For those of us who live in the United States, we know Sarah Lo as one of the many rising tattoo stars coming out of Miami. But back in her native Brazil, she is not only known as a tattoo artist, but also as a successful rapper under the name MC Katrina. Think of her as a tattooed Hannah Montana. We sat down with Sarah to find out how she got into the industry, how she found her signature style and more.
When did you realize you were an artist? I’ve loved drawing since I was a kid and at 7 I watched my first TV show about tattoos. After that, I wanted to be a tattoo artist.
How was your first tattoo experience and how did it go? The first time I tattooed, I didn’t know what to do. I was at a party when I was 15 and a guy said to me, “Guys, I have a tattoo machine, who wants a tattoo? I saw right away that it was my chance and I said, “I can draw, let me do the tattoo.” At first he didn’t trust me with the machine but I drew the design by hand and he loved it. The tattoo was a skull with angry square eyes. He let me tattoo him and I didn’t know where to start or what to do. It’s always recommended to start the tattoo from the bottom so the stencil doesn’t fade, but I started from the top and the stencil started to fade. However, he was also very drunk and started throwing up mid-session. It was a shitshow and I didn’t finish the tattoo – it just had the top line of the head and two twisted squares. I wonder what happened to that tattoo, if he still has it or if he hid it.
How did you learn to tattoo from there? I never had the opportunity to be an apprentice. All the stores in Brazil rejected me, so I had to learn on my own. My family didn’t support me either, so I would run off to my friends to tattoo them. At the time, I didn’t have a lot of money so I sold bottles of water on the street to buy my first tattoo machine. I started giving away tattoos in exchange for supplies, so each person helped me build my first tattoo setup. It was not the best and the machine was of very poor quality. This experience taught me that no matter the situation around you or what people say, you should always follow your dreams.
How did your career change when you moved to the United States? When I moved here, I didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak English. My style was also blackwork and lettering. When I moved to Miami these styles weren’t too popular so I started learning how to do small tattoos and microrealism. I have also tattooed celebrities like Trippie Redd, Ski Mask the Slump God, Ronny J and Mario Judah which has helped my work get noticed.
What’s one of your craziest tattoo stories? One day when I was at the store at 11 p.m. and had finished tattooing, Trippie Redd walked through the door and I didn’t know who he was at first. He looked at my face and asked, “Are you a tattoo artist?” I said, “Yes, I am,” and he wanted to get three faces tattooed at that time. I ended up tattooing him until 5am and even though I was very tired it was an amazing experience for me.
Tell us about the meaning of your butterfly tattoos. I have always loved butterflies because I think they symbolize the challenges we face in life and new beginnings. Before a butterfly has beautiful wings and flies, it’s just a caterpillar. Sometimes we have to go through difficulties in life to become what we want to become.
What are some of your favorite things to tattoo on faces? I love doing face tattoos so much that I’m willing to do them when and on whoever wants to at the time. The script is one of my favorites because it looks so good on everyone.
Where do you hope to be in five years? I hope to have my own house and bring my family from Brazil to live here with me. My projects will also be more music-focused, as I’m also an artist in Brazil and I’m also striving to be big in the US music industry. I started making music and tattooing at the same time. Now I live a double life, like Hannah Montana.