Timeless Tattooing by Serina Malec -aka-Twiggy
“Bold lines, colors and large size to allow readability from across a room and longevity through the transformation a body makes throughout a lifetime. “
Serina Malec - aka- Twiggy, has been immersed in the world of tattooing since a young age and has earned her place in the industry the good old fashioned way. With hard work, talent, and a good rapport with her clients, she has an appreciation for the craft that is admirable. Her dedication is reflected in her work, with large, bold and colorful pop culture pieces that are meant to stand the test of time- the way it should be. The phrase "bold holds" is a great description of her mindset and quality of the tattoos she produces as well as her success in her field. With 11 years under her belt, she owns and operates Metamorphosis Tattoo in Lyons, Colorado and is giving her clients transformative experiences that they will keep forever.
My nickname is Twiggy which was given to me as an apprentice and I have since rocked it as a professional persona, but I am happy to go by either Twiggy or Serina.
Metamorphosis Tattoo Studio and Art Gallery (Lyons)
I have been tattooing for almost 11 years. I began my tattoo journey in 2010 when I began my apprenticeship.
I love tattooing anything in full color, but I most enjoy imagery of powerful/celestial/magical women, which has been a direction I have been pushing my work in and personal art as well. I currently specialize in large scale pop culture content, anything from comic and anime characters to sci-fi and horror content. I am very blessed to have many clients who dedicate large portions of their body to these projects which really makes for a much stronger and long standing tattoo. I focus on making every piece look as though it belongs to their body, fitting their anatomy and ensuring readability from across the room.
My favorite holiday is definitely Halloween. It is the culmination of many of my favorite things: fall colors, Horror, dress-up/cosplay, and of course candy and pumpkin spice!
Cats or Dogs?
I currently have 3 cats Mama, Sashimi, and Maisey. My dog Sampson, a Great Pyrnees who was my familiar and best friend, unfortunately passed away very recently. I really have always been a cat person though, Even my dog was just a giant cat in his personality. I aspire to be a crazy cat lady when I grow old with at least 7 cats.
Best advice you have ever received?
Best advice I have ever received is to not worry and that I know what is best for myself. To listen to myself and not let doubt overwhelm. Your first instinct is usually a good guiding force. This may not be true for everyone or even be advice I would give to someone else, but it has been true for me.
How did you discover tattooing?
Tattooing has always had a place in my life, Art even more so. I have drawn since I could hold a pencil thanks to my mom. I knew from a young age that art, in one form or another, was going to be my career. My dad and step mom both had tattoos, which I thought was so cool. When I had expressed to them my interest in the process in my very early teens they took me to meet their tattooist. I picked his brain, this conversation would start an obsession. I began going into tattoo shops at age 15 with books full of drawings trying to get an apprenticeship, really having no idea what I was really asking for. Finally, after going to nearly every shop within 20 miles of my home I found the studio I needed to work at. It was the cleanest shop in town with a talented crew. I showed up there everyday until they finally told me I could stay. It was a rough and tough old school apprenticeship with a lot of hazing from salty old tattooers. Luckily for aspiring tattooists today this method is starting to phase out, but a one-on-one apprenticeship is still the best way to learn to tattoo.
One of my favorite tattooists, Teresa Sharpe, who I found on Deviant Art (a popular art sharing website of the time, before the days of IG or Twitter) inspired me as a young woman to try to pursue this career even though it was a very male dominated industry at the time. I recently got my whole back tattooed by her which really was a dream come true. I love tattoo history and find it to be such an important thing to be familiar with to truly have an appreciation of the craft. I could go on and on with the list of favorite artists current and past. Kari Barba who still tattoos today is an inspiration as she was one of the first tattooists to push gender equality and the hygiene standards in tattooing in the 80s and is a great tattooist to boot. Artists whom I greatly enjoy but don't necessarily emulate include Alex Grey, Android Jones, HR Giger, Hayao Miyazaki, Greg Simkins, Tony Ciavarro, Joe Capobianco and so many more.
Tell us about your past art experience.
Prior to tattooing I had drawn my entire life, endlessly... I had trouble sleeping so I spent many late hours drawing. By the time I sought an apprenticeship I had many portfolios full of completed digital art, colored pencil pieces, and paintings. I also had a passion for crafts and sewing and had made and sold Cosplay accessories on Etsy and at comic conventions. Unfortunately, I would have to give this up to dedicate more of my time to tattooing. I also went to community college for 2 and a half years taking classes in Art and Business.
How do you describe your style?
I find it a bit difficult to describe my style because I have always strived to be well rounded, being able to work with lots of different content and concepts that my clients bring to me. One thing that always stays true is my love of color. Everything I tattoo is a rainbow of colors. "Bold holds" an old tattoo saying that is a focus in my work. Bold line, colors and large size to allow readability from across a room and longevity through the transformation a body makes throughout a lifetime. The balance of the responsibility as a tattooist to serve your clients and their vision of their tattoo vs treating yourself as an individual creative artist who happens to have skin as a canvas is something that I try to stay on boths sides of. It is important to remember that it is the client who will be living with this forever and it isn't only about myself and my art but also about their life and their experience in it. I feel like this is getting lost in current new tattooists coming into the scene, but there is also much more appreciation for tattooing as art as well. When I am given the opportunity by a client to do what is completely my original art I tend to go in the direction of magical and sci-fi content and have always enjoyed images of strong looking women as the focal point. The most popular and happy meeting point between myself and my clients has always been fanart as I am a total nerd at heart and happy to recreate our favorite characters on skin.
Favorite subject matter to tattoo?
I have always been enchanted by fanart as I love to be drawn into another world other than the one we are in. Anime, cartoons, comics, sci-fi and horror movies have always had the ability to transport me somewhere else. Part of me always wanted to be a comic book or manga artist or even a makeup artist or cartoonist and with tattooing I feel like I have really been able to get a taste of all those things. Variety is the spice of life and I love the variety tattooing brings to me.
Storytime. Tell us about a weird/crazy experience you’ve had tattooing.
What is weird or crazy anymore these days? Maybe it's just a side effect of my profession that nothing seems taboo or out of the ordinary… I guess the best thing I could come up with is that I have on many occasions been given the opportunity to make lewd tattoos for my clients which for most people may be a bit far out. I actually very much enjoy creating tattoos with this kind of content. However, due to the censorship of social media I am seldom able to share the content I create that includes nudity and sexual undertones.
What is your favorite part of being a tattooist?
My favorite part of being a tattooist is being able to be a part of and facilitating a transformative experience for my clients. Many people are getting their tattoos as part of a milestone in their life, a memorial, or as an improvement to their reflection that gives them self confidence. Nothing is more fulfilling than when a client messages me after a session or looks in the mirror and says how much their tattoo has helped them or made them feel better about a situation or themselves.
What else do you do with your time?
I tell everyone that I am married to tattooing, that my tattooists in my studio are my family and that my studio is my baby. It really is everything to me. I have over the last couple years have been trying to find some outside life balance as well though. I love the outdoors and live in Colorado, like many, for that reason. I enjoy gardening, hiking, riding my ATV and mushroom hunting. Traveling is always something I have lived for. I love seeing historic buildings and museums and am a total foodie.