Joice Wang is known throughout the tattoo industry for her painterly application and sumptuous floral tattoo pieces; working out of the female owned and lead Grit N’ Glory, New York City, Wang’s style challenges the “masculine” perception of tattoo culture within her work, with her pieces bold through their delicacy. The artist is well aware of the power of tattooing to transform, offering cover ups to those with scars, particularly as a result of self-harm.
We spoke with Joice on her practice, botanicals, and the power of tattoos.
Q: Your tattoos are so incredibly luscious and lifelike - what was your background before you began tattooing? Did you come to your painterly style naturally or was it a development through your career?
A: Thank you! I began as a traditional artist working in many mediums, including pencils, charcoals, and oils. I hear from many of my peers that my work looks painterly and I think it’s fitting. I spent a lot of my time painting between the ages of 6-now 27 so it is definitely a big influence. I began my apprenticeship 7 years ago when I was 20 and have been professionally tattooing for about 6 years.
Q: Florals are a speciality of yours - what is it that draws you to them? You have such a fresh take on the traditional, heavily outlined roses that are synonymous with tattooed flowers, is this a conscious choice?
A: Yes! Flowers are a main source of inspiration for me. I grew up gardening with my Grandpa who also taught me how to paint traditional Chinese watercolors. For me, they’re a touch of nostalgia. Tattooing in a more delicate style is a conscious and intentional choice. Often times tattooing is referred to as a “male dominated industry” so I thought I would bring some femininity to the party. A huge majority of my clients are women who may not find the traditional tattoo with a black outline to be their aesthetic. I wanted to give people more options and to also tattoo them in a way that keep longevity as a priority.
Q: Your work in transforming scars through tattooing is truly awe-inspiring - how did you come to the idea for the project and how long has it been a part of your practice?
A: Thank you!! I have been doing this project now for almost 3 years. I had seen a video online of a woman who offered free cosmetic tattoos for women who had been attacked with acid to cover their scars and it really inspired me.
Q: Working within a female forward tattoo studio, what has been your experience as a woman within the industry? Do you think this has influenced your style or subject matter?
A: I think it definitely has. My experience as a woman tattooer has been challenging. I’ve worked in many abusive environments in my short career but luckily I am now working at a women owned shop. I think it’s incredibly important to have women-led tattoo shops where we can all feel safe.
Q: We’re over the moon that you’re a part of Inked Up and the work you’ve created for it is so stunning. Can you let us know what else 2021 has in store for you?
A: Thank you! I would love to do more gallery exhibits in 2021 and explore new mediums and techniques.
Newly commissioned original works from Joice are featured in our latest show Inked Up - take the virtual tour here.