We bumped into Liana's instagram profile completely randomly and our hearts skipped a bit when we saw her beautiful elephant piece on her thigh. One "hi-hello-please-model-for-us" later, we were talking about going to Chinatown for something edgy, neons lights and rock'n'roll. Liana is a brave soul. She walked around half-naked in public places for a solid two-hours.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Liana Lewis, I’m a Toronto based dancer, singer and actor. Originally from Calgary, Alberta . The arts have always been a big part of my life
Let's talk tattoos
I have 11 tattoos. My first tattoo is the one on my back. Two dance figures on a turntable they represent the urban and contemporary styles of dance, I identify with both.
My “Believe” tattoo and the one behind my ear which says LiLi with the Trident from the Barbados flag were done by Jay McKay at Adrenaline - he now has his own shop Unique Ink in Barrie, ON.
The “Believe” a simple reminder to never loss hope, that whatever I set out to do is possible. The one behind my ear is my family nickname it also represents my Bajan heritage. If all of my ink had to speak for me, they would tell the story of who I am, what I love or how I move in the world. It would reveal inner beauty, strength, love, empowerment, authenticity and the importance of music, dance and family. Those are the things that make me me.
The “Elephant” and “Love Conquers All” was do by Alanna Mule at Adrenaline, she now has her own shop Bellwoods Tattoo. I love what elephants represent: strength, loyalty, power, patience, good luck, pride, happiness, reliability, confidence and wisdom. There's many other symbolic meanings, I found those qualities I identify with the most. I had it shooting musical notes because music has been a big part of my life, even before I was born.
"Music is a second language to my heart." - Mara Arps
“Rose” tattoo - by Janice at Chronic Ink.
The lips with “be your own kind of beautiful” written in lipstick by Rags at Black Cloud Tattoos. It’s a dedication to my Love Letters Cabaret family, the lips is our logo we’re all about “poom poom power” empowerment. Being your own kind of beautiful is what poom poom power means to me.
The sternum and finger tattoos are by Prairie Koo at Ink and Water Tattoo. Both pieces are his own designs. I was looking for new ink inspiration when I came across Sara Golish (a Toronto based artist) "Moon Dust" series, the "Black Gold" print it spoke to me. To me she represents strength, uniqueness, inner beauty and empowerment. She reminded me a lot of myself especially the persona I take on Petra "Queen of the Nile" with Love Letters Cabaret. This was done by Roumen Kirinov at Toronto Ink.
The tribal piece on my right thigh was created and done by Petra Hlavackova in Berlin at Toe Loop Tattoo. I just love her work, happen to be in Berlin at the same time, was very happy to be able to get some ink done by her. Such a beautiful spirit. And her name is Petra which is also the name of my alter ego, it was very serendipitous.
What was the time and budget allocated for each piece?
The smaller pieces were around $100-150, The rest was from $200-500
Is there something you wish you had known before getting tattooed?
Not really, I waited till I was really ready and knew exactly what I wanted. I did lots of research on artist and shops making sure I had the right person for each piece.
Any reactions from your immediate circle?
My friends love my ink and aren’t surprised with how I now use ink as another way to express myself. Both my parents said once I'm 18 it's your own body you can do whatever you please with it. They don't disapprove or are unhappy they just come from a time where tattoos were sorta taboo, they don't get it. I know my dad secretly loves the one behind my ear.