Photograph by Gerry Kingsley from Sudbury.

April 19th, 2017
Jesse Gussow

There’s no denying that Tattoos are accepted in today’s society. Rose Cardinal is an outstanding tattoo artist based in the heart of the Canadian Shield, working out of her own shop in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Her tattoo and art work is beautiful and powerful!  It catches the eye and draws you in to check out every detail. If you are in Sudbury or driving across Canada, make sure you stop by Studio Cardinal and get an amazing piece of art on you forever.

Where are you from?

Sudbury, Ontario


How did you become a tattoo artist?

I promised myself my first tattoo once I had earned my Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art. It ended up being a half sleeve because I thought it would be my only one - the plan was to go to teacher's college and teach art! That changed after my first tattoo. I never went to teacher's college. Instead I got a job at the Art Gallery of Sudbury so I could fund my tattoo education. I was an art educator by day and studied tattooing at night.

What was the first thing you drew?

I don't remember. I've been drawing since I was a child.

What was the first tattoo you did?

My first tattoo was on my mom. It was flowers on her foot.


What style is your favourite to do?

I don't have an absolute favourite. I enjoy black and grey realism, colourful new school, and neotraditional inspired pieces.


Which do you wish you were more proficient at?

Well... this is an odd question to ask. As an artist who is incredibly self critical... I see myself as a student who will forever be learning! I will always be trying to be more proficient at everything I do.


If you weren't a tattoo artist what do you think you'd be doing?

Teaching art! I still try to teach when I can or be involved in the fine art community as much as I can.


What's the tattoo scene like in Sudbury? What kind of work do you do the most?

We are still a mostly blue collar city and that grit makes tattoos quite popular here. I've been lucky enough to experience several styles.


What's the most favourite piece you've done?

It's difficult to choose a favourite. Perhaps I'm a rare breed, but some of my favourite tattoos are not always those I see as artistic achievements! Sometimes it's relating to the experience I had with that particular client.


What are you working on now?

I'm really working on developing a personal style through my work and also to take more time drawing for myself rather than just for tattooing.

How do you go about creating a piece? If someone gave you complete free reign, what would you do?

That would depend on what I'm into at the time. I go through phases really! At the moment I'd probably be very interested in doing a full mermaid themed sleeve with black and grey realism mermaids and bright coloured backgrounds... but that's because I just finished a mermaid thigh piece and I would love to explore that theme and style in more works.

How have you grown as an artist?

I've grown as an artist when I became a tattoo artist. It forced me to trust my skill  and build confidence. It also taught me to be humble, accept criticism, and build character.


What do you love about being a tattoo artist?

Pretty much everything. Otherwise I'd be teaching!


Any good stories about someone freaking out while getting a tattoo or after?

Only a few! I think because I'm so chill it rubs off on my clients.


What do you do in your free time?

To be honest, I don't have much free time! I work a lot and when I'm not tattooing I'm preparing for upcoming clients and managing the studio. When I'm not working it's all about my dog... soon to be dogs!

Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

Fudgee-Os. Oreos are overrated.

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