Get to know me:
Hi there, I am Erin O'Shea Salter, the owner of Salter Studios LLC. Many of you know I am a tattoo artist in Cantonment, Florida; I have received a vast amount of questions about how I got my start and how I have gotten to where I am. Hopefully this short autobiography will answer those questions and allow you to get to know me a little better.
I was born in North Carolina and raised in central Florida; as a child I didn't show much aptitude or interest in art. I primarily enjoyed science and math and really anything that allowed me to study and think. I didn't get into drawing at all until I was in my earlier 20s, when someone close to me taught me how to draw by inking comic book pages. From those experiences I was able to apply it towards learning art the way I wanted to. In doing so I learned to draw pin-ups, and because it was a rarity to be able to do so, I started selling my drawings for local tattoo artists. In a wild twist of fate, one of the artist asked me "Why don't you just become a tattoo artist yourself?" and from then on threw me into an apprenticeship that would forever change my life.
My apprenticeship was comparatively short, but extremely difficult. I had to work to prove that I wanted to pursue this career more than anything else in life. I do not personally subscribe to some of the ideas of how apprenticeships have been handled in the past and prefer to teach individually and constructively. That being said, viewing the different levels of tattoo artists, their lifestyles and clientele was handled has been a major part of my professional growth. I will forever appreciate the chance that was given to me and cherish as well as respect it for what it is.
My life as a walk-in artist was a hectic whirlwind, which is why I can switch gears very quickly and design pieces on the fly. I enjoy pursuing the education behind multiple design styles and prefer to continually learn about new and upcoming styles. Because of my traditional start in tattooing, I am fairly flexible with what I can do. That being said, I am more than happy to guide a client in the correct direction if I am not the best fit. I have found over time that I really enjoyed spending time, thought, research and effort into my work and prefer to collaboratively create art with my clients directly.
Although awards in general is not necessarily something I've strived towards, it is always nice to receive recognition for one's hard work. I've won multiple awards at conventions for both fresh and healed pieces, for color, sleeves, uniqueness, etc. I have been humbled greatly by the community by winning the Best of the Coast award in 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020; I won runner up in 2015 and 2017.
Although I have been settled firmly into my career and personal artistic abilities and comforts, I look forward to constantly continuing my education, most especially about color theory. I wish to eventually pursue my master's degree in color theory. It is important to me to be well-rounded as an artist so I also study non-color techniques and all new design styles that cross my path. Further than my interest in higher arts, I strive for the best advice and guidance about the health and safety of my career and how I am affecting people. It is important to me that each tattoo is applied as safely, carefully and thoughtfully as it deserves and that I create a bond with each client based upon mutual understanding and respect. To further this foundation I have studied with multiple more experienced artists, as well as different medical professionals from a dermatologist to an endocrinologist, rheumatologist, oncologist, etc. I find the human skin's reactions to stimuli very fascinating and have worked to understand the ramifications of tattooing as thoroughly as I can. I also study auto-immune diseases and bodily disorders that can, and do, heavily affect a person's ability to get tattooed, in what increments, at what frequencies as well as optimal healing styles catered specifically to their needs.
I've accomplished a major goal for myself in opening my own shop, but typically I don't define my work in achievements. I prefer to focus myself, ensuring each choice I make is one that will continue my art on the best path possible. I am realistic enough to know that there is a physical limit to this path and have begun working towards limiting myself to a more reasonable pace (hence the creation of this website and the contact form, to streamline how people can get ahold of me). I wish to spend more active time with my family and be able to allot the amount of mental fortitude needed for each project. Although I do not mind working on smaller pieces, I will likely steer towards middling to larger and project pieces more frequently. I have worked extensively with my previous apprentice, April Dailey, and trust her fully to aid in any client's pieces that I am unable to accommodate.
I thoroughly hope that the tattoo industry shifts to more artist owned and operated shops. The For-Profit only shop mentality is one of the past and that's exactly where it needs to stay. The tattoo industry is not a meat market that demands clientele "Get it. Get out.". This is a vastly underrated craft that I want to see get the respect I know it deserves. We are no longer handicapped by previous mindsets focused on money and speed and can focus on growth and community. I believe that each client, piece and moment should be treated with the same level of respect, care, experience and attention as any other; regardless of size or price tag.
-Erin O'Shea Salter