Lia and I went to school together as teenagers. I have felt inspired by her work and powerful sense of self. I have been able to keep up with her work on Instagram and see her tattoos growing in popularity amongst my friends in Atlanta, Georgia. On January 7, 2021, we were able to catch up. I am grateful for the opportunity to talk with a familiar face and be reminded of the reward of having an open-minded curiosity in creative work and life. I was able to better understand Lia’s humbleness, kindness, and appreciation for art. ~Skye, February 2021
“I think I just want to have things that I look at and I’m like, ‘That makes my eyes feel nice’,” says Lia Bodine from her tiny home. Lia is a tattoo artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. She takes it as a compliment when someone finds her work to be child-like. “I think that a kid’s brain is so fresh and actually just sees things in the most straightforward ways,” she continues. Her work falls under ignorant style tattooing and is unpretentious, whimsical, and “doodly” in its nature. From her point of view, the observer should connect to a piece in a direct and personal way.
In her opinion, art should grow and push the boundaries of the time it occupies. Her tattoos are not traditional.
Tattoo artists, Lia included, are given more stylistic freedom with social media platforms. “You don’t have to have the validation of a shop because you can show your work on a platform that a lot of people use or most people use and they get to determine for themselves whether or not they like your art,” she explains. This artistic freedom influences the atmosphere around her work. She expresses,
“I think that it (tattooing) can be more fun and lighthearted than that. It’s just art that people like on their bodies. It’s not an angry thing.”
Lia got into tattooing through an artist in Bloomington, Indiana after dropping out of Indiana University. “I started drawing a lot more and getting more connected to the world of spirituality.” She began an apprenticeship after filling up a sketchbook. In that apprenticeship, she was able to check her privilege as a white tattoo artist and learn the ropes behind the practice. Eventually, she started working for herself and in her own style back in Atlanta.
A lot of Lia’s illustrations and tattoos are of houses. As a kid, Lia had trouble sleeping. Her mom told her to build a house with her imagination as a way to fall asleep. It became a strategy.
“That’s what I would do when I was having anxiety in school and when I just couldn’t get out of my head. I would just build a house in my head.”
Lia says, “I do genuinely want to learn and I think that everyone has something to offer and teach.” She approaches life by listening, sharing, and learning where she can. While talking about the drums she explains, “Music takes listening to other people and really hearing other people. It’s no fun to jam with someone who doesn’t listen to anyone else.”
As in drumming, skateboarding, tattooing, and everything else, Lia approaches everything with an open-mind and humbleness.
Additional Information :
Photos of Tattoos via Lia's Instagram
All Photos of Lia Bodine by Kayla Williams: Instagram
Skye McKinney is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently studying in Amsterdam where she organizes the Withitgirl Europe & Amsterdam, team.