This tattoo artist wants to give her clients confidence, and change the stigma of tattoos

Ratatat Tats in Cary, NC, has a more spa-like feel than the typical tattoo parlor.
Ratatat Tats in Cary, NC, has a more spa-like feel than the typical tattoo parlor.

Emily Page has been an artist most of her life. And while she always enjoyed drawing and painting, she found herself looking for a new creative outlet for her artistic talents.

That’s when she decided to make the leap into something that had always intrigued her: tattoos.

Most beginner tattoo artists learn the craft working under an established artist. Page searched for a while for the right mentor, and then apprenticed until she felt comfortable working independently.

“I’m coming to tattooing much later than most tattoo artists,” she says. “I had a really solid foundation in art itself — I just needed to learn the new medium, which means the learning process has been a little shorter for me. But because I have been painting and drawing all of my life, custom work comes easily to me.”

As she began her work as a tattoo artist, Page found herself drawn to the practice of permanent makeup — tattooing color to lips, eyes and eyebrows the way a woman would wear lipstick, eyeliner or brow gel/pencil.

“So many women over-plucked their brows in the ‘90s or went through chemo, and the hair never grew back,” Page says. “They’re stuck drawing their brows on, which means they can’t swim or sweat without the makeup melting off. That leaves them feeling so self-conscious.

“With the invention of micro-blading, I can give them the look of real hair, not just eyebrow pencil, and it goes a long way in feeling naturally beautiful. The eyeliner and lip tinting are great for shaving time off of your morning routine and waking up still feeling attractive.”

That led to working with breast cancer patients who had undergone mastectomies to tattoo nipples and areolas on their reconstructed breasts — a cause near to Page’s heart since her mother is a breast cancer survivor.

“It’s bad enough to have to go through cancer and have it steal so much of your sense of normalcy, but to have it disfigure you makes it even worse,” Page says. “If I can give back that feeling of femininity and normalcy, that would be so rewarding.”

At her Cary tattoo studio, Ratatat Tats, Page has worked to change the stereotypes of tattoos. The space has a more spa-like feel than the typical tattoo parlor, and Page says that fits her mission to restore her clients’ confidence.

“I call what I do ‘transformational tattooing,’ because I’m transforming your appearance and your attitude about yourself,” she says. “At the end of the day, my goal is to give people quality work so that they can feel better about themselves.”

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