Artist Highlight: Jayna Won
Here at The Looney Zoo, we’re all about providing you guys with valuable information and insight into the tattoo industry. This time, we’d like to take a little bit of a different approach by highlighting an artist that we absolutely love and highly respect, Jayna Won.
Jayna was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been creating handpoke tattoos since 2016, although she never really planned on being a professional tattoo artist. She fell in love with the craft when she found artists like Tati Compton and Grace Neutral, and the rest is history. Jayne leaned into that passion for handpoke tattoos – and the tattoo industry, in general – and today she stands as the co-owner of Angel Kisses Studio in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
What drew Jayna to handpoke tattoos was the fact that they are so intimate and personal – even more so than the most widely-used form of applying tattoos (electric tattoo machines). It could be said that every single tattoo application is intimate because you’re asking an artist to permanently apply a piece of artwork onto your body. However, handpoke tattoos take it to another level.
With handpoke tattoos, every single dot of ink that is placed into the skin is intentional and controlled by the artist. The ink is applied automatically with tattoo machines, and therefore less intentional. “I love how much thought goes into every dot made in each hand poked piece,” Jayna said.
That being said, there are reasons for using one technique over the other – and sometimes reasons for using both, as Jayna frequently does. “My machine has become a new love of mine!” she said. “I can accomplish different looking work with a machine so rather than replacing one with the other I use them with each other.”
This combination of using a machine and a hand poke tool allows Jayna to create works of art that are unlike that of her peers. “I’m not sure what makes my style different, she said. “However, I think that when designing tattoos, I’m not trying to mimic the way my peers do [them]. I always sketch a design with my techniques in mind.”
When sketching a design and planning which techniques to use, Jayna knows that it’s important to consider her canvas because all skin is different. The same tattoo applied on two different people may very possibly look completely different. Jayna says that this is due to differences in skin textures, not necessarily skin tone, as many people might assume. “Be open to coming in for a touch up, if necessary!” Jayna advises.
Jayna also says it’s important to keep an open mind and collaborate with tattoo artists – this often products the best results. “Be open to work with contemporary artists! Some might be cool with tattooing your design but have a conversation about how you can collaborate and make the piece something in their style.” The final design will, of course, be approve by you (the client) but an artist’s professional and creative touch might be able to take your initial idea and transform it into something that you’ll love even more – and something that will work well with your skin type and chosen placement!
As a woman in an industry that has been traditionally dominated by men and misunderstood by many, Jayna wants to see a more inclusive industry and hopes to be a part of that. “My goal in tattooing is to keep providing safe spaces for not just clients but also tattooers. I’d love for inclusivity and education to be a norm in the tattoo world!”
One thing that she wants to educate people on, specifically those who are looking to get tattooed, is how to be respectful of a tattoo artist’s time. “I think the most common misconception is that we only tattoo. We don’t say we are booked because we don’t want to do your tattoo, but because we have other things going on in our lives and we still need to pace ourselves like any other job,” Jayna says. “It’s almost never cool to ask a tattooer to come in on a day off or to extend their hours for you when they are booked, unless they’ve established a relationship with you where they’ve given that permission.”
Jayna has one final piece of advice, and this is for people who are planning on making their first-ever tattoo appointment: “don’t bring friends to your appointment! With or without a pandemic it is unnecessary!”