What It's Really Like To Be A Tattoo Artist

It's not every day you see a woman hammering skulls and snakes and daggers into people's flesh, to a heavy metal soundtrack. "I was definitely a novelty," Jess Fitzgerald says, when at age 18, she began her career as a tattoo artist, working as an apprentice, inking Harley Davidson eagles at a biker parlor in Connecticut.

Now, six years later, Fitzgerald is even more of a novelty, as the 24-year-old owner of a tattoo shop in Valdez, N.M. All the artists at her Talisman Tattoo and Body Piercing shop are female.