Tara Fenn, 28, had an itch she couldn’t scratch. That is, until her father took her under his wing and taught her the art of tattooing.
“Creativity is a major component of who I am,” Fenn said. “Growing up I was always hanging out at the tattoo shop watching my dad work which allowed me to fall in love with the art.”
At an early age Fenn would spend a lot of time at her father’s tattoo shop in Bay Shore, NY, where she fell in love with the art. “Being surrounded by so many artistic people with their individual styles was very inspiring, especially at such an early age,” Fenn said.
She spent much of her childhood drawing and making other crafts, two things that remain part of her identity to this day. “I’d bring line drawings to school and color them with my friends during lunch. I also spent a lot of time at the studio drawing and making other crafts,” she said. “When I’m not tattooing I enjoy painting, crocheting, and crafting.”
It wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she was able to finally convince her father to take her on as his apprentice. “This incredible opportunity gave me my start as a tattoo artist and earned me the distinction of being the last 16 year old to become certified to tattoo in Suffolk County,” she said.
Now at age 28, she has been tattooing for 12 years and loves every second of it. “It’s such a great thing to take someone’s ideas and experience their reactions and joy when tattoo ideas come to life.”
Not only does Fenn help bring ideas to life but she also helps raise money for cancer research. In 2009 she created an event called Tattoo’s for Cancer Research which continues yearly to help raise money for the American Association for Cancer Research. “Every person in America knows at least one other person who has or had cancer,” she said. “We want to raise money through tattooing in the hopes that each tattoo done gets them one step closer to a cure.”
Each year the fund has a theme. In past years, Fenn featured cupcake, nautical, and sugar and spice designs, smaller designs being a $50 donation and larger designs at $100, but she also has options for those interested in donating but not in tattoos. Piercings for Cancer Research is another nonprofit annual fundraiser that allows customers to choose between lip, nostril, septum, eyebrow, navel and ear piercings all for just $20 each.
Combined, these funds, formally known as Cupcakes for Cancer, have raised nearly $15,000 over the past 5 years, to help find a cure for Cancer. “I get to do what I love and I get to help raise money for cancer. It’s a great feeling,” she said.
Fenn specializes in custom designs, animal portraits, human portraits, flowers, lettering, creatures, and pin-ups. In 2012 she went back to school to learn how to do permanent cosmetics like eyebrows, and eye liner and added that to her list of skills. She’s even been featured on television documentaries about tattoos and piercings and acted as a guest speaker for radio shows.
Fenn currently works as a full-time artist and manager at Body Designs in Deer Park, NY, which she co-owns with her father, Michael Fenn. Body designs has been in the tattoo industry since 1990 and has had a huge impact on the piercing industry by creating innovative new piercings and patenting several pieces of equipment that are still used today. Michael is also the creator of an international hotline for people with piercing problems and has won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his continued efforts to enrich the tattoo industry through various works. He has even been featured in many magazines, newspapers, TV and radio shows.
Both father and daughter work hard to build an environment where their customers feel safe and secure. “We established our facility with you in mind. We know you want creative original work from the best artists in the area. You also want your work done in a clean, spacious studio designed for your comfort,” Fenn said.
“I absolutely love what I do and I’m in it for the long run.”