Meet Catherine Courtlandt
The most important thing to know about me is that I am currently living a long-held dream come true. I decided to be an artist at the age of four with the goal of being able to draw all day. Over the years I have kept numerous side hustles which have included face and body painting, murals, illustrating books for kids and adults and the occasional graphic design gig. My day jobs were always in the arts but administratively focused. The concept of art as a tool for healing was also a big part of my prior work life especially while designing programs for youth. At the same time, I was connecting with my need to heal myself and received Reiki I & II attunements. Shortly after that, SpiritWorks Soul portraits started flowing through me and my desire to tattoo was reignited. Time and the universe have an interesting way of flipping everything upside down to set things right and I know for sure that my landing at Haylo to begin my apprenticeship in 2016 was predestined. Since then, I have gained valuable skills, watched my work improve, and learned a lot about myself and what I bring to the table. Every day I strive to learn more and do more – but I still don’t tattoo faces or fingers.
No one I knew had tattoos – myself included until my co-worker at the bead store I worked at in Oakland, California in the early 1990’s showed up with work done by friends who were apprenticing at shops in San Francisco. I loved thumbing through the pages of African Ark and Africa Adorned on slow days at the store. These 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 permanent.
After a bunch of rejections, I found a female artist who was willing to apprentice me, but the universe had other plans. A wedding and back-to-back babies led to work I could feel good about with health benefits – crappy non-profit arts benefits- but it was better than nothing. 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 I didn’t bother to respond most of the time. However, I did start asking friends about local tattoo artists which led me to Hayley, pre – Haylo. In 2014, with my severance from my old job, I bought my first tattoo machine, practicing on fake skin and fruit, on myself and then on people but I knew I needed to learn more about the craft, and I wanted to be good at it. This led me to Haylo for a New Year chakra and journaling workshop, a reintroduction, and the beginning of a 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 and a GiGi whose second act is creating a level of peace and happiness that I’d always hoped for.
All the ladies at Haylo & especially Catherine took such wonderful care of me yesterday while I was there getting two memorial pieces, one for my Mama & one for my late husband. These ladies truly care about their clients & go above & beyond to make sure your experience is personal, comfortable, & that it honors the spirit of the kind of tattoo you are getting … I will NEVER go anywhere else for body art. Haylo is truly the very best of the best, hands down! Thank you all so much, ladies!
Catherine did my amazing artwork and I could not be happier! It is a wonderful, calm place that caters to exactly what you want. I highly recommend Haylo!