Our intrepid artist liaison and generally jovial Eikon staffer Patrick Coste, sits down with a tattoo artist to get to know them a little better. This week he's catching up with free spirit and talented illustrator Anne-Marie-Dupuis.
Tattooer, traveler... Anne-Marie is proof that humans are adaptable as she comes and goes to work and practices her art form where and on people who love and appreciate it. - Patrick Coste
Patrick Coste: Hey, hey Anne-Marie, it’s been a long haul since Calgary 2019… 201999999... Damn eh!? I’m reaching out to you because I know you’re an avid traveler, and well… 2020 wasn't the best year to do so. How are you doing these days? Where are you at?
Anne Marie-Dupuis: Oooh Patrick, you tell me! I'm good though. I’m at home in Quadra, BC right now. I just came back from a guest spot in the Kootenays where I found a crazy amount of snow. It was a surprise and a bit of a hard time coming back home, lol. I’ve been lucky to be able to travel in the province for work a bit lately. It feels great. I'm just about to get to Edmonton for a guest spot there. It was a rock and roll 2 weeks...lol.
PC: Let's go back to the beginning of the year...What were you up to, let's say this past January.
AMD: Hmm… I was in the USA traveling around the West Coast in my van. It was wet but awesome for 3 months. I was missing drawing and tattooing (it wasn't a work trip), so it’s when I decided to come back. It ended up being a week before the lockdown. I wasn't aware really, I didn’t look at the news much or anything, I was just enjoying life to the max!
PC: Ok ok!! Quite a surprise eh!? So that means you were off for a while and then *BAM*, off for another while!! That must have been something to deal with.
AMD: YES… It was a bit of a struggle at first for sure, but like every human, I adapted. I painted like crazy, like a full time job, it helped so much. I did quite a few commissions and started my Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/ca-fr/shop/ARTbyLAMPLIGHTER) painting, which was a relief and a way to get better at my art.
PC: Tell me, you travel and do guest spots regularly for work. How did you cope with that part?
AMD: Yes, I mainly do guest spots and conventions last year and planned for it in 2020 as well. After the confinement, some of the appointments moved out of province. Some didn’t want to get tattooed and some came.
It was a big disappointment, but when I came back to Quadra Island I just decided to stay here, it’s so beautiful. I was ready for 2020 to be a year of conventions and guest spots, like on a huge level, but nooo. It was a weird time, but all is well.
PC: During that break, I heard many people found new hobbies. Did you get into big time drinking? LOL, or did you go on some crazy whale expedition?
AMD: Oh I’ve seen many whales and seals… I actually started to learn apnea diving (Freediving), which gave me a lot of satisfaction by trying to provide a source of local food and learn new things. It’s important to me to be sustainable and think of local provenance first you know!
PC: Ha! You little hippie, I totally dig this! Here’s a question we’ve asked everybody: How did you get into tattooing?
AMD: I’ve actually been tattooing (or trying lol!) for quite a while. My beginning was a bit of a “scratching” start… I believe I was about 16 when I got my first machine... I look back at it and OMG, lol… I was in the Punk scene back then and had a lot of free tattooing for friends going on. Not too professional let’s say, but it was how I got into it. I always drew, and I guess I never stopped.
I tried to find a job in a tattoo shop, but it didn’t pan out for a while. My drawings were up to par when you look at tattoos vs drawing per se.
During that time I went to an auto mechanic class and became a mechanic, you know, to get a “real” job. LOL!
PC: Wait.. What? A mechanic?! LOL! I didn’t see THAT coming. Tell me more about your next few years…
AMD: Ya, I work at it too! I worked for a muscle car and off-road Jeep garage. It was a seasonal gig so it ended at one point, but nothing happened for nothing. I went on and found a job at a not-so-good shop, but man...the environment and the place weren’t great. I had to get stuff, while my client was waiting, at the pharmacy because of the lack of inventory etc. Then the ceiling was dripping onto my table - the owner told me to move my station! Lol, good times...
I then moved out of there and opened my own private studio. It was perfect, clean and professional. I was happy for a long while but then, you know, working by yourself you don't grow as an artist as much, no one to talk to to get better, You idle, and at one point and many self-employed home workers feel the same, I was burnt out. I was out of sorts, matched with a mid-life crisis at 30. I sold everything I had, even ditched the boyfriend and left for Melbourne, Australia!
PC: Far out - not next door! Did you work there as well?
AMD: Yes, but not at the beginning. I took time to recover and enjoy life a bit. It was also hard at first to get hired or to do guest spots, so I climbed for a good part of the first year. After I applied to a few places, I found a spot in Tasmania at the beautiful Made & Magpie tattoo shop. The walk-ins weren’t too popular, appointments were the thing. Not being known well, I had few jobs here and there…
It went well really, and I ended up recharging after a year and a half. My visa was almost done, so I decided to go to Asia to tattoo for a bit. I went to Taipei for a couple weeks, again not known, and the language barrier was a challenge. Great experience though!
I came back three years ago now, and at that time I ended up in Montreal at the beautiful Imago tattoo shop. Montreal was a culture clash no doubt, the tattoos were so good though. I learned so much more with great tattooers... I was lucky.
PC: What a journey! I’m glad you shared this with us. What's next for you?
AMD: I’m gonna stick around here in Quadra. I love it here, maybe get rooted a bit more. There’s room for a shop here, and it’s quite touristic in the summer, who knows? ;) It’s important to be part of a place, eh? Even David Suzuki lives here!
PC: WHAT? No way! One more question for you, what song are you really into today? Don’t think about it, just first one that comes to mind!
AMD: Ha! It would be... hmm ha! These days I listen to older stuff, here is a good one for you: Mass Nerder - “Descendents”
PC: Please keep sharing your whale pictures and your paradise island on your Instagram! Thank you so much Anne-Marie.
Follow Anne Marie Dupuis on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annemarietattoo