With the encouragement of friends, her father, as well as her fiancée, Lisa Vokes decided start her own business and recently opened House of Kolor at 218 W.Main St., Batavia.
Her own full-service tattoo and piercing job shop seemed like the logical next step in her career, she said.
"I had reached a plateau and I wanted to branch out on my own," she said while creating a cover-up tattoo on the back of Brad Strzelecki.
Vokes worked locally for six years before deciding to strike out on her own, but her father was encouraging her to apply her artistic talent in body art for years before she took up the craft.
"Ever since I was young, my dad wanted me to be a tattoo artist," Vokes said. "He used to tell me he would buy me my own kit and we could sit at the kitchen table and I could tattoo him all day if I wanted to."
Vokes never took Pops up on the offer, but after she finished school, she deciding becoming a tattoo artist would be a good career choice.
"My father couldn't be prouder of me now," Vokes said.
As a young artist she loved drawing dog portraits and that quickly became one of her specialties in body art as well.
Creating meaningful tattoos for people is gratifying, Vokes said.
"It's amazing the connections you make and the people you get to meet," Vokes said.
"I love doing tattoos for people when they have meaning," Vokes added. "I've had several people who I've done memorial pieces for and they've actually gotten up and been in tears and given me a hug and said thank you. It's a great thing. People really appreciate it when you do things for them that have meaning. It's awesome."
Vokes said she's grown a lot over the past few years as a tattoo artists and appreciates the chance to do good work for people, especially when given the chance to do something unique, one-of-a-kind.
"Honestly, I really like to freehand on people now," Vokes said. "I don't like using the stencils anymore, so it's more like my art and it's going on their body forever. It's a special thing."
Vokes thinks it's important that no matter where somebody goes for ink, they make sure they like the artist, both as a person and their style, and that the parlor is following proper and safe procedures.
"It's important to find artists you like and are comfortable with and that you look at their portfolio and like their style," Vokes said. "If you're not comfortable with somebody, it's not worth going to them.
"It's going on your body for life and you want to make sure they're doing the right job," she added.
Vokes with her fiancée and business partner, D.J. Snyder.