Erika Doyon Talks Animal Advocacy, Staying Positive, And Saving Her Shop...
Point to Point takes you behind the needle to share the personal journeys of tattoo artists like you. Drawing inspiration, spreading respect and love… This time we’re talking with animal-loving tattoo artist, and shop owner Erika Doyon.
Name: Erika Doyon
Year tattooing: 16 years
Place of business: Tattooer/Owner of Studio Artease, Montreal
Patrick Coste: Hi Erika, I’ve wanted to get in touch with you way before, as you’re one of the most positive people I know. I haven't seen you in what seems to be wayyyyy too long. Last time we saw each other was at the 7th Hub City Tattoo convention. I remember you were a machine that weekend. Good food and good chocolate! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk Point to Point with us! How are you doing?
Erika Doyon: I’m good, great, although it's been a bit rough in many ways… We could’ve had this conversation a few weeks ago and we’d have had a totally different chat! Like everybody, I’ve been off work for the first time in years, and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster since March 13. I’ve been painting, keeping busy... I like to say I'm ok.
PC: You’re a truly positive person, I love that about you. I know most of your team. I also know you’re the best mom-like figure they could have... I bet they were hit hard as well, right? How are they doing?
ED: The team was also affected mentally and physically. They got hit hard, and they all have different personalities. I have a nail-biter, one that’s got it under control sort of, and to top it off, one that has an immune disease and might catch an impossible virus you’ve never heard of... and then there’s me who was calm, but wondered where all this was going and not having answers.
At first you don't realize it, then you do, you adapt, you evolve where you can. I worked until March 13th and I was one of the last shops to close. I had tattoos scheduled until it happened. Then you “HAVE” to deal. I had to cancel appointments and answer all the questions from clients and from the team. Then comes the calm, then frustration, but after looking back at it, being careful was the only answer.
PC: Like many others, your shop was also impacted by all this. You had some fundraising as well in order to basically save the shop?
ED: I was so grateful for this, it saved my shop. We sent out messages and tried to thank all of the people who donated. THANK YOU! I hope that reaches you. I, of course, was quite stressed, you know? I had to get answers, find direction, listen to the government this and that. I’m working with my landlord in order to get a grant for the lease and get to the right position once again. It helps going through this with less to worry about for sure.
PC: With all that’s happened in the past few days, it’s not that hard to find a reason or a cause to be involved with. You’ve been very active in support of animals, especially in Montreal where your Bull Terrier was a hot topic a few years ago.
ED: Yes, as a dog lover I had to rise and do something about it. Injustices are everywhere, we saw it twice in the past weeks. Advocating for dog breeds that are targeted was a natural thing for me and what felt right.
PC: You’re truly a tattooer who does it all, I remember your small tattoos at conventions... God, I miss conventions! We used to see each other way more at conventions. Tell me, if you could go to one right now, which one would it be? I remember you doing those bangers there, not your usual work, but perfect for conventions, you nailed them!
ED: Thank you very much! Hmm… Halifax would be the one. I love the city, it’s fun. The tattooers I go there with are a class act, and my “small convention bangers” are always hot over in the Maritimes. I’m always booked rock solid for the weekend! Really any convention would be great, but when you really really think about it, I wonder if I’m ready for one. I still have COVID in the back of my mind.
PC: Now shops across the whole country are about to reopen next Monday. Are you ready?
ED: YES, you bet! One recurring thing we talk about in our Zoom meetings is masks. All of the new regulations are quite real. It gives us a chance to re-new and be a bit more sensible about everything. Where I might need to adapt a bit more is with the wearing of the masks, shields, gowns etc. We’re usually quite safe in our approach while tattooing, which gives us an edge if anything, but those visors are quite something.
In 10 years we’ll remember the 3 months of COVID. We’ll remember this time, but what we’ve had to adapt to, and had to go through, might be gone and almost forgotten.
We’ve got all we need and we’re ready to tattoo. Mask or not, the long term will tell us and well, life goes on and we’ll adapt!
With all that, it’s up to us, the world, to start anew and keep it “clean”. No need to go back to bad habits.
PC: What’s next for you? I hope things will come back to normal a bit, or at least the new normal after this break, for you and you lovely team.
ED: We’re ready! We tackled this head-on and with about six things to do every day before that. I wanna maintain a good and healthy way of living, mentality and all. Start a bit later, do fewer tattoos per day, bigger tattoos. Not just say “I’ll do that later” - I want to truly enjoy life and make the best of it.
PC: Always so nice Erika, I hope to see you very soon!
Follow Erika on Instagram: www.instagram.com/artease