Alum Jess Koala: Internet Has Transformed Tattoo Art

Monday, January 06, 2020

THE BOLD ITALIC (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Another local tattoo artist I talk to, Jess Koala, says that more than anything else, tattoos in the Bay today are about identity — both for the artists and their clientele. She, too, has an art degree, in studio art from SF State. Working out of Castro Tattoo, Koala is known for her vibrant, colorful style featuring pops of neon and seemingly simple, naive lines.

“The internet has really changed the game,” Koala says, “as far as presenting yourself to the world and finding a following in tattooing or the arts.”

You can stand out by funding a niche; Koala is a member of the Queer Tattoo Alliance, which throws events in the Bay Area. Her clientele tend to gravitate toward the unique. “Zines and the Riot Grrrl movement really got my interests in art flowing as a teen,” she adds. “Because of my politics and being open as queer, I tend to get a lot of radical-minded and queer clients.”