On the Body

Profiling tattoo artist Kayla Grant

By: Sarah Jackson

Artist and Danforth resident Kayla Grant, 24, does not limit herself to a singular artistic pursuit.

When asked what mediums she works with, she shows her enthusiasm for all forms of art by responding frankly, “Pretty much anything I can…I like to do it all.” Grant’s interests tend to vary over time; she explains, “I have had periods where I’ve been really into embroidery and making things with clay.” Grant has always been creating art in one form or another. An early memory of her artistic pursuits date all the way back to when Grant was in grade two. “I painted a picture of one of my stuffed animals and I recall stepping back and being really proud of how real it looked. I might not agree so much now if I was to see it again but I remember that feeling of being into and critical of my art,” she recalls. Grant attributes some of her artistic talent and growth to how she was raised; her mother “was an artistic person”, and Grant always had a craft room to experiment and create in.

While Grant works in many mediums, she has focused on tattooing for the last five years. While some artists who are adept painters and illustrators may think that their skills will effortlessly translate to tattooing, Grant points out that it isn’t that simple, and that “there is a huge difference” between painting and illustrating when compared with tattooing. “I’ve seen a lot of amazing artists attempt to jump into tattooing and be surprised how hard it is. Tattooing is a completely separate medium in itself. There are certain techniques that you can draw off of from other forms of art but it really is a technique of its own.”

Grant doesn’t limit herself or her clients in terms of tattoo designs. A look through her work demonstrates her range; she possesses the ability and talent to produce a photorealistic portrait tattoo while also having the skill to create otherworldly and surreal landscape pieces. The variety in her designs likely stems from the fact that she finds her inspiration in many different artists and in many different forms. Grant notes that currently, she “can’t get enough of” Moebius (Jean Giraud), a French cartoonist, artist, and writer. She is also “drawing a lot of inspiration from antique furniture.” She adds, “The ornate carvings and shapes from that era are really seeping into my work.”

Grant’s ability to be flexible in her designs ensures that the client’s vision is realized. In most cases, she does custom tattoos and a client will come to her with an idea and she will conceive a design for the tattoo, however, there is the odd time where a client will come to her with a specific image that they want tattooed. Grant delivers what the client wants, but she is also honest and will guide the client with her expertise when deciding on a design. She explains, “Luckily, I have great clients who bring me amazing ideas for the most part. Here and there I get something that isn’t really my thing and that is the time to leave taste out of it. As long as I feel confident in realizing the tattoo then I will do it. There are also times when I am brought an idea that just won’t work as a tattoo. In those instances I try to compromise with the client to find a middle ground or steer them in another direction.” While Grant is flexible in design, she adds that “as you advance in your craft, you develop a style and eventually have people coming to you for what you have to offer,” which is usually the case for her. “I am beginning to find my own style with my work but that is a life long quest for any artist.”

To contact Kayla Grant, or to view more of her work, visit her website:

Kayla Grant’s advice on deciding on a tattoo:

“Pin the image up somewhere that you will see it multiple times throughout the day and if you still like it in a month or two then go for it. It’s important to just give these decisions time. Especially if it is your first tattoo, it is not something to do on a whim.”

“I recommend that every person wanting to get tattooed takes the time to find an artist who aesthetically vibes with their taste. If you really like what they do with their art then it will be hard to be disappointed when they design something for you.”



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