Ruth Shanks describes herself as ‘a small town girl with a huge heart’. She got her first tattoo at 19, and it was love at first strike! She hasn’t looked back from there, and is now worried about running out of room on her body for more ink! “I wish I could keep getting tattooed forever” she says.
She got her first tattoo at 19 as a tribute to her teen cousin, who tragically took her own life. The tattoo is a lily with the words ‘you’re beautiful’ underneath it, placed on the side of her stomach. From that point Ruth’s mind began to constantly race with ideas for more tattoos and where to put them. She identifies tattoos as a walking form of art and self expression, where no explanation needs to be required. “My tattoos tell a story of my life and some I just liked, so I got them!” Ruth is a spontaneous type of girl, and if she wants something she will get it.
Ruth sports ink from many different artists on Vancouver Island. She enjoys the diversity in how different artists interpret ideas, and believes that to be important in her extensive body of work. When asked about the artists that have blessed her, she lists: “Andrea Gonske has done my sleeve, my right hand and my back. I love Andrea, she is such a sweet person, very feminine, talented and has a light hand . Teemu Hakala has done my left hand/wrist and right leg from my knee down to foot. Teemu is an incredible artist, I’m looking forward to more work with him. Meag Stouck did the tiger on my stomach. I’m in love with it; she’s a growing artist I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her, her artwork is like nothing I’ve seen before. Nathan Chapman did the top of my right leg, my favourite tattoo “Ruthless” on my sternum and my cross, he is so fun to be tattooed by. I’ve also seen Brittany Lane, she did my left lower leg. Brittany is a sweetheart and very gentle; I’m looking forward to finishing up my piece by her.” It is clear that Ruth loves all her artists and takes a lot from what they have given her.
Ruth’s tattoos have not held her back professionally, as she works as an esthetician and permanent makeup artist. She chose this career path because she has a passion for the beauty industry and appreciates that it allows her to be herself, visible tattoos and all! “I run my own business so I make my own rules! I have both my hands tattooed, and in this industry it’s okay to be heavily tattooed or to have piercings – I love it! It’s a dream of mine to one day own my own beauty bar.”
Having established a career in the beauty industry, and acquired a serious tattoo collection, Ruth looks forward to the next thing on her list, modelling. She is excited at the opportunities a modelling career can bring, especially the travelling part! Ruth loves the beach and dreams of visiting the world’s best and most beautiful as she embarks on this new journey. A career as a well-known and well-travelled tattoo model would be a dream come true for this small town island girl; we’re hoping that West Coast Ink will help her to continue moving in that direction!