Tell us a little bit about yourself - how would you describe yourself and the work you do?

I am an unapologetic brown girl tattoo artist, I strive to reclaim tattooing in South Asian culture, it’s become a taboo and frowned up due to western perceptions and criminals.


What's the most rewarding thing about tattooing?

The most rewarding thing about tattooing is having people wanting your work on them forever. For me there’s no greater compliment.


Is there a piece/project that you're especially proud of? If so, why?

I can’t pin point anything that I’m especially proud of, I think just being a tattoo artist, having a creative career and making my dreams a reality is definitely something that I’m especially proud of.


How would you describe your tattooing style? Has it evolved over time, or mostly stayed the same?

My tattooing style is traditional yet not traditional. I tattoo traditional Indian imagery solely in black line work which is more of a contemporary style of tattooing. My work has definitely evolved and I hope it continues to evolve as I grow as an artist. My work has bounced from style to style, from geometric patterns, to colourful neo-traditional, to my current work.


Can you go into a little bit of detail about what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry? 

Being a South Asian female in the tattooing industry feels quite lonely and I often feel intimidated by other tattoo artists out of fear of judgment. For a long time I felt a need for acceptance and validation from other artists. 


Do you have any other creative interests that you're currently pursuing? If so, what are they?

I have a few other creative interests, I really want to practice embroidery and get back to painting, I used to paint realistic portraits a few years ago, and I’ve lost touch with it now but I’d love to paint again


Who's another woman in the tattoo industry who you admire? What do you admire most about her?

I have a few artists in the industry that I admire, I recently got tattooed by one idol, her name is Anna Claire and she’s a South African based artist who does beautiful uncensored Kama sutra pieces.



Check Heleena out on Instagram and her website.

And check out her Ten Facts feature here.