. It was only a matter of time before I wanted to try something more permanent.
No one I knew had tattoos until my co-worker at the bead store showed up with colorful graffiti inspired sleeves done by friends he’d gone to high school with. After a bunch of rejections, I found a female artist who was willing to have me apprentice – didn’t get far though. Back-to-back babies led to a career in arts education funding and program administration. I was using my education and it was work I could feel good about with health benefits – but it wasn’t really feeding my soul. So, I poured my heart into face painting at festivals, book projects and Spirit Works portraits to supplement my income and fuel my passion. People would often comment that my pieces would make great tattoos but I had let go of that idea so long ago that I didn’t bother to respond most of the time. However, I did start asking friends about local tattoo artists that they liked. Which led me to Hayley, pre- Haylo. A little over three years ago I bought myself the tools I needed, practicing on fake skin and fruit, on myself and then on people but I knew I needed and wanted to learn more about the craft. This led me down the stairs at Haylo for a New Year chakra and journaling workshop, a reintroduction and the beginning of a new journey. A graduate of the High School of Art & Design and the Illustration program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, I am an award winning children’s book illustrator, a coloring book publisher and mother of three incredibly creative people; no doubt inspired by the crates of art supplies in our dining room/studio and the never ending projects on my drawing board.