I met Sue Garcia for coffee on a warm, sunny afternoon. She is a model-pretty, slight woman with ice blue eyes and a quiet voice. She was a trooper, walking through a big, pretty field that I spied despite her concern about spiders. Funny then that I was the one freaking out when a leaf grazed my neck, but Sue was stoic.
Although we met to discuss Sue’s artistry and the path she took to get where she is today, the conversation started out with talk about our kids. Sue is an incredibly private person when it comes to her children, and as a mother, I respect that very much, so I will just say that her children are lucky to have a mother like her. She’s the kind of mom who is incredibly respectful of who her children are becoming, trusts in them and who they are very much, and receives back for that effort two pretty amazing sounding children. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes there are people out there who will judge based on their perceptions of what someone should be like and assume that a tattooed mom isn’t a good one. How very wrong those people are.
Eventually Sue and I did get onto the topic of her work. Sue started out doing caricatures at a Local Kids’ Theme Park. A company was recruiting from local high schools and taught her the way they wanted things done, and did those things she did. She worked there for a while, and impressed them so much that they enticed her to move to another park in another state.
However, when she got to said state, things did not exactly pan out the way that she was promised that they would, and she wound up with a roommate in the same situation, one who was starting on his own journey as a tattoo artist. He gave Sue her first tattoo, a Batman symbol on her mid-back. As he was getting into tattooing, going around to shops and looking for an apprenticeship, she went with him and her interest was piqued. She moved back to this area because she was not happy about the way things were going with regard to her work situation, but she took one thing away from that job: The assurance that she wanted to work in the field of art, in a hands on way.
When she returned, she heard about Amber, who was opening up a tattoo shop, who took Sue on as an apprentice. A series of events nearly prevented her from taking on the apprenticeship and worried her that it was a sign that she wasn’t supposed to do this (including bounding out of bed on 9/11 and tearing her ankle), she and Amber have been working together for ten years now. They work really well together and have the kind of relationship where it’s like having a second spouse.They’ve had artists and apprentices over the years in the shop, and today they have two additional tattoo artists in the shop as well as two apprentices. The shop is in an old mill with a fireplace and sounds like a pretty and inviting space. They’ve expanded into the second floor of the building as well. It’s set back from the street and has privacy walls for clients to be tattooed to afford them a bit more privacy. It’s set back from the street and showcases artwork as well as some antique pieces from Amber’s personal collection.
Sue’s style, both in her artwork on paper and in her tattooing, is definitely traditional, with bold colors, but with her own personal take on the art. She does a lot of painting and artwork in her studio, which she is currently creating for herself out of a need for more work space that is her own. She does sell her artwork and many of the pieces shown here are for sale. Sue feels that as an artist, she is constantly growing and learning, and often in her work tattooing something she was trying to achieve in her artwork will click and she’ll see a way to do it with her painting as well.
You can find Sue at Blue Velvet Tattooing at 132 E. Maple Avenue in Langhorne. You can reach them at 215-752-0995. The shop is open from 1pm to 7pm, and you can contact them to find out about Sue’s availability.