Wise Woman Wednesdays: Tea Leigh
With an instantly recognizable style and somewhat anachronistic stick-and-poke technique, Tea Leigh's tattoos have quickly become some of the most sought-after in Brooklyn. Tea's illustrations draw inspiration from the natural (and sometimes supernatural) world, and have an unmistakably delicate, airy sensibility to them. Naturally, she was the first person we thought of for the inaugural issue of Wise Woman Wednesdays. We were so lucky to catch up with Tea for a little q-and-a about her creative life and what makes a wise woman.
HEALER: How were you first drawn to your art?
TEA LEIGH: I really love spending time with people. I also love illustrating, so when I found a way to combine the two it just felt natural. I’ve been interested in drawing and tattoos since I was a kid. I also realized I could help people modify their bodies to represent their inner selves and I find that to be really rewarding as well.
What does it mean to you to live creatively & authentically?
Remaining true to your gut and taking risk after risk to get somewhere you want to be.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Lots of people say my style is “girly”. I couldn't disagree with that more. Plants are often associated with femininity but it doesn't have to mean girly. Flowers are for everyone! I guess I would describe my esthetic as whimsical and loosely scientific.
What’s on your current listening rotation?
Chance the Rapper. I cannot get enough of his latest mix tape right now. I’ve also been listening to Kaytranada’s latest record.
What’s one place you can always return to for inspiration?
The Rocky Mountains. My whole life i’ve been visiting them and every time I go, I feel like I change for the better. That landscape recharges me and reminds me that the world is so much bigger than I am.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I wake up, resist the urge to reach right for my phone, make toast, do the getting ready thing, sit down (or go to the studio) and draw. If it’s a day of tattooing clients, I go to the studio and listen to music that will make me super happy so I can be in an uplifting mood when folks come through. After work I come home and smoke some Mary J with my partner and our cat.
What does the idea of a “wise woman” mean to you? Who represents this for you?
I think any woman who has lived outside her comfort zone is a wise woman, which would make pretty much all of us wise. I don’t think that being wise necessarily has to do with your age, as we’re often taught. To me, that diminishes the experience of a young woman as though she isn't old enough to understand her life. A wise woman is a someone who is okay with being human. Making mistakes, loving too hard, being too selfish, rejecting change. A woman who accepts her flaws and finds beauty in them, who just lives honestly and openly. I think a woman who represents this to me was my Grandmother. She put everything into all that she did. She made a ton of mistakes until the very end but with every breath she was compassionate and honest.
What icon or totem would you choose to represent you and your life?
Definitely a horse.
“I feel best when I am surrounded by…”
Horses. There is nothing more beautiful and natural to me. Obviously i’m obsessed.
What wise woman should we interview next?
Thanks so much to Tea for taking the time to talk with us! You can find more of her and her work here.