Ann Arbor’s “Roll Flower” tattoos by artist Carrie Metz-Caporusso celebrate the beauty of fat bodies
Stateside’s conversation with Carrie Metz-Caporusso
There is currently a new generation of tattoo artists at work who are advocating a broader approach to the industry. For a long time, much of the tattoo world was dominated by men, mostly whites, who were a little rough around the edges and focused on tattooing in the traditional American style. But today’s artists are changing the industry, looking at body and design in new ways.
Carrie Metz-Caporusso is one of those tattoo artists. Metz-Caporusso is a non-binary tattoo artist based in Ann Arbor. Their latest project is about celebrating fat bodies, as they do with a design that Metz-Caporusso calls “rolling flowers”. The delicate flower pieces incorporate the fold of the body rolls into the tattoo design.
“I literally sat down and looked at fat bodies, including my own, and thought, what can I do to make these buns stand out? And it took days. I’ve tried several different designs, ”said Metz-Caporusso. “And then a lightbulb just went out and I thought, oh yeah, the crease in the body would make a perfect stem and, like you said, that could only be achieved with a fat body.”
Metz-Caporusso says it is common for their customers to base their tattoo decisions on their weight. Many people feel discouraged from tattooing if they believe that part of their body is not thin enough for the artwork. They say that is how they felt for a long time.
“And when I decided to just get tattooed and consider myself an art, I felt a lot better about my body. I think that tattooing gives you some possession and you start to look at yourself differently. So I wanted to tell everyone who thought they should wait to be tattooed, ”said Metz-Caporusso.
Scroll flowers are just the beginning of Metz-Caporusso’s exploration of how to celebrate fat bodies while tattooing. They say they are also interested in landscape tattoos that feature the unique topography of fat bodies. While acceptance for a more diverse group of artists in the tattoo community grows, there are still pretty big barriers to entry, according to Metz-Caporusso.
“The main way you learn to tattoo is through an education. Whether it’s malicious or not, I think people naturally choose people who are more like them. I think that’s what kept men from choosing other white men and taking in white men, ”they explained.
But that has changed. Metz-Caporusso says a wave of non-white and weird tattoo artists has entered the scene in recent years. That has led people to think about how to tattoo larger numbers of bodies as well, whether they are darker skin tones or larger bodies. It’s a trend that she wants to continue.
To that end, Metz-Caporusso says they’d love to see other people adapt the concept of roll flowers for themselves.
“I want everyone to know that you don’t have to come to me to get a bun flower. You can use my images as inspiration and ask your local artists if they can do something similar. Don’t steal my work. But yeah, I just want everyone to know that this is available to them. You don’t have to ask for my permission. It’s only for everyone. Whoever wants that can have it. “
You can find Metz-Caporusso’s work on her Instagram page or website.
This post was written by Stateside Production Assistant Catherine Nouhan.