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“This book is like a milestone for all the time spent towards getting my tattoo apprenticeship at Doctor Morse (tattoo studio). I didn’t expect them to give this to me at all, it was really overwhelming. I cried because I’ve wanted to get into tattooing for so long and it was a really nice gesture. I think it’s the memory of the moment I received it that has really stuck with me, that’s what makes this book really special. When I look at this book I can flashback to the day I received it and how I felt in that moment.

I’d been wanting to tattoo for a long time, since 2015 it's been in the back of my mind. I studied Fine Arts at Massey for a year and then at Yoobee school of design for two years. Merging the two together to do this felt right.

When I first moved to Wellington I went around the tattoo studios, knowing nothing about the industry. I visited one studio that does the exact kinds of tattoos that I wanted. I went in and said I wanted a full sleeve tattoo. It was a 30-hour tattoo, taking 10 hours each session. Throughout that time I got to talk to the owner and learn a little bit about the industry as well. I asked them for an apprenticeship but they weren’t looking for anyone and they gave me some recommendations instead. That’s what led me to Doctor Morse.

I said I wanted to do Japanese Traditional Surrealism. Then from there I just had to show them that I was really serious about it and here we are! I’m still hanging out there, just learning. It’s been six months now. I saved for two years to dedicate myself to this. Hopefully next year I’ll be tattooing the public. I’ve been so lucky to get an apprenticeship with really wholesome, kind people.” - Gabrielle, Te Whanganui-a-tara/Wellington interview. Find Gabrielle: @gabrielle.wee (Interview: Chloe Mason)

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