Long time artist has a found a new way to help others express their identity
- Kaitlynn Nordal | April 24, 2022
Sometimes a tattoo is more than just ink – it’s a statement. Regina-based tattoo artist Stacey Fayant says they can be a symbol of where a person has been, who they are and where they are going.
As a child, Fayant was always drawing and asking her parents for art supplies.
Her talent was so obvious, in secondary school, her teacher noticed and gave Fayant her own space to create.
“He gave me space in the art room that was just for me,” said Fayant. “He encouraged me to keep making art.”
Although Fayant received a fine arts degree, becoming a tattoo artist never crossed her mind.
“I got a shop tattoo at 18 and that was all I had,” said Fayant. After a life-altering event Fayant saw a documentary on traditional Indigenous tattooing in the Philippines.
“They were talking about the medicinal value and how it heals and I thought I wish my people had something like that,” said Fayant. Coincidentally, not long afterward she seen a Facebook post about traditional North America tattoos.
“I didn’t know anything about that and my dad didn’t know anything about that,” said Fayant. “I just knew I had to be a part of the revitalization of that tradition. I didn’t know how, but I knew I wanted to be a part of that.”
So, she started researching and discovered Earthline Tattoo Collective where was accepted into a training program in early 2019.
Fayant was trained in a mix of traditional practices, health and safety measures – but really enjoyed learning about the tradition of tattoos in North America.
“Specifically with tattooing, colonizers did a good job of making it taboo, talking about [tattoos] in terms of something savage and something evil,” said Fayant.
Part of her goal as a tattoo artist is to reclaim that hidden history because traditional tattoos and traditional tattoo methods are not connected to capitalism, pop culture or Western culture.
“It is finding our way to our own beliefs about art and our bodies and our own beliefs about what is important,” said Fayant.
This is why she chooses not to do tattoos in exchange for money. “Our people have been through so much in terms of colonization,” she said. “I feel that because the tattoo was taken from us in such a way that it was even forgotten about … it’s important that it is available for our people no questions asked (as a way) to revitalize it.”
Although she has done a variety of tattoos over the years, traditional face, neck and hand tattoos are what Fayant predominantly focuses on.
“It’s important in our revitalization to bring back those tattoos and bring back the beauty of those tattoos and the meaning that is behind them,” she said. “Those tattoos lift us up and show to our community that we belong to a certain people and that we believe our bodies are beautiful.”
Fayant said it’s an empowering experience to give someone a face tattoo.
“It’s a huge honour to me. I think of those people as warriors who are walking strongly and boldly through this society.” she said.