Ainslie Heilich, tattoo artist

Ainslie Heilich | ART/BTS

Tuscola-based tattoo artist Ainslie Heilich shares his passion for drawing and tattooing, as well as the personal connection he brings to each piece.


Photos courtesy of Ainslie Heilich.


Find out more about Ainslie here:

Website: http://vintagekarma.wix.com/home

Twitter: @vintage_karma

>>> EVEN FROM AN EARLY AGE, I WAS ALWAYS DRAWING AND FROM PROBABLY MIDDLE SCHOOL THROUGH ABOUT THE END OF HIGH SCHOOL, I REALLY DIDN’T PAY MUCH ATTENTION IN CLASS.
I DREW ALL DURING SCHOOL, AND THE TEACHERS NEVER STOPPED ME.
SO I THINK BEING ABLE TO DO THAT WAS REALLY KIND OF WHAT TOOK ART FROM MORE OF LIKE A CHILDHOOD HOBBY TO SOMETHING THAT WAS VERY SERIOUS FOR ME.
I KNEW WITH MY ART I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING THAT WAS ART FOR EVERYBODY.
I WANTED TO TOUCH PEOPLE’S LIVES WITH MY ART.
I DIDN’T WANT TO JUST BE A PICTURE ON THE WALL.
SO THAT’S HOW I KIND OF ARRIVED AT TATTOOING.
AND DRAWING—EVEN THOUGH I GOT TO DO A MYRIAD OF OTHER THINGS, DRAWING WAS ALWAYS MY FAVORITE.
IT WASN’T UNTIL I MADE THE DECISION TO OPEN UP MY OWN STUDIO THAT I WAS ABLE TO REALLY STRETCH OUT ARTISTICALLY AND TRY THINGS THAT WERE NEW VISUALLY AND TECHNICALLY TATTOO-WISE.
IT WAS ALMOST LIKE ONCE I OPENED MY SHOP I ALMOST RETRAINED MYSELF HOW TO TATTOO BY KIND OF TAKING THE BASICS I HAD LEARNED AND THEN EXPANDING UPON THEM OR FINDING OTHER ALTERNATE WAYS THAT WORKED BETTER FOR ME.
I FEEL LIKE WHAT I DO DIFFERENTLY FROM PROBABLY A LOT OF OTHER SHOPS IS I REALLY TAKE THE TIME TO SIT DOWN WITH EVERY CLIENT AND DO A VERY EXTENSIVE CONSULTATION PROCESS.
I FEEL LIKE IT IS THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS THAT I REALLY INVITE FROM THE CLIENT’S PART TO BRING TO THE TABLE.
I FEEL LIKE THAT GIVES ME STRONGER PIECES AT THE END OF DAY AND NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT IS PURELY FROM ONLY ME.
>>I WOULD DEFINITELY DESCRIBE MY STYLE AS A HYBRID OF A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT THINGS, AND I REALLY ENJOY DOING THINGS THAT ARE KIND OF A MIXTURE OF KIND OF CONTRADICTORY STYLES.
SO I HAVE ALWAYS REALLY DRAWN TO THINGS LIKE GRAPHIC DESIGN BASED AND COMIC BOOKY.
I WILL TRY TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
KEEP IT FRESH AND NEW AND KEEP IT EVOLVING.
IF I LOOK BACK AT MY WORK FROM LIKE FIVE YEARS AGO, IT IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT.
IT HAS EVOLVED INTO A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, AND I WILL KEEP EVOLVING.
I AM AINSLIE HEILICH. I AM A TATTOO ARTIST AND CO-OWNER AT VINTAGE KARMA IN TUSCOLA, ILLINOIS.