Fine Arts Painter, Book Illustrator, Silversmith, Collage Artist, Tattoo Artist
Traci's Facebook page is : Mom’s Custom Tattoo - NORTH ANNEX
Artists paint on paper, canvas, pottery, glass, wood, walls, and a variety of other interesting objects. Traci Manley paints on people. She is Chewelah’s tattoo guru. Yet, after spending a full work week at Mom’s North Annex on East Main Avenue, Traci still finds time to paint with acrylics, illustrate books, create collages, and make custom jewelry in her free time.
“I’ve been painting since I was a little kid,” Traci said. “I was doing watercolor when I was ten years old. I started tattooing 17 years ago. Tattooing is what I do for work. Painting is what I do to relax. Now, I paint with acrylics because they are more forgiving. It is something I do for myself. However, I have been so busy lately that I have a painting that I started in November that is still only 40 percent done. It is a painting of a doll that I found at a thrift shop. I also have unfinished jewelry that I need to get back to when I have time. I often have four or five different projects that I am working on, but lately I’ve not had a lot of spare time.
“I like to paint still life of things I have taken photos of rather than of people. I paint on all sizes of canvases, but I like big ones the best. I take pictures with my phone of things that attract my attention and then I paint them.”
Traci displayed 21 of her paintings at an art show in the Trails End Gallery entitled “Eye Spy” in 2019. She also won the gallery’s Winterfest award that same year with a collage painting named “Night Train”. Trails End Gallery owners Nondis and Tim Nielsen liked the creation so much that they purchased it.
Traci also painted the mural on the south side of the Chewelah Insurance Agency building.
In 2018, Traci was asked by Melanie Huff to illustrate one of her books, entitled “A Phantasmagoria”. More recently, she illustrated the second book in the series titled “Lifelines”.
“Melanie is really fun to work with,” Traci said. “She sends me her writing. I sit on it for a while, letting it marinate, before drawing my interpretation of her words. Then, I send the drawing back to her.”
Traci has been designing and inking tattoos for the past 17 years. She has operated Mom’s North Annex for over five years. Currently, she works with two clients per day and completes eight designs during a normal week. Now, with the COVID pandemic regulations being relaxed, Traci has a full calendar of clients.
“Some tattoos can be completed in one visit, while others have to be done is several sessions,” Traci explained.
“I do custom work, so I have to do a lot of research and drawing in order to create the exact design my client wants. There is usually a lot of communicating with the client before the actual work is done to make sure it is precisely the intended design, because they are so meaningful to them. Most come back for another tattoo. Some want theirs to be seen. Others want them hidden.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a two and a half month stretch of time where Traci had no work. So, she decided to try something new, silversmithing.
“I was going to take a jewelry making class, but it was cancelled,” Traci said, “so, I started teaching myself. I made a ring, and then I learned how to set stones in rings and pendants.”
She now works with both silver and copper. She sells her jewelry online and at the tattoo shop. Access Traci’s Instagram page and the Mom’sCustom Tattoo - NORTH ANNEX Facebook site to view her creations.