Liquid Amber Tattoo owners Luvia Petersen and Justina Kervel, through persistence and perseverance, and lots of heart, helped shape tattoo industry into a business that is not bound by gender. | Photos by Jessie Robertson
“OMG, what am I doing with my life?”
Even the hugely successful tattoo artist Luvia Petersen grappled with the occasional existential life moment. She injected that energy and angst into her business, Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective.
“It made me feel like I was contributing to society and to my own life in a powerful way,” expressed Petersen.
It was 2000. While strolling the charming streets of Paris, Petersen and her business partner Justina Kervel came across a female tattoo artist Phillipine of Kaplan Art Studio. Enamored of the female-run studio in the then male-dominant industry, they came to Canada and opened up their own, mostly-female run, tattoo shop in 2001. Their goal? To contribute to the rise of females in the tattoo industry.
And, girl, has the tattoo industry grown!
“When we first started it was rare to see a female tattoo artist. Now, they are commonplace. I love that this very old traditional profession has been able to usher in an equal gender identity and at equal pay,” admitted Petersen.
Today, the spacious, brick-walled shop in the heart of Gastown is home to top local artists, who, through passion and dedication, give life to drawings that pour out of them like ink.
In turn, the shop supports and donates to an array of great causes and organizations, like BC Children’s Hospital and Girls Rock Camp Vancouver.
And the good they are doing is etched in the skin of their clients forever.
As part of our Client of the Month blog series, we caught up with Petersen, who’s “enjoyed the process of seeing [her] business grow over the years,” on everything from her most memorable tattoo project to what makes her wake up in the morning to her ‘Aha!’ moment:
The fave project you were part of
“There are so many favourite moments, but one that sticks out is tattooing four generations of women. A great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and daughter. We were proud to be a part of that beautiful bonding moment in the four lives of these amazing women!”
Describe your ‘a-ha’ moment
“About 10 years into the business, I realized I really did not know what I was doing. At that point, I was able to let go and enjoy the ride a little more. I stopped trying to control everything and tried to trust in my ability to handle whatever may come in the moment.”
What’s your #1 motivator?
“Seeing my employees and my customers smile because they are enjoying being at the studio. It was always our goal to create a fun atmosphere to work in and when I see those smiles I know we are fulfilling that dream.”
What’s your vision for the business?
“To be a catalyst for artists to showcase their work, be it on skin or canvas. We want to continue to expand our art gallery and host art shows.”
What advice do you have for other people who would like to start their own business?
“Make sure you LOVE what you do. It will make the long hours and hair-pulling moments a little more tolerable.”
How do you achieve a work/ life balance?
“Haha…what’s that? Joking…You hire the right people whom you can trust to take care of the business while you are living your life.”
Who could benefit from your services?
“Our tattoo studio is for anyone looking to bring some new art into their lives.”
Get in touch with Liquid Amber Tattoo today here for quality, custom tattoos that you will love for life.