Meagan ‘Megz’ Stevens – Things&Ink

Megan ‘Megz’ Stevens creates Disney inspired tattoos at Bosco’s Tattoo Shop in, Tehachapi, California. We spoke to Megz about how she found she could connect with people through tattooing, and of course her obsession with Disney…

How did you get into tattooing and what made you want to become a tattoo artist?

I was on track to obtain my Masters in nursing. I had completed all the prerequisites to apply to a Nurse Practitioner (NP) programme. However, I found myself drained and not in a good way; a draining of my soul was beginning. In other words, I was losing my ability to empathise and sympathise. I love people, and when I chose a career in the medical field I assumed it would allow me to connect with people in a deeper way. However, when immersed in it I found it to be quite a different world.

I came home one evening, drained as usual, and unloaded on my husband, explaining how I didn’t think I could do it anymore. My husband, always the calm and rational listener, asked me if I could do anything, any job what would I do?

My mouth moved before my brain could register
“I’d tattoo!”

I had always loved the tattoo industry, specifically since the age of nine when I saw a man with a tattoo of Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I just never really thought I would be allowed into this seemingly exclusive club. I thought I would only ever be a client, so I pushed my intrigue down deep, keeping my art closeted as a refuge for me and me alone. Being told by my husband to go for it really sparked a gut response, a flame of determination, a whisper within me stating that I will.

Immediately I wanted to learn the anatomy of a tattoo machine, so I looked up any video and diagram I could find. I am not ashamed to say that I started to “scratch” out of my home on people – I owe my career to friends and family. Within a few months I was able to create a small portfolio of my work. It was enough to land me an apprenticeship.

How long have you been tattooing? Can you tell us a little bit about your apprenticeship.

I have been tattooing for three years. My apprenticeship was a fly or fall scenario, but in the best way. My mentor, Bosco, has this very calm energy about him. He believes in the people he brings into his shop, believes that they have the tools necessary to create a career. He simply observes, and when he sees that you definitely need guidance he comes in and gives it.

What inspires your work? You draw a lot of Disney flash, is this something that influences you? Which character is your favourite?

Disney inspires me the most. I love the nostalgia it brings up in everyone. It’s hard to find someone who does not smile when you bring up Disney. A true Disney fan never has one favorite character. My favorite animal character is Patch from 101 Dalmatians, Belle from Beauty and The Beast is my favorite Princess, and Mamá Imelda is my favorite Pixar character.

What do you like to tattoo and what would you like to do more of?

I would love to tattoo more watercolour Disney pieces. My watercolour technique is very free – I don’t stencil it on. I free hand with sharpie or the tip of my motion-less cartridge. It is all based on feeling. These are the most fun tattoos to do because the trust a client has to have in that moment connects you far past the session. It’s like you’re behind them on a cliff, they may have met you once before or even not at all, and they have to have faith that you won’t push them. They have to believe you have their best interest at heart. It makes me work harder to create the best possible watercolour piece I can for them.

Can you tells us about your own tattoos, what do they mean to you? Have they helped you to see your body differently?

I am fully sleeved on both arms. My right arm is exclusively old Hollywood icons, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, a large upper arm piece of Rett Butler and Scarlet O’hara from Gone With the Wind. On my left arm, to name a few, are little pieces of memorabilia, a best friend tattoo of a coffee cup from the show Friends, Simba, a daffodil, and initials to represent my son, an Alice in Wonderland piece to remember a departed loved one, Sailor Mars kissing Tuxedo Mask and Scar from The Lion King done by my mentor.

My tattoos make me feel unique and confident. I love that they speak for me when I may not want to open my mouth. Quite simply, they are my armour.

How does tattooing make you feel? Is there a particular part of it that you love?

Tattooing makes me feel liberated, but what I love most about it is the connection I make with the client. I find that there is no better sound than a story being spoken by a client paired with the hum of my machine. I love being a person they feel they can unload on. It’s funny, I went into the medical field hoping to help people in this way and all along I could do just that by tattooing.

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