When Liz Cook ('09) first started working as a tattoo artist, she had to handle her intense social anxiety -- along with learning procedures such as the preparation and cleaning of the work.
"It's not easy," Cook says of her job. "It is hard. It will make you cry."
But she's developed her talents into a highly successful career. Cook is the co-owner, along with her husband, Cookie, and business partners Dave and Ellen Mushaney, of Lewisville-based tattoo shop Rebel Muse. She recently appeared on the TLC series Tattoo Girls. And she boasts 1 million followers on her Facebook page, which features pictures of her elaborate designs.
Cook majored in studio painting and drawing at UNT and intended to pursue a career as a traditional painter. After graduation, she met her soon-to-be husband and they moved to Australia. She landed an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop, where she learned about the tenacity the job requires.
"Every tattooer is a little bit crazy," she says. "You have to mentally turn off the voice that says, 'I'm creating this on somebody's body and it's permanent.'" With her large social media following and TV appearances, the job is a way to share her art with her customers.
"The coolest part is being able to have a platform to put good stuff in the world," she says. "Like inspiring continued education for tattooers and artists, inspiring art as something that is necessary in a world for free thinkers, showing how working hard can bring you happiness, and putting good energy, knowledge and awareness into the world for causes that need it."