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More Than A Tattoo

Updated: Feb 10

By: Imani K. Brown (@ipukekawaii)


I am NO LONGER accepting the things I cannot change. I AM changing the things I cannot accept -Angela Davis

Hi! I’m Imani K Brown and I have a very special tattoo practice not just as a kawaii tattoo artist (one of the rare black kawaii artists) but also as a tattoo therapist.

In this piece, I’ll hand deliver my 3 secrets to a dope a$$ tattoo experience. But first here’s a tad more about me and WTF a tattoo experience is ~ Here goes. 🌸🌸🌸


WHO ARE YOU, ipukekawaii ?!

As I said, I’m Imani - 👋🏾👋🏾👋🏾


an avid dreamer (and self proclaimed magical girl✨) who loves to connect with whimsical people over some creative and healing tattoo vibes, helping them achieve their dream tattoo.

As a 15-year vet, I’ve seen a lot and a lot weighs on my heart about how kinsfolk see themselves in tattoo - as a fly by night kinda fleeting moment and not the special rite of passage innately within us. So ... when we connect my specific VMG (vision, mission, goal) is


(V) help black people understand that tattoo is an innate part of us. It’s in our DNA! (M) connect client-friends with their innate spirit tattoo (G) change the narrative that tattoo is superficial. For us especially, it’s NOT. It’s a form of communication, identification, and healing. The most important (in my honest opinion) is healing. Which leads us to what a tattoo experience is. Cuz getting a tattoo is

SO MUCH MORE than getting a tattoo

(👆🏾if you tweet or quote that, I want credit and a screen shot 😹)



As a person who came into tattoo as a self harmer, having my own bout of mental illness (I call them learning curves) always preach that tattoo is an apex of a series of experiences, bundled into one experience - a rite of passage. And anyone looking to get tattooed should honor that even if you feel it’s just an ‘itch’. I promise you it’s so much more.I took time with my customers (some I help weekly and others I see on special occasion) to come up with the most important things any of us should do to honor tattoo as a rite of passage. I call them my 3 secrets but they aren’t really secrets. It’s just things we don’t do due diligence with since tattoo is now so common place on society’s pop-culture tab. BUT if we did, tattoo experiences would become more of a rite of passage practice allowing any tattoo collector to slow down, confer about their ideas (both internally and outwardly) and make EVERY piece going forward a valuable part of their body art journey. I told you, my GOAL is to help change that narrative.




I am NO LONGER accepting the things I cannot change. I AM changing the things I cannot accept -Angela Davis

(👆🏾repeat this 3x daily)


More Than a Tattoo

Crafting a tattoo experience takes work on both the client and artist’s part. Sometimes falling into a local parlor, choosing a bit of flash, and waiting for the first available artist won’t do.

Sorry *kanye shrug*


So try to practice these things instead...


Secret #1

Tattoos are a Rite of Passage

(NOT a fleeting moment) ~

Again. Tattoo is an apex experience that includes a bunch of small experiences to get there. In the chair. Ready to change .... permanently.



So the quicker you KNOW you’re conscious of WHY you’re itching to get tattooed you’ll unlock better ideas for your tattoo, style, & placement.


Secret #2


TRUST the Process. In fact, MARRY IT!

If you seek an artist out, make an appointment and end up in their care ... you sought them out for a reason! Let them be - to create in their style with your ideas. We’re NOT all the same you know ^.^ In getting to know your artist’s process communicate thoroughly, ask all the questions to satisfaction and get to know your artist. In return I guarantee that your artist will meet you half way and give you their best. You did want to work with them for a reason, right?! TRUSTS the Process, as my client-friend & success coach Mike Powell would say. As a result your tattoo will naturally become a collaborative work of art.


Secret #3

Follow the Vibe

Last but not least ... energy is e’rythang! So seek your artist out even by their lifestyle and interests. I am a kawaii (cute) creative nerd at heart ... with a few learning curves. And attract a lot of who I am. And I LOVE it! Because not only am I helping someone else but by helping people like me I’m also helping myself. It’s a vicious cycle *wink, wink*

Seriously, trusting how relatable an artist is to you, on a personal and professional level is nothing but a win. Look at your artists lifestyle and overall vibe, say what’s up on social media. But don’t be a stalker. And don’t be a lurker either ... there’s a fine line LOLz But trust it. Let it lead you and what you may find is not just an artist - but a lifetime friend + cheerleader who’ll get it. EVERY time you need a ‘therapy session’


See dat?! And we haven’t even talked about the tattoo! See ... tattoo may be a bit heavier than what we’re told + sold. Think about it. If you enjoyed this do me 2 solids and 1. FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM 2. Check out my mini docu series Convos with Customers | Let’s Talk Tattoos


And let my client-friends tell you about some of their tattoo experiences <3 Happy viewing!

Gambare, minna

🎨🌈💗💕✨

Love, Imani (イマーニ)