After getting fired from her job in the music industry and developing a love for the tiny house movement, tattoo artist Shanzey Afzal was inspired to build a live-work studio based on the concept of fully utilizing a small space. However, due to legal issues, she hit a roadblock. Her solution? Outfitting a 1963 Shasta trailer to become a mobile tattoo shop now known as Ink Minx.
“I got the trailer off of Craigslist,” she explained. “I didn’t know what I was doing; I just knew that I loved the small, eco-friendly aspect of it and not having to pay overhead. Plus, the idea of being able to travel [with my business] was really cool.”
Tiny House Inspiration
The appeal of the small space is having the tattoo experience, which is often very personal, remain private for the all-female customer base that Afzal refers to as “VIP.” She doesn’t “believe it’s cool to bring an entourage to get a tattoo.”
With that, the trailer “was designed for the purpose of giving the experience I want to offer” she said. “It is a small space meant for two people. It’s just an open table and a chair and it’s very simple and calming. It’s definitely a reflective place. It’s also very feminine. I think feminine energy plays into the design a lot.
"The only people who have been in the trailer are women, aside from my contractor. It has been like a ‘no boys allowed’ club. It has never been in contact with masculinity. It’s a safe space to let out emotions.”
Due to demand, Afzal has developed a sister company to serve all genders. It will be a two-day tattoo retreat set to launch in 2019.
The small interior didn’t stop Afzal from carrying out the design themes she envisioned for the Ink Minx trailer. “A lot of it is creating a space for myself personally,” she noted.
“I was sick of tattoo shops that were all the same with brick walls. I wanted to have something that reflected me. The inspiration [for Ink Minx] is kind of Grecian. There is faux marble flooring and faux concrete walls. There is a modern feel at the same time with exposed brass piping and track lighting. It is still a tattoo studio so lighting is important and there are fold-down tables attached to the wall so I can take them out as I need them. There is a whole wall of cabinetry decorated with band stickers.”
The design is “ever-evolving,” Afzal said, with a modern take of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling currently in the works. “It’s so people have something to look at. It will have scenes from the MTV Video Music Awards.”
While the trailer has a sink, Afzal is currently crowdfunding to build a bathroom. “The trailer has space for it but I just haven’t built it yet,” she said. “My location will be changing more often once I build the bathroom.” Ink Minx will be in Miami for Aqua and Art Basel later this year and Afzal hopes to get to the Coachella festival in 2019.
Afzal can be reached at email@example.com or through Instagram at @inkminxtattoo.
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