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:
my website is www.micahriot.com
The podcast is hosted on Buzzsprout but truly lives in the heart of Micah's website at:
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 https://www.instagram.com/micahriot/
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:
Do you have to be great at drawing to become a successful
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!
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.
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:
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.
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 https://www.instagram.com/chillpolyamory/
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:
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!
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! :)
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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…
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.
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: https://www.surrogatepartner.org
IPSA's website: https://www.surrogatetherapy.org
Hello I am Micah Riot. Welcome to my podcast. Here I explain why I decided to start this podcast.
This week I got an email from a woman who found me on P.ink . 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.