Today we’d like to introduce you to Anali De Laney.
Anali, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I began my first apprenticeship in the Bronx, NY. I learned quickly that if this was the life I wanted I would have to put my heart and soul into it while also accepting that I would likely always be a “starving artist”. In the time I started tattooing there wasn’t all this posh opportunity that is out there now. I put everything I had into being a tattooer because I genuinely fell in love with it. Tattooing was my first real love.
From the moment I walked into my first scummy street shop I somehow felt a sense of belonging. The freedom, the rebellion. It’s where I belonged. Since then, I have almost always felt this connection with other tattooers. Not just artists in general but tattoo artists. I believe a great number of us are kindred spirits. Our passion for this art unites us in a way.
I don’t want to give you this typical “I grew up doing art and I got tattooed and wanted in” story. I want to tell the story of how the evolution of tattooing in the last 5 years of my career has changed my life and my path in ways I had only ever dreamed of.
I think that starting off in such a harsh environment, the hazing etc., was a necessary step in becoming the artist and person that I am. I believe in the tattoo right of passage. You must suffer to succeed. To respect the sacred knowledge that is given to you by earning it not just by showing up. My story is one that is constantly evolving, that is the life of an artist who’s passionate about what they do.
After a hard lesson and essentially, failed attempt at tattooing professionally, in San Diego in 2012, I moved to Pennsylvania. I had no friends or family there, a friend had recommended going to a small town environment. So I hoped in my car and drove. Although my first year was another year of the same, broke life, the following year my hustling had paid off when I started tattooing in realism. I worked at that shop there for about 2-3 years. When I felt that I needed to leave that shop there wasn’t many options to choose from in my area. So, I opened a private studio called “Never More” which I still own and operate. Thanks to my incredible east coast clientele I was able to work there successfully from the time I opened until now. A private studio allowed me the freedom to travel that I had always wanted. So, I did. I tattooed when home in PA and traveled about once a month to tattoo in shops and conventions all around the world.
In September of last year (2017) I moved back to San Diego to be closer to my family and to conquer the place that has chewed me up and spit me out once before! Here I am, 2018, presenting my second shop: Black River Tattoo in downtown San Diego! With the help of my amazing manager Alex Smith of Reverie Marketing!
Black River is my biggest project to date. I wanted to make my shop in the image of the many incredible shops I had been hosted at in the past 2 years of traveling the world! A place of hospitality that would above all, give artists the freedom we all seek.
You have to suffer to truly succeed. The struggle makes the story worth telling, worth hearing. Don’t try to skip to the end of the story kids! My struggles have made me so grateful for every moment and everything that I have and will have.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am a tattooer. I tattoo all kinds of people, from all walks of life.
I generally make botanical and natural subject tattoos mostly in the hyper-realistic style.
I started the typical way, tattooing American traditional style tattoos but I have always loved ‘still-life’ artwork and have done that in other mediums my whole life. So, about 3 years ago I started working in that realistic style on skin. Which, by the way, is WAY different.
I started with floral subject as a way to break into this style with a forgiving subject matter, all humans make mistakes? Better to have a crooked petal than a crooked eye or nose on a portrait!
Now I am trying to focus more on portraiture and evolving my style into a mixed realistic style.
I am very picky about what projects I take on. If my client and myself aren’t equally as excited to work on the project than I am not interested. I am an artist not a machine. My clients trust me, and I value that trust. I believe that if you don’t fully trust your artist you are not with the right artist for you.
Honestly, my goal is to make your grandparents like the tattoos I give you, haha!
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
Success, to me, is something an artist always chases, at every level. No matter how much you achieve there is always more to conquer. One of my favorite quotes by Ernest Hemingway “we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master”
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Instagram is my widest audience so I cater to that platform the most – @delaneyink
My website is a close second – www.delaneyink.com
- Address: Private studio on J st. in downtown San Diego, California
- Website: www.delaneyink.com & www.blackriversd.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @delaneyink @blackrivertattoosd
Photos of me by: Jessie Weeks Photography