If there’s one thing that Chicago tattooist Dawn Grace doesn’t ever have to worry about it’s things to keep her busy and happy if she should ever stop tattooing. Not that Grace will be stopping her work as a tattooist anytime in the foreseeable future, but the list of things that keep her attention when she’s not tattooing is sizeable indeed. Yet no matter how many interests that Grace accrues, the common point between her tattooing, travelling, yoga, belly dancing, mosaic art, graphic art and love for scooters is an eye for and appreciation of beauty. Because as everyone is well aware, every good tattooist needs an appreciation of beauty.
Grace’s tattoo work kind of took me off guard. I suppose that might be considered a sort of silly thing to say, but it’s true. When I began looking at her art I don’t think that I was expecting to see her style. Now that sounds strange, I admit, but what I mean by that is that looking through artists profiles it’s often simple to get caught up in the genre of a tattoo and to have the typical expectations of only what that particular genre is. Portraits are portraits for example, and we judge them based on how closely they resemble the original image. With Grace however, the black and grey style that she employs has a slimming effect in that it seems to break down the genre, leaving behind a clear understanding of Grace’s personal style. The fact that it’s black and grey didn’t enter the equation for me and although my first instinct was to compare Grace’s black and grey to the work of other tattooists black and grey, I quickly got over it.
Instead, I was drawn to the images and the way that Dawn interprets them. The work is as smooth and straightforward as a pencil sketch, though it certainly isn’t simple. There’s a calmness to this work just as there seems to be a calmness to Grace’s life, even amongst the understandably hectic creative-smorgasbord that fills up her days.
Dawn Grace tattoos by appointment only at Chicago’s Tattoo Factory.