In the past year Kristel Oreto has moved across the country, had her artwork ripped off by multiple artists, tattooed countless people across the United States, had her art work stolen again (this time on national television), personally spoke to Dave Navarro about being ripped off, and formed a gang of heavily tattooed females.
Last week we were able to catch up with Kristel about everything that’s been going on, and what’s next for here. Click below to read our exclusive interview with her.
Tattoo Snob: You recently relocated to Philadelphia, and you’re working at Art Machine Productions. How are things in Philly and at the shop?
Kristel Oreto: I couldn’t be happier or blessed–I work with some awesome people in the beautiful studio Tim Pangburn opened. I love Philly! I will never move back to Florida!
TS: Has your clientele changed since moving? Do people in Florida get different tattoos than people in Pennsylvania?
KO: Pretty much the same clientele, I had some existing clients up here, they were super-stoked and have all gone nuts, starting sleeves and back pieces… People up here are a lot more respectful of the craft of tattooing.
TS: If you could only tattoo one thing for the rest of eternity, what would it be?
KO: DEF CUTE CUDDLY ANIMALS!
TS: Let’s talk about your tattoos that “appeared” on Ink Master. What happened?
KO: Joe and I had been talking with a client about the show, so we turned it on. Giggling, we decided to give it five minutes. Joe saw a artist tattooing a girls lower bikini area and said, “Babe don’t flip, but I think that’s one of your birds!”
I stopped drawing and really watched the show at this point. They got to the judging part and sure enough, Jamie Davies was talking about the “custom drawn pheonix” he did on his client, which was hands down two of my portfolio pieces put together with flames added. I started screaming!
I get ripped off all the time, but to have the nerve to go on national TV claiming you can cover all styles of tattooing to try to win $100k, and you can’t even draw your own stuff? I was shocked–by the artist, by the show for allowing low-caliber artists on the show where to the unknowing viewers they think this is the best in the industry–and crushed for the client. She has no idea what has happened or what is about to! We began right there and then and started making it VIRAL!
TS: It also happened to Jeremy Miller, correct? Was it the same situation?
KO: I was so blinded by what had happened I didn’t finish watching the episode – but Joe did, and he told me I should text Jeremy. We looked at pics on Jeremy’s site to make sure, and it was: TWO TRACEMASTERS IN ONE EPISODE!!!
TS: I heard Dave Navarro actually contacted you. What did he have to say about all of this?
KO: I posted comparison pics on Twitter, @-tagging all judges and the show. Dave was only one who responded. He asked me to call him. He was floored but very supportive. He has been retweeting every post or tweet in regards to this, including the YouTube video… he has also been very kind to remind me people get cruel with their comments and to ignore them. I have a lot of respect for him, he caught a lot of heat because of the show from both viewers and tattooers. He was hired to be a host, and that’s what he does: his job! He has nothing but respect for our industry.
TS: This actually inspired you to create a graphic called ‘Trace Master’right? Please tell me this is going to be a t-shirt?
KO: FUCK YES IT IS! I just posted prints – you can purchase them here. Give me a week and I will have shirts ordered.
TS: Let’s end the interview with something more positive. You recently launched a group for plus-sized girls involved in the tattoo community. Tell us about that!
KO: I am fat, and I’m beautiful the way I am – regardless of peoples’ rude comments or input about my size. I get wonderful letters and emails from other plus size women telling me how I have brought up their self-esteem by being a proud fat chick! I also have a lot of wonderful and beautiful plus size clients! A few of these in particular (Erin and Melissa) are AMAZING women and collectors, the tattoo work on them is so amazing its ridiculous–yet they haven’t been featured or photographed by ANY tattoo publications because of their size. Unfortunately, these magazines only want what they think that sells (SEX, which means models with small waists and huge boobs. The average woman in America is a size 12!
There are just as many beautiful, plus size tattooed women out there, but they are never featured because of their size. So they tend to think less of them selves because of the lack of support in tattoo publications and other media sources! As I was tattooing Erin Wannemacher at Hell City this year, we discussed this issue. We decided to do something about it, so we created Thick and Tattooed, a group of ladies that can come together support each other, get tattooed together and be beautiful together as they are: FAT! With the support of photographer Mary d’Aloisio, we did something about it that day! Mary photographed about eight girls and made them feel like the beautiful, tattooed queens that they are. She has something in the works for these photographs and some thing very positive for us plus size ladies. In the meantime, Erin and I started an Instagram for these ladies (and their admirers) to follow and submit pictures to: @Thick_N_Tattooed.
We plan on meeting on Saturday nights at a few conventions for drinks so all the ladies can meet each other in person. A lot of them have become friends and found support through Thick and Tattooed and we are so happy we could bring these women together and build up their self esteem! We hope tattoo publications will soon realize soon to that Plus size women are tattooed and beautiful too, we dont except to be on the cover but people would like to see collectors and artists that are women no matter their size. There are a lot more people out there that love big ladies than you think!
TS: What do you have in the works for 2013?
KO: Mannnn….. too much so far! In February I’ll be at Best of Midwest in Iowa and Detroit’s Motor City tattoo conventions, March is the Chicago Tattoo Convention, April means the Baltimore Tattoo Convention and Hell City in Ohio, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati Virginia… more cities to come!
I have three more prints coming out, a new sketchbook to follow my current one available through Kingpin Tattoo Supply, a shirt with Ink Addict, all while working on some stuff with tattoo for women magazine. I’m always adding to much to my plate, it’s a fat girl habit… lol.
TS: Any last minutes words, shout outs, or special thanks?
KO: Always to my husband who’s my best friend and personal pit bull! He deals with so much from me and my craziness, he’s always there and in full support even if it’s shopping. Thanks to Dave Navarro, everyone at Art Machine, the countless artists and the tattoo blogs (like you, Kevin!) supporting me for standing up for myself and my work. Michelle Osbourne photographer and editor of Tattoos for Women and photographer Mary d’Aloisio. Erin and all the thick and tattooed ladies and their admirers! Please do me solid and give a fat girl a compliment today, whether it’s a stranger or someone you know! Find me on Instagram and Twitter at @kristeloreto and on Facebook. Visit my homepage at kristeloreto.com