Abby’s ink artistry

Castleton student Abby Murphy.

Abby Murphy is an artist.  

She is also a second-year wildlife and forestry conservation major, which is interestingly paired with her side career as a tattooist.  

The 19-year-old started tattooing when she was just 15.  

“When I was 15, I did the first stick and poke on myself, which was literally prison tatt style, in my room, using a sewing needle taped to a pencil, wrapped in string,” Murphy said.  

Like many others, quarantine provided an excuse to try out new hobbies.  

“I was bored in quarantine and saw someone explaining how to tattoo yourself on Tik Tok. I wanted a tattoo but was too young, so I did it myself,” she continued.  

After Murphy tattooed herself, her friends wanted in on it.  

Eventually, she got actual tattoo needles, ink, and professional hand-poked materials. 

By the time she arrived at Castleton as a freshman, she had 20 tattoos.  

All but two she did herself, hand poked.  

“I was meeting a lot of new people at Castleton. When people would complement my tattoos and I would tell them I did them myself, they couldn’t believe I hand-poked them myself,” Murphy said.  

“I had so many people asking for a tattoo and offering to pay for it. I decided to start a business to be more organized, so people could contact me easier,” Murphy later says.  

With that, the business was born.  

Different artists have different styles of what they do.  

Abby is no different.  

“I call it sketch style. I have been an artist my whole life. I love drawing and painting. I love the dainty look of a sketch style, which is very different from traditional, thick, dark lined tattoos.” Notes Murphy.  

“However, if a client wants a certain style, I do whatever the client wants. But my favorite style is a thin, dainty sketch style.” 

With every career, there are going to be challenges. Not only challenges with the tattoos but the clients as well.  

Of course, being a woman and trying to start a business can come with its own set of problems. 

“I have had a lot of guys use my business as a way of like hitting on me. Multiple times I have had people snapchat me ‘wanting a tattoo’ but they don’t know what they want to get and probably aren’t planning on getting one anyway,” Murphy said. “They always say something like ‘let’s hangout and figure out what I should get.’  

“I’ve also had people cancel appointments after I tell them I have a boyfriend, most of the time after I already drew out the sketch and prepared. Which is very aggravating.”   

Murphy isn’t the only tattoo artist around Castleton.  

There are many other aspiring student artists.  

“I have seen some great work by other students, and I love meeting other tattoo artists on campus!” said Murphy when asked about other student artists. “But I’ve also seen a lot of people buy a tattoo gun off of Amazon and start tattooing people without any practice or experience.”  

Murphy said she’s done a lot of cover up tattoos for people who’ve gotten them poorly done by inexperienced artists.  

“Take your time!” You can tell whether a tattoo was rushed or not. It’s different from drawing on someone’s skin. It takes a lot more technique,” she said when asked what advice she has for aspiring artists. “My advice would be to get practice skin and learn how to use a machine before touching anyone’s skin.”  

As far as career plans go, Murphy has different things in mind.  

“I want to go into wildlife rehabilitation as career, but I’m planning on getting certified so I can continue tattooing on the side for extra money,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Alum returns to talk reporting
Next post Rockin’ and jammin’ in the rain