A female tattoo artist makes her mark, beating the boys at their own game

Emily Fong completes a custom-designed piece for a client

By Hannah Wiley
Medill Reports

Emily Fong started tattooing professionally when she was 19 years old. Now, at 21, she’s overcome gender stereotypes and doubts about her youth to become an accomplished artist.

Fong’s career started when she decided that her childhood love for drawing was something she wanted to pursue as a career, specifically in the tattoo industry.

“My mom wasn’t interested in me going into this industry at all, and so I kind of held back on it,” Fong said. “I started looking at colleges and going in that direction. But when it started getting close to that time for me to make that jump into college, I just didn’t want to do it.”

After tattooing professionally for two years, Fong has built a strong clientele in both her home city of Portland and Chicago.

Working at Metamorph Tattoo Studios in Wicker Park, Fong accepts clients on a walk-in and appointment basis. Her style ranges from geometrical lines to mosaic flower work.

PHOTO AT TOP: Emily Fong works on a custom-designed piece for a client (Hannah Wiley/Medill)