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The tale of a tattoo artist

Jo Peridon knew her life’s passion by the age of 15.

That was when she got her first tattoo. That was also when she did her first tattoo: a floral design crawling up her arm.

"I had no idea what I was doing and one thing led to another. And over the years I’ve managed to pick up more and more knowledge and be at a point where I’m extremely proficient with my craft,” she said.

There’s really no educational institution for people who want to become a tattoo artist in terms of post-secondary diplomas or degrees, which Perodin says is a positive.

“There’s no proper schooling for it, which is good because it kind of protects the industry from people who think they’re qualified just by having a degree,” she said.

The way to go with tattooing, is apprenticeships. Perodin said finding a reputable mentor and working with them for a number of years is key.

She tried this when she was 15, but was too young at the time. Upon graduating high school, Perodin actually did attend a child and youth worker post-secondary program (while tattooing on the side), but dropped out after getting pregnant and realizing tattooing was a better career option for her.

"I always knew I wanted to do something creative with my life and tattooing was the perfect way to blend, I guess, expression and working with people, which I also really like.”

Now, Perodin is the co-owner of Inktegrity along with her husband Max Perodin.

The two took over the business from the original owners about three years ago.

“I pretty much really wanted to own a business… (and) we waited for that opportunity,” Max said.

Max is in charge of running the shop, which also includes a barber, piercings, and tattoo laser removal. Jo on the other hand enjoys running the artsy side of things and is in charge of everything to do with tattoos.

The two agree that it can be hard sometimes running a business together as well as balancing married life and two children.

“It’s tough but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Max said.

Jo agreed, adding that being one’s own boss is far better than working for someone else.

"The best part of my job is working for myself… and then being able to be creative every single day."

Max said his wife never stops sketching, drawing or tattooing.

When it comes to their kids' exposure to the business, Max said their oldest, 13-year-old Fiona, is more interested in running the business than the tattoo side of things, and Jo says their youngest, 3-year-old Ezra, is fascinated each time they come home with a new tattoo.

For Jo, her love of tattoos is definitely evident on her skin and she expressed plenty of reasons to love them, whether you just have one small tattoo, or a whole sleeve.

"I like everything about tattoos. I like that they’re permanent. I like that it’s a way that people can wear their expression on their body. I like that it can help people heal in different situations. I like how happy people are when they get them. And then I like being able to listen to people’s ideas and help them translate that into a really amazing piece of artwork on their skin – probably in a way that they might not be able to think of. I love that it’s an art form that’s been around for hundreds of years and has continually just evolved. And I love that I can support my family just by doing art.”

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