Get inked with Gayle, a deaf tattoo artist! #DeafAtWork

By the way, thanks to NDC for spearheading the #DeafAtWork campaign, visit their page for more #DeafSuccess!

[VIDEO DESCRIPTION AND TRANSCRIPT: Gayle is seated in front of her tattoo table.

GAYLE: It’s not just the beauty of art or how cool it is. It’s more about how incredible their story is. It’s my job to make sure the artwork design fits whatever they tell me.

Black and white video clip of Gayle close-up drawing on a tablet. In the center, a white border surrounds white text “GAYLE” underneath, appears in white text “TATTOO ARTIST.” Another clip of Gayle drawing on the tablet.

GAYLE: My name is Gayle and I’m a tattoo artist in Miami.

Black and white video clips of Gayle affixing an artwork to a client’s back shoulder blade while wearing black rubber gloves.

GAYLE: I didn’t always want to become a tattoo artist. I grew up working with art in various mediums but tattoos scared me off. The blood freaked me out. And the level of responsibility to make sure there are no mistakes, that’s intense. It was my cousin who convinced me, “Why don’t you become a tattoo artist?” I honestly thought I needed to hear because of the machinery involved. After I enrolled in tattoo school, I learned it’s not about hearing it but feeling it.

Black and white video clip of Gayle with a client lying on the stomach as Gayle works on the back shoulder blade. Another clip of Gayle close-up with the needle machine in her hand.

GAYLE: I knew I needed to study because when it comes to my clients’ skin — is it light or dark? Are they big boned? Are they thin or fat? I needed to know all that. There are different needles and inks for each situation. I needed to know what to do if a person has a specific disease. All of that I learned from tattoo school. Being a tattoo artist isn’t really a career, it’s a freelance gig really. While at school, I paid a friend, who was also taking classes with me, to take notes for me. Tattoo school really forced me to practice approaching people, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand — can you say that again?” That experience helped build my confidence.

Black and white video of Gayle tattooing a client, close-up. Another clip wide-shot as the client is lying on the stomach with Gayle working on the back shoulder blade.

GAYLE: School took me four years. It wasn’t only to study tattooing but also other things. Like how to do a tattoo on the bone. School taught me which needle I can use on whichever bone the artwork will be. And if my client is big-boned, I learned I have to use a different needle. There are a lot of needles with different numbers and shapes. You have to know what kind of machine to run, how many volts to use, the skin color, what needles you need, and what tubes to use.

Black and white video of Gayle close-up tattooing the artwork.

GAYLE: I had to get used to scheduling my clients which required time management. Usually my clients prefer me at night because most of them work during the day. I’m flexible really. If someone cancels, I have to figure out who to swap with — and that isn’t always easy.

White text appears at the bottom center, “As a professional, I have to give my clients top-quality service, that means making sure I have all the needles, inks, and supplies ready for their appointment.” Light blue text “- GAYLE” and a light blue line outlines the left side of the text.

Black and white clip of Gayle’s foot hitting the pedal for the tattoo machine. Another clip of bird-view of Gayle and the client.

GAYLE: If you want to become a tattoo artist, don’t be afraid. Keep aiming for it. You may not be where you expected to be because opportunities may lead you elsewhere. You may be surprised. I’ll admit, nothing is easy — but it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Black and white clip of Gayle close-up tattooing.

GAYLE: Other tattoo artists may do it for the money but I do it to visualize my clients’ story into art.

Black of white clip of Gayle close-up tattooing.

Video cuts to grey background with the NAD logo quickly changing in different bright colors from teal to white to black to hot pink to green to orange to teal to yellow to purple to finally the official NAD logo with copyright text underneath “The National Association of the Deaf (c) 2019 All Rights Reserved”.]

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