Olivia Brumen is for me a fearless, talented and unrelentingly amazing human who is living life her own way and to the fullest. She is an inspiration to so many, including myself. Here she is in her own words..
Tell us a little about yourself..
My name is Olivia Brumen and I’m a tattoo artist from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been tattooing for about 11 years now. I truly feel I’m living the dream with my career. To me, tattooing is the best form of visual art I’ve seen. I think it’s the combination of the beauty and rebellion in a tattoo which I love.
How do you express yourself in your life?
I express myself in my life in various ways. My love of tattooing and the aesthetic of having tattoos is not only for my artistic purpose and interest, but also it’s my way of being liberated and inspired as a woman. I personally find the image of a woman with tattoos so empowering and beautiful.
As well as, tattoos I physically express myself through my eccentric fashion and hair styles and colours. I also express myself through my passion for music, I love punk music mostly and I especially adore female musicians.
Most importantly, I strive to be the happiest and best person I can be. This applies to myself and to the people around me.
Being a female tattoo artist in a traditionally male dominated field must be difficult at times. Have you faced any challenges to do with this?
I have definitely faced challenges in being a female in a male dominated industry. As an apprentice it was sometimes difficult to be taken seriously. There were testing times where I was judged physically and felt objectified. As I delve further into my career, I face less sexism in the tattooing industry.
However, as a woman I do feel that we are faced with sexism daily in our lives. Sometimes I choose to block it out, particularly in the work place, as I want to maintain professionalism and be diplomatic in my approach with people.
My clients are my gold, and I do all I can to ensure they have a comfortable and happy tattoo experience. If I’m faced with sexist behaviour or comments in my personal and social life, I will always express how I feel/my opinion. It’s important to let someone know when something they’ve said is not okay. Perhaps they can learn from it.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by other tattooists, by visual artists, by music and women in music, by fashion and by travelling. I’m inspired by my friends, and my closest family members- my sisters Nikki and Lucy and my aunties Sue and Marilyn. They are some of the most important and inspiring women in my life.
Honestly, I’m mostly inspired by people who are doing what they love because they truly love it. By people who are happy, motivated, honest and who are the real deal.
As an artist, what are you working on now?
As an artist, I’m working on bettering myself every day. I’m always striving to become a better tattooist and I believe you never stop learning. I would like to work on more painting as well, something I find hard to make the time to do, but something I love and want to put more time into.
Lastly, the big question, what does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism means equality of both females and males. As a woman I believe we should have the same rights and opportunities as men, whether it’s politically, socially, economically or personally.
A word from the Editor:
Liv not only lives out her passions through her visual artistry but also within her love for music. One of the best conversations I have had in recent times was during a session with her when I was being tattooed. We spoke of feminism and activism and she identified the importance of women in the punk scene as seminal frontwomen. Speaking of those who she admires she explained the power involved with women performing outside of strict gender stereotypes on stage. These which have previously dictated that women remain small, quiet and “pretty” at all times.
At the time she pointed me in the direction of a doco call ‘The Punk Singer’ chronicling the life of Kathleen Hanna, a ‘revolutionary misfit’ in her own words; more traditionally she is musician, poet and activist. I would thoroughly recommend that you check this out!
As for Liv, you can catch her tattooing at Dynamic Tattoo in Richmond.