Ink Medicine Podcast

Ep. 42: Why I No Longer Accept Tip$

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to reconsider something in the industry I always took as a given. A new friend was telling me about her fabulous tattoo artist, someone I'd like to see as well and mentioned that the artist does not take tips. I was surprised, then thoughtful, then in action. 

 Effective immediately I no longer accept tips for my work. 

I think it's important to process such a drastic decision out loud on the podcast with y'all, while at the same time encouraging you to tip your artist if they haven't, like me, decided to no longer accept tips. 

Listen in to understand how I am navigating this shift in the daily dealings of my work, and to heed my advice to those looking to show appreciation for their artists in creative and meaningful ways. 

You can connect with me, Micah Riot, as well as see my tattoo art on Instagram at

Micah's website is 
The podcast is hosted on Buzzsprout but truly lives in the heart of Micah's website at:

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Ep. 41: Comfort in One's Own Skin: Tristan's Tattoo and Psoriasis Story

Tristan Crane would like to be a heavily tattooed person. They would love to have a collection of tattoos from all of their favorite queer iconic tattooists all around the globe, but besides money and time Tristan is currently limited by a chronic auto immune condition. Psoriasis affects about 125 million people world wide, or about 2 to 3 percent of the population. It can show up in different ways, but often affects one's joints and skin, appearing as big scaly painful itchy patches all over one's body. Because it often shows up on skin that's been injured, getting tattooed becomes tricky for someone affected with this condition. 

How does one live with something so uncomfortable and also so very visible? 
And how do you get tattooed not being sure of what healing would look like or what would happen afterwards? 

Tristan Crane speaks to all of these topics and more. We dive in to everything from the social stigmas of having a skin condition to technicalities of tattooing, to self acceptance and love, to lifestyle choices. 

Living with a chronic illness can be a challenge. But it sure does help when we talk about it openly and honestly. 

You can find Tristan Crane, their gorgeous photography, etc at:

Their Queer Portraits Here project is:

You can connect with me, Micah Riot, as well as see my tattoo art on Instagram at

Micah's website is 
The podcast is hosted on Buzzsprout but truly lives in the heart of Micah's website at:

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Ep. 40: My Updates: The Giveaway, News and Taming The Sugar Beast!

I haven't done one of these in a little while so I thought I would, since my next interview just isn't ready for your ears yet!

On this episode I will: 
1. celebrate my first ever giveaway, share the reviews that won (incidentally) and what those folks wish to have as their prizes. 
2. give you a little preview of what's to come this fall on the Pod. 
3. tell you about my big news briefly.
4. share about some aha moments I had around some of my health struggles and one resource that has been super helpful in changing the way I feel day to day. 

Ok no biggie, just a casual Thursday over here. 

You can connect with me as well as see my tattoo art on Instagram at

my website is 
The podcast is hosted on Buzzsprout but truly lives in the heart of Micah's website at:

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Ep. 39: Does it hurt? And everything else tattoo pain.

Everyone who has visible tattoos has heard "Does it hurt?" from both curious strangers and close friends and family alike. 
In fact we hear that question more than any other. As a tattoo artist I also get "where does it hurt the most?" just as often. 

In this episode of Ink Medicine I attempt to answer that question, as well as offer tips on how to make it hurt less than it could and offer you alternatives for how to think of tattoo pain instead of how most think of it... as pain. A mindset shift can improve the quality of your tattoo experience (and life) greatly. 

You can connect with me as well as see my tattoo art on Instagram at

my website is 
The podcast is hosted on Buzzsprout but truly lives in the heart of Micah's website at:

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Ep. 38: Natasha Tsozik, Our Siberian Tattoo Princess

I met Natasha many years ago when she came to me as a client. The next time I saw her was at Old Crow, under the tutelage of Hannah Wolf (link to Hannah's episode on Ink Medicine below). Very recently Natasha opened her private studio in the heart of the Dogpatch neighborhood, two blocks from the best coffee in town. I met her there on a sunny Sunday morning to talk shop, marvel at how sleek and beautiful her studio is, ask her some rude questions and record it all for your pleasure. 

The sound quality in this one is fun, you can almost imagine yourself sitting in the studio with us, which is located on a big busy street with lots of traffic going by. 

Siberian-born tattoo artist, Natasha Tsozik, is an open book. She talks about tattooing in Russia, and then in the States, culture specific beauty standards, how she met her husband of about a decade, being an English teacher and also an illustrator, the connection between Yiddish and underground prison culture, and spoiler alert, she isn't even Jewish, and much much more. 

This conversation has such a unique flavor, you won't be able to get enough. 


find Natasha Tsozik on instagram at:


on her website at:

and in person at Open Studios in SF, November 18-19, 2023 at:
2344 3rd st

Hannah Wolf's episode:


You can connect with me as well as see my tattoo art on Instagram at

my website is 


The podcast is hosted on Buzzsprout but truly lives in the heart of Micah's website at:

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Ep. 37: My Design Process

I couldn't be more grateful for the surge of reviews that's been pouring in lately, and yes, you have two ish more weeks to get yours in. 

For every ten reviews I will pull one random winner. The more reviews the more winners!

The rewards? One-hour of tattoo time with yours truly or a unique piece of jewelry, co-designed with your input. You could indeed be the lucky winner!


My ramble today is about my design process. Both stencil and freehand. There is probably much more to say, but I said what I could think of. 

Where and how I start, why I would use one process over another, what I pay attention to when I am designing, it's all right here. 

Whether you're an ink enthusiast or just curious, tune in for a lively narration of my creative process and behind-the-scenes insights.


For my jewelry making instagram page, have a look here:


You can connect with me as well as see my tattoo art on Instagram at

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Ep. 36: Kinky Barbie

Meet Kinky Barbie, the queer, kinky, polyam, switch, witchy bundle of snakes in a thong, who embodies her life on her own terms. 

Barbie lays out her journey with body modification and her perspective on it as a form of self-care. You'll hear some of the sparkliest stories from our ten plus year long friendship. Polyamory, growing up in the South, secret inner chambers, favorite sex toys, a recipe for peanut butter keto cookies, exotic dancing... it all makes an appearance and honestly we've just scratched the surface. 


Come hear a little bit of the story of... Kinky Freaky Amazing Barbie! 


The cookies Barbie discussed can be found here:


An article on Fakir Musafar (mentioned in the episode), his legacy and his work can be found here:

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Ep. 35: Do you have to be a good artist to become a tattoo artist?

Do you have to be great at drawing to become a successful tattoo artist? 
Spoiler alert: No, you don't!

Let's unravel this commonly asked question, as I, Micah Riot, share my personal journey art journey from being a kid taking casual painting classes to becoming a professional tattoo artist with no formal art school education. 

1. Art skills can be learned. 
2. "Good" art is subjective
3. There is a lot more involved to creating a successful tattoo besides the drawing. 

Honestly, I've learned that success in the tattoo industry is more about your will to learn, your ability to connect with your clients and your desire to hone your intuition in the right ways. 

Have a listen! 

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Ep. 34: Judy Jaramillo Argumedo, The Tattooed School Principal (& my client of 14 years).

Judy Jaramillo Argumedo first came to me in 2009, when I was just out of my apprenticeship and starting out my career. Fourteen years later I am tattooing this powerhouse of a woman regularly. 

During these years she has become the principal of a school, after decades of being a teacher. Out in the world she is known for visiting the homes of her students and making herself accessible to them and their families,  and in my studio I know her for being a person who shares honestly and deeply, somebody I can relax with while working on, someone I laugh with and someone I can offer my full creativity to, because we trust each other. 

Judy talks about her indigenous and Latinx roots, and what it has been like to be a tattooed woman of color building a career in education. 

I am stoked to be a safe space for Judy. 
Thank you for finding me all those years ago, friend. 


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Ep. 33: Spilling the Ink: Top Ten Tattoo Artist Pet Peeves!

Count down with me as I, your host, Micah Riot, spill the ink on some of the biggest Tattoo Artist Pet Peeves. Well... for me, anyway. I can't speak for all of us. 

Number ten is that one time somebody asked me to make change for the cash they brought to pay with. Sorry, I don't keep a stocked register. I can see why you thought I might, but I don't. The vast majority of time I've been paid with CCs in my fifteen year career.

Number five is when clients insist on watching me draw over my shoulder. There is just something... about it. Like being under a microscope ... 

And number one is... 

Well, you'll have to listen to find out what that is. 

I don't want to ruin your appetite. 

Each pet peeve includes an antidote. And above all, please don't take any of these personally! I promise you, they are not about you! I've been at it for long enough that my common experiences aren't attached to specific faces. 

Subscribe, rate and review, and most importantly... don't take it personally. And tell a friend. This is a pretty cool podcast... if you ask me. 

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Ep. 32: Carina's Journey Into and Out of The Tattooing Life

Carina and I started working on a larger project last week. 
Almost right as we started working together, she told me she used to tattoo. 

I had so many questions but held them all so we could have that conversation on the record. 

I love tattooing so much and am always curious about people's journeys in (and out) of this life. If you are also curious about why someone might start to tattoo and then stop, you will have to listen. It's a straight forward, concise, smooth, lovely episode. This interview was one of the easiest to conduct. 


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Ep. 31: Monogamy and Tattoo Artists: are we compatible?

Listen in as I share some personal updates regarding decisions I've made. I'll also be taking you through a heartfelt review from one of our listeners that deeply moved me and further affirmed why I am so proud of this podcasting journey I've been undertaking for the past eight months. 

The second half of the episode takes us on an exploration of the big question, can tattoo artists be monogamous given the amount of intimacy we encounter on a daily basis at work? I will give my take and offer two sound bytes from two tattoo artist friends of mine pondering the same questions.

I've always wanted to moonlight as Dan Savage, so thank you, listener for providing me with an opportunity to do my own advice column podcast segment. More please!

Third, I do believe this is a question that would benefit from even further expansion and more discussion of intimacy in tattoo shops in tattoo artist/ client relationships and some storytelling time. Yes, there will be storytelling. 


Anonymous advice column questions or comments can be asked/told here:

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Ep. 30: Part II: Grief & Trauma Informed Tattooing with Sarah Sun

Part Two is live! 

This is the second half of my deep AF conversation with my new tattoo bestie (don't worry, Wolf, you are still my OG tattoo bestie!) Sarah Sun ( ) of Balm Tattooing ( ). 

We tell each other stories of notable tattoo clients and sessions (with privacy in mind, never any names!), talk about the role social media has in our lives and what kinds of self care feel like a necessity vs just a nice option. 

Please rate and review Ink Medicine Podcast on Apple Podcasts as well as Spotify. It really helps get the word out! Thank you so much!

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Ep. 29: Grief & Trauma Informed Tattooing with Sun Medicine Sarah

Some weeks ago I posted about a podcast episode I just released. Sarah commented. I didn’t know who she was so I went to look at her profile and immediately became obsessed with her positionality, her perspective and her art. I wanted to know anything and everything she was willing to share about her life and career. It is rare that I encounter tattoo artists whose ethics I’m impressed with first, before I ever see any of their artwork. 

This episode is part one of two. Come back next week for the conclusion. 
Thank you for listening. 
Please rate and review Ink Medicine Podcast. 
It really really helps!  

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Ep. 28: How to Prepare for Your Tattoo Appointment!

Here is a little reference episode for all you newbs to getting tattooed. I will tell you how to plan the week of your appointment, and what to eat, how to dress, what to bring the day of. If you want this kind of info, I am so very happy to provide. 

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Ep. 27: How I Started My Own Business

I was asked and I shall answer! This episode is about my journey to having my own business, or more accurately, my own shop. Up until very recently most tattoo artists were self employed and renting chairs at shops. California law changed and now most people "renting chairs" are employees of the business. 

For me it was a long and fairly organic process, from apprenticing and working at my first shop, to my second, and then to moving on into my private studio in SF and then finding my current space in San Leandro. Each step of growth was scary, but I was ready for it. Tune in for the details. Thank you for listening! 


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Ep. 26: International Woman of Tattrx and Chillpolyam Mystery, Morgan

I started tattooing in 2008, and I started following Tattrx almost from its' inception just a few years later.  It was the blog that gave me permission to explore alternative styles in tattooing. Morgan is the person who started that blog. After poring over the pages of Tattrx, I started to play with "watercolor" and "abstract" tattoo styles.  

These days Morgan is better known for ChillPolyamory, a beautiful online resource library and peer support space with over one hundred thousand followers on Instagram and over one hundred thirty thousand on TikTok. 

However, we talked more about her career as a tattoo artist manager and marketing coach, her approach to tattooing as a true art form and her relationships in the tattoo artist community. 

This conversation was a bucket list item for me and I was stoked that Morgan was so gracious as to have it with me. 

Find and follow Morgan at

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Ep. 25: What's important to me in my relationships with my clients aka Tattoogate 2023 Inspires

So this thing came out over the past few days on Tattoo TikTok. A story and then another story and another about a scammer tattooer up in Canada, and it got me thinking about how integrity is a scant resource these days. But then all of these other tattoo artists started responding to the original person, creating free art for her, and offering to tattoo her (also for free), and it warmed my heart. And it made me want to talk about how exactly integrity in these relationships may look. 

In this episode of Ink Medicine, I bring you some of the things I find important as I build my relationships with my clientele. Things like ensuring physical, mental and emotional comfort, privacy, and offering transparency about financial commitments as much as possible. 

And you get a short synopsis of the TikTok tattoo drama, because you need the background, of course, you want that tea. 


PS As promised in the show notes, here is the link to the episode about boundaries:



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Ep. 24: Working Class Sparkly Queer Fat Femme Seeking... Snuggles with Lulu.

I met Amithyst Fist when I was about twenty years old, which was about twenty years ago. We couldn't remember if we met at Camp Trans, a protest camp, on the outskirts of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, or at NOLOSE conference in Portland, OR, or maybe it was on the floor of a queer dance club (I was underage at the time). To sum it up, we have the same rebellious queer punk streak running through us and so we recognized a kindred spirit in one another right away. Amithyst made her way onto my table about a year ago, and I am happy to report we are back to being peas in a pod. 

On this episode Amithyst snuggles with Lulu while telling me about her queer and tattoo roots in San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR.  I ask her about her work in as a counselor in mental heath care in jail, and about what its like to be a sparkly queer fat femme in the world not made for people like her. 

Our chat is very casual, very easy and warm, and open. And I think you will absolutely love it. 

I am always stoked to hear what y'all think! hit me up on instagram. Or through my website. Please rate and review me on Apple Podcasts. I really want to reach more ears because this work feels good and important! 

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Ep. 23: Boundaries, Take One

Hear me tell the story/ies about how I got better at boundaries as a tattoo artist with clients. This work gets very personal. Boundaries can get messy.  And what I saw around me "growing up" in my family and then at my first tattoo shop was entirely conflicting in messaging. 

Honestly I am proud of this episode. It's honest. But boundaried. I wanted to spill more tea, but I held back. I've been listening to Normal Gossip the pod, and I was poised to tell on more people. Badly behaved clients. But I didn't. Not yet. I feel good about this episode. 

Maestro encouraged me to speak to boundaries in a future episode and given the week I had, it became the perfect topic to end this week on. 

If you have any questions, or topic suggestions, don't hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram @micahriot. 

And please rate and review my little bundle of joy (this pod) on Apple podcasts! Five stars please! :)

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Ep. 22: Maestro's Hour of Greatness (Dr. Shanté Cofield)

I've known The Movement Maestro for a couple of years in the online space. They are a super engaging Instagram marketing specialist, an athlete, and a real, genuine, whole ass human. They have the most adorable cat named Rupert, The Meowstro, and they eat the same breakfast every morning. Spoiler alert, it involves cinnamon raisin bread.  They are an East coaster originally, (but perfect for that LA life). And they  have a million plus downloads of their (clearly wildly successful!) podcast "Maestro on the Mic". Even if you don't have an online business, you should listen to it anyway. Life lessons abound. 

Maestro and their podcast is actually the reason Ink Medicine Podcast exists. They said "do the thing." And I did. I consider them a mentor, hope to keep building our connection to a solid friendship and am endlessly thankful for all the ways I have grown as a person and business owner because of their teachings. 

And we didn't talk shop much at all, things got personal quick. You'll even find out some things about me you didn't know. 

Song included in the middle of the episode: The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A. (Donna Fargo).

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Ep. 21: Why Are Tattoos So Expensive?

Listen to me explain why tattoos are costly. 

I absolutely did forget to talk about the fact that every time we tattoo someone, we make them bleed, could potentially poke ourselves with their same needle or get their blood in our eyeballs and so we risk being blood bound to them for life. 

I use myself as an example for why tattoos are expensive giving you a breakdown of what it costs to run a shop and what it costs to rent a chair in a shop, as well as why I, and many other tattooists can't work more hours for lower rate even if we have the clientele available to us. 

I also tell you about a project I've been wanting to bring to life for years but it's still on the backburner. 

I'll have to do a part II sometime. 

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Ep. 20: Jamal Taylor is the Buttery Voice of My Generation

I became aware of Jamal and his work on instagram last summer when he approached me to get tattooed. Our plans didn't work out then but I started paying attention to his online presence. Lemmeeducateyou does precisely that. He says the Thing when it needs to be said. He says it as loud as he can. I think of him as a political influencer of sorts. He is raw and  he is kind, he is bold and he is loving. His posts popping up on my feed is a blessing. I feel lucky to know about him and learn from him and even luckier to know him personally. 

Listen to this week's episode because you want to know him too. Trust. 

follow Jamal Taylor on instagram  @lemmeeducateyou 

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Ep. 19: Short April Ramble/Update

How's your start of April going? Mine is chill.

Have a lovely April and please listen to my next couple of interviews, they are with incredibly powerful people. 

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Ep. 18: Leila

If anything, I know how to pick my guests. As a bonus, this fascinating human has a buttery silky radio voice. 

Leila McCabe Williams talks about growing up Muslim with an Irish father and a Jewish mother, being heavily tattooed as a young woman, building Beloved Communities as an activist, and what it's like to straddle the line between cultural worlds for the entirety of her life. 

Tune in, do some dishes, fold some laundry, we will keep you company. 


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Ep. 17: A Day In The Life of ... Me! A Tattoo Artist!

An fun silly quickie to tell and show you what a day in my life is like. For some the mundane details are boring, and feel free to skip, for others -- they are fascinating. I, personally live for that sh*** . 

Highlights include my morning and night drink of choice, the amount of time I've been doing crossfit, my dog's primary communication mode, and my excitement about the abundance of queer spaces in Oakland, where I live. 


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Ep.16: Tattoo History is Queer History

It's hard to describe this one, y'all. I've known this person as long as I have been tattooing (fifteen years), and I've admired them this entire time. They walked so I could prance a bit. 

This may have been the most raw episode yet. Wolf and I cover so many topics. We talk shop in so many ways. We talk about apprenticing, evolution of the craft, what it takes to become and stay a tattoo artist, trauma informed tattooing, sharing of information, client expectations, changes in our specific corner of tattoo culture, money, and so much more. 

The quality of this one is "road recorded" but it is still very palatable and the conversation is riveting. I loved making this episode and I loved editing it. 

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Ep. 15: Ireland Ahoy! My Big Gay Irish Adventure.

Last week I, Micah Riot, met some close friends in Ireland, and we adventured in Dublin and along the West coast in a big gay van, stayed in a short castle, saw the brightest green fields and the moodiest grey skies and a lot of shaggy cows. 

We ate fish and chips, we drank (mostly Spanish) wine, and some of us even tattooed each other. 

Tune in to get the deets on my big gay trip to Ireland. 


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Ep. 14: Ink Medicine on Vacation!

I am hanging out in Ireland this week taking in all the green and visiting an old friend with some other friends. Getting tattooed, too. I will tell you all about it when I am back at the end of this month.

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Ep. 13: The Meanderings of Two Weird Minds, a Conversation with Erin Rodgers

Erin Rogers is autistic and she is a story telling coach. We met on a reddit board. Follow along as we meander down a lot of conversational paths stumbling on some real gems and moments of connection along the way. 

We talk about the way different ways our minds work, she tells me her tattoo stories, we touch upon the systemic humiliation built into our education systems, mention a couple of movies along the way, and have a few laughs too. 

You can find Erin at
on instagram @erin_rodgers_storypro
She is available for one on one coaching or corporate team storytelling work. 


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Ep. 12: How to find the right tattoo artist for you.

So you decided to get tattooed. 

This is a ramble from me, Micah Riot, a person who has been getting tattooed for twenty years and tattooing others for 14 about what to think about and ask yourself when you are wanting to take that next step of finding a tattoo artist. 

If you have questions, desires, requests, notes, find me on instagram or over e-mail and let me know. 


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Ep. 11: What do being polyamorous, tattooed and queer have in common?

Luoi. They have Luoi in common. 
Meet Luoi. She might be the owner of the most buttery toasty voice I've ever recorded.

Luoi talks about her polyamory, how she met her wife, being on the road more than being at home, being a butch of all trades, studying piercing and getting tattooed as a youngin, making coffee, and all the while we giggle like tired schoolchildren and Lulu gently snores. 

You will not want this episode to end. It's very soothing. 

If you have house organizing needs in the Bay Area and want a bunch of hot queers to tell you what to do with your crap, Luoi can be reached at . 


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Ep. 10: A Ramble About the Latest Excitements And One Bummer

A short(ish) ramble about the things I'm excited about in the next few months, including a big for me purchase I made last week. 

Also a couple of little bummers. 

Announcement: please rate and review the podcast! Help me get the word out! Everyone who reviews it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts (an entry per review) will be entered into a giveaway. I will be giving away tattoo time and another sweet useful handmade by me surprise. Enter from now until my birthday, March 22nd.  I will pull a name or two out of a hat then. 

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Ep. 9: Alle-boo, Your Friendly Neighborhood Fairy

The thing about Alle is that she is an absolute ray of sunshine in my life. Alle, as she says, has resting friendly face and is genuinely one of the sweetest humans I've ever met. I consider Alle my Fairy Goddesschild, it is a chosen family commitment, one I consider an honor. 

In this episode we recount some of the cornerstone stories of Alle's young life. From singing opera all over the world throughout her teenage years to being the muse of her first painter partner; we talk about being gay, emotional intelligence, and of course getting tattooed. 

Also I've realized with Alle's help what exactly this podcast project means to me.

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Ep. 8: Mid January Rainy Ramble

I come on to talk about three things: 

One, how my new year's mini getaway to Mendocino went with my Love. Two, I talk about tattooing older skin and a few things that can be unusual about the healing process when tattooing folks over 65, and three, I relay a quick texting conversation I had with my Ukrainian cousin about ... capitalism. I know you can learn a couple of things from this conversation, which I would bet you didn't know before. 

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you so much. 

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Ep. 7: What Happens When You Give Your Digits to a Stranger

This week I am talking to one of my longest term friends, Blue Sirius. We go way back to the very beginning of our queer AF connection, and reminisce about its' many iterations. She tells me a few of her choice memories of us living together, hint: one involves a cow tongue. 

We talk a little bit of shit about growing up queer in LA, I am touched by Blue's detailed descriptions of our tattooing sessions over the years and we shed a tear over Blue's dog soulmate Ella.

I know everyone says this, but you really don't want to miss this episode of Ink Medicine Pod. 

It's f''''n fabulous. 


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Ep. 6: The Better Being Episode, who read 25 in 22

The better being part is ironic. I am going to be just as good or bad depending on whom you ask next year as I was this year. 

This is episode 7 of Ink Medicine podcast, which is a ramble from me about my Christmas weekend, my upcoming New Year's weekend, about clients who have passed away this year and a list of the 25 books I read in 2022 with short commentary on each. 

You are welcome of course to reach out through to offer your own book suggestions for my 2023 reading list, to offer constructive criticism or to tell me how much you enjoy my ramblings ;) . 


The Books Mentioned:

2022 Reading List

1 The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis (queer)

Historical fiction, queer, about tango, life in Argentina in the early 1900. So well written, so sweet, so tender. Did I cry at the end yes yes I did. 

2 You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat (queer)

Though fiction, reads like a memoir, a quick read, engaging story, solid writing, about mother issues, queerness, love addiction, non-whiteness, youth, love. 

3 Milkfed by Melissa Broder (queer)

ahhh. This one was just delicious. I ate it up in 24 hours. I couldn’t put it down. Queer love story. Also about being jewish, belonging, mother issues, self acceptance. Poetic. Luscious. descriptive. The sex scenes are just so hot. Bonus: The love interest of the main character is fat. 

4 Will by Will Smith (non-fiction)

Read this one for the one page of his description of his journeying with Ayahuasca at the end. But enjoyed it overall. Easy writing. Good insight into this celebrity, whom I have always seen as a full human. It was fun to delve into his humanity further. 

5 Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaoud (non- fiction) 

Heartbreaking memoir of a cancer survivor. Detailed. Very well written. Beautiful. 

6 The Pisces by Melissa Broder

After “milked” I had to read more Melissa Broder. This one was also memorable. And similar themes. A bit less delicious to me, but still a worthy quick read. Thought provoking. Also a fun (literal) beach read. 

7 Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen (non-fiction) (queer)

Great essays. Thoughtful writer. Really enjoyed this one. 

8 The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (queer)

Young adult Black queer love novel about many things, but the best thing is that for the majority of the novel queerness isn’t conflated with trauma. Such sweetness here. Yes I cried at the end. 

9 What We Don’t Talk About when We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon (queer)

A must read for everyone living in our society. If you care to become the best version of yourself you can be, this should be on your list. 

10 Tender is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Ugh. Thinly veiled vegan propaganda. No redeeming characters. Disgusting images I can’t get out of my head. Do yourself a favor, skip this one. 

11 The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (queer)

One of the most beautiful things I read this year and what made me fall in love with Akwaeke Emezi’s work. They are a Wonder to behold. I think this is their most brilliant (thus far) piece of fiction. I loved it. Wept. 

12 Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir by Akwaeke Emezi (audio) (non-fiction) (queer)

However this is my very favorite work by Emezi. It broke my heart into pieces and then put it back together. I felt like it was written for me, when in fact I know that I am not the intended audience for it. Akwaeke writes for themselves and people like them. Namely Black folks. Still. I felt like it was a treasure I found meant just for my eyes. It’s quite the experience to find a piece of writing that speaks to you so loudly. Yes I cried throughout. 

13 Chemical Pink by Katie Arnoldi

This was disgusting. And I could absolutely not put it down. I literally read it while working out. Another 24 hour read. Be warned, it’s kink and trans phobic, body negative, includes child abandonment etc. But. Still I was fascinated. 

14 You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (bi)

Eh. I wasn’t super into this one. It’s a romance novel by the great Akwaeke Emezi, and I could have skipped it. It was pretty. It was nice. I thought it was just ok. 

15 Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

brilliant. Contemporary Japanese novel about a harmless sociopath whom people just won’t let alone. I thought about this one for a while. Also its very short. 

16 The Curious Incident of a Dog in the night time by Mark Haddon (audio)

Good classic. listened to it on a road trip with my step son. We both enjoyed it a lot. Autistic kid as the protagonist and the writer. Investigating the murder of a neighbor’s dog and in the process uncovering… everything. 

17 Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune (queer)

Such sweetness here. Kind of a magical “what happens after you die” queer fairy tale that I was completely charmed by. yes I cried. We need more of these in the world. 

18 A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (queer)

eh. I loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies so hard. It’s probably my favorite novel of the last few years. I had hopes for this read. Instead It left me feeling very meh. It felt contrived, stiff, again not a ton of redeeming characters. I’ll try John Boyne again, at some point. Gay Irish dude. 

19 Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis (queer)

My second foray into Carolina’s work. Another historical queer fiction set in Uruguay during the dictatorship, not so long ago. Beautiful. One of my new favorite authors. 

20 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (non fiction) 

Important work. The story of Henrietta Lacks, her family, and her immortal cells that have progressed medicine and science immeasurably. Another must read. 

21 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I liked this one. The first half is written in the format of letters between a wife and her wrongfully convicted imprisoned husband. The second is the aftermath of his prison sentence. I would love to read more Tayari Jones. I really liked her style. 

22 Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (queer)

Another one of my favorites of the year. It’s just so so so brilliant. And unexpected. I don’t know what I thought it was going to be like, but not this. It’s … hard to explain. But just read it. Especially if you’re queer. You’ll get so much out of it. Thank you, Torrey Peters. What’s next? 

23 The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

A lovely, not particularly challenging, but nice, and a fast easy read, the first in a trilogy (which I will keep reading, yes). Takes place in Jaipur, India. Speaks to caste and class, to femaleness and maleness. Warning: Has a bit of anti transness (anti-hijra ness), just like a sentence. Overall, if you want to journey to India inside a book, this is a good one. The main character is a plant healer, an artist, a feminist woman before there was feminism. Solid beach read. 

24 Ladyparts by Deborah Copaken 

Journalistic memoir about the state of health care and feminism in America from a white middle class perspective to basically show that if Deb can’t Make it, who is a brilliant sensitive well connected, went to college at Harvard and built a great career in journalism, who can? It was engaging, enraging and I felt like I learned a lot. Recommend! 

25 Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield (listened at 1.5 speed)

Dreamy, slow, less horror than mystery and fantasy, gay, poetic. The love descriptions are lovely, but the rest left me a bit bored, wanting more. Ehh… 

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Ep. 5: Throw Me To The Wolves (specifically Hannah Wolf)

Hannah Wolf is an utterly interesting human. She started tattooing as a teenager, is on her second ownership of a pirate ship, excuse me, a tattoo shop, has written and published an impressive tome of tattoo science wisdom, and is a motorcycle mechanic  and avid skier in her spare time. 

We fit a lot of topics into an hour long conversation, including what being a woman tattooer in the early 2000s was like, how to be the fanciest of tea lovers, what's hardest about being a tattoo shop owner, why getting tattooed contains inherent danger, but we do it anyway, and what this business is really all about, at least for us. I murmur my agreement with her a lot, and Lulu, my spotted pitbull, snores and makes other cozy sounds throughout the hour. What you cannot see, is Lulu also spends almost the whole hour sprawled across Hannah's lap. 

Hannah's website:
Old Crow's website:

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Ep. 4: HashtagBlessed, December Musings

In this episode on December 15th, 2022, I talk about the anxiety that comes in a slow season, how I was humbled by an e-mail from a client, and tell you about how I spend my mornings and my evenings these days. 

Next episode is an interview with Hannah Wolf, the owner of Old Crow Tattoo. 

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Ep. 3: Mark's Fascinating Sidehustle and Other Delightful Things

In this episode I talk to one of my favorite clients of the past few years about what took him so long to start getting tattooed, his polyamorous marriage, his fascinating side hustle (yes it has something to do with sexuality), and how to have the most fun in a museum. 

Mark's website is:

IPSA's website:

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Ep. 2: Who Is Micah Riot?

Episode 1!

This is the official first episode of Ink Medicine, and I am your host Micah Riot, the tattoo artist behind Ink Medicine aka Micah Riot Tattoo

I tell you a little bit about myself, and then answer three of the most commonly asked questions I get:

How did I start tattooing? 

Do I have an art degree? 

And what do I like tattooing the most? 

Next week I am talking to one of the most interesting humans I’ve had the pleasure of tattooing in the past few years. Why? You’ll find out soon enough. Mark works two jobs and his second job fascinates me to no end. Tune in. 

If you have questions or comments you can email me at 

Thanks for listening! 


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Ep. 1: The Queer Femme That Could (from July 2017)

Back in good old 2017, my best friend Andi Smiles and I sat down to record the first and only full length episode for Deeper Than Skin.

I thought it would be fun to start Ink Medicine with that episode:

In our first episode we chat with Andi Smiles, a phenomenal queer woman entrepreneur, who stands for social justice fully, in all aspects of her life. We talk about running non-profits, working with populations to which you don’t belong, burlesque, queerness, and of course, tattoos!


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Intro: From Deeper Than Skin to Ink Medicine

Hello I am Micah Riot. Welcome to my podcast. Here I explain why I decided to start this podcast. 

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What should I ask my potential tattoo artist? I am a breast cancer survivor and will be having my scars tattooed.

This week I got an email from a woman who found me on . She asked me what she should be looking for in a potential tattoo artist for the purpose of tattooing her mastectomy scars. After I wrote to her, I thought the information may be useful to others. here is what I said:


If i were to look for a potential tattoo artist to tattoo my mastectomy scars I would first look for someone with a light hand, because scar tissue can be particularly and weirdly sensitive. You can tell how light or heavy handed an artist is by looking closely at the linework in their tattoos. Do they have thin feathery lines that are smooth and even or are all of their lines on the thicker heavier side? This is not a fool proof way of telling without a trained eye. Some styles call for thicker linework, but almost no heavy handed tattoo artist can execute thin feathery smooth and even linework. Look for that. Tattoos done with a particularly heavy hand can have areas of "blowout". Blowout occurs when the ink is inserted deeper than is necessary, seeping out into the fatty tissue and causing a bruise-like look underneath the lines. That bruisiness is permanent. (Sometimes blowout occurs because the skin is too thin, such as on the inside of the elbow and the person moved a lot after getting tattooed. Or if the skin is that of an older person and is too thin and unstable because of age. Not all blowout is the fault of the tattoo artist, but most is). 


Most tattoo artists will say they are light handed, so you better believe your eyes over your ears.


The other thing I would look for, is someone who has some experience with tattooing over surgical scars and seems genuine, sympathetic and easy to be around. Tattooing mastectomy scars is an intimate and vulnerable experience. You should be able to relax with this person. Ask if you can have as much privacy as you need (not all shops will be able to provide a private space), and if you have a hunch that this is not quite the right experience for you, don't be shy, walk out, and find someone else. 



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So about that one piece I did... 

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To Tip or Not To Tip

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Tattooing Spiritually

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