tattoo interview quote overlaying a photo of a jellyfish sleeve tattoo by lu loram martin, top large bold blackwork floral tattoo specialist, and illustrator, based in toronto, canada,

Tattoo Interview: Laura!

Hi Laura, thanks for agreeing to take part in this interview series on client experience. So let’s start back at the beginning, from my records you were tattooed in July of 2021 at Black Cloud tattoos and we did your sleeve over two consecutive days ….

What made you decide to get this particular tattoo?

Laura: I’d been considering a sleeve for years and when I saw the tattoo on Lu’s newsletter I instantly knew it had to be mine! My sleeve is a jellyfish surrounded by flowers. Pretty much every time I’ve stepped into an ocean at home or around the world - I’ve been bit by a jellyfish. But mostly, I just thought the tattoo was beautiful!

Do you remember how you felt the days before getting tattooed, or the morning of?

L: I traveled from Halifax to Toronto to get tattooed by Lu! I remember being ridiculously excited - my only source of nerves was finding the tattoo shop as I initially got the name wrong. Morning of I was doing a lot of positive affirmations to assure myself that I was a badass and could indeed handle two full days of tattooing.

What was the process of getting tattooed like for you?

L: The process of getting tattooed was really positive for me. Both Lu and the other folks at the shop were extremely welcoming. The shop had Netflix playing, and I remember watching the Jumanji movie which was an excellent distraction. We took breaks as we needed them, and it was overall a really chill experience.

Did you find the experience painful, and was it as painful as you expected it to be?

L: I found the sleeve to be extremely manageable painwise. As I was traveling, we did the tattoo over two consecutive days which led to a bit of tenderness on day two, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Do you remember how the second day sitting was for you?

L: The excitement is what I remember the most. Physically, I was definitely feeling a bit tender but quickly settled in and it was business as usual.

Do you remember how you felt after getting tattooed?

L: After getting tattooed, I was stoked to show off my beautiful new ink to the world - but definitely felt drained. I remember grabbing a cider and some takeout and then going back to my AirBnB to crash.

And how about the day after? What was it like having a brand new fresh tattoo at that scale!?

L: The next day was a breeze, I spent the whole day out with friends in the city. My major concern was keeping it covered from the sun as it was summer at the time. I am a big fan of the "leave it the hell alone" method for new tattoos, so I mostly just tried to forget it was there and kept it clean and out of the sun!

Let’s chat a little more about life with your tattoo…

What is it like living with this tattoo?

L: It’s hard to remember life without it. Before the sleeve, all my large pieces were in less visible spots (stomach, back, thigh). I’ve been getting tattoos since I was 15 (I was 29 at the time I got the sleeve), but this is the one that really made me feel like a “tattooed person”.

How were the reactions from people close to you?

L: This piece actually had a huge impact in my life - it ended up being a big part of the reason why I decided to leave the job I had at the time. I work in a technical industry and I was the only woman in the office. My first day back at work after getting the sleeve, none of my coworkers acknowledged it even though I was in a t-shirt. I wasn't out looking for compliments, but it just felt off. The owner of the company was overly conscientious of the other men in the office being “appropriate” with me, but it ended up making me feel like an outsider that everyone had to be on guard around. Even though the intentions were good, this was a major motivator in my moving on to a more diverse firm.

As for family/friends, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive!

In what ways has your tattoo changed your life, or sense of self?

L: Tattoos have always provided me with a sense of autonomy over my body. I tend to fluctuate in weight quite a bit - my tattoos help me see the beauty in the changes. My sleeve is easily my favorite piece (so far!) and it makes me feel like me.

Let’s skip forward to today?

How do you feel about your tattoo right at this moment?

L: I love it. I love all the negative space and that I can still see my freckles from all the time I've spent in the sun this summer. I do get asked a lot if I’m going to get it filled in with colour - to which my response is always “hell no”.

Have you gotten anymore since this tattoo (or do you plan to?) (haha you already answered this, but for the readers)

L: I have gotten a couple new tattoos since this one, both on my right arm (the one without the sleeve). I got a teeny pineapple that I got matching along with my best friend as I was visiting her over the summer, and a key for buying my first house (which I own but no longer live in - long story). I consider my right arm as my “collector’s arm” where I get tattoos to remember trips, significant times, or for family/friends.

As for future plans - I’m hoping to get back with Lu in 2024 to start on a leg piece!

If you could give any advice to someone thinking about getting a tattoo what would you tell them?

L: My advice to someone thinking about getting a tattoo is don’t overthink it! Do your research and find an artist with a style that vibes with what you’re looking for. Don’t concentrate too much on everything having a “meaning”.

healed photos of Laura's jellyfish sleeve tattoo lu loram martin, top large bold blackwork floral tattoo specialist, and illustrator, based in toronto, canada, best

Thank you so so much for taking the time to answer my questions Laura (and for choosing to get tattooed by me). I'm forever grateful,


Thanks for reading, if you are interested in getting tattooed by me you can find all of my booking information here!

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