COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Rose of the West Tattoo in Colorado Springs is home to a lot of love for its owner and manager, Lauren Vaughan.
“I had someone buy me a paint set, just the cheap one’s from Walmart, and I don’t think I’ve stopped doing art since then,” said Vaughan while reflecting on her beginnings as an artist.
Rose of the West recently merged with Vaughan's boyfriend's former shop, Colorado Tattoo Company.
“We first met at King Soopers. I decided it was a good idea to get turkey that day," said Jimi Armault, Vaughn's boyfriend and a tattoo artist at Rose of the West.
Vaughn cites a friend of her mother as one of the first influences in her becoming a tattoo artist.
“She was just a huge personality, super funny, covered in tattoos, stretched ears, and I just remember wanting to be her," said Vaughan.
She said, however, her mother was her first influence.
“I’m super lucky to have the mom that I did. She definitely instilled in me, a sense of how to be who you are with no apologies. So, thanks, mom," said Vaughan.
She said being herself has meant doing things her way. She said when she began tattooing she was told to exploit herself to better her chances of having greater opportunities but rejected that idea.
“It was one of those old-timey mentalities and I don’t really respect those in most cases," said Vaughan.
She said her negative experiences do not define her. Vaughan said, instead, her work is the key detail in her life.
“The most important thing should be the integrity of the craft. Whether you’re a man or a woman, I think [the work] should be the most important thing to you," said Vaughan.
Now she dedicates herself to a kinder side of tattooing.
“There’s no need to be tough or lie about how it hurts. I just want everybody to be able to be themselves," said Vaughan.
She said the most significant piece of Rose of the West is those who work for her.
“The guys that work for me, I think that they deserve a lot of the spotlight. They are, along with my clients, the only reason I have a shop that looks like this, feels like this, that people want to be a part of," said Vaughan.
You can join Lauren and the other Rose of the West artists during their two day shop merger party on April 1 and 2.
It will be at Rose of the West, at 2238 East Pikes Peake Avenue in Colorado Springs.