There are dozens of tattoo shops, and even more tattooers, all over Fresno. Some have been at it for years, while others are just getting started. Channelle Wiebe falls into the latter group. With about four years of experience putting needle to skin, she’s still relatively new. But you’d never be able to tell by her work. What does give away her newbie status, she says, is all of her own un-inked skin.
A creator and a collector of tattoos — Wiebe says her mom thinks she has “plenty” of tattoos, but the 31-year-old is still working on filling in the blank spaces — Wiebe’s passion for ink actually began with a mistake. Her first tattoo was a Sanskrit symbol that she thought meant freedom, but actually meant nothing. She’s laughs it off now, and says she’s never thought of removing it, because it was a great memory. From there, mistake or no mistake, she was hooked.
Her first experience on the other side of the needle happened many years later while she was apprenticing at Faithful and True Tattoo Studio in downtown (where she still works). The boss, shop owner Everett Verdialez, asked Wiebe to tattoo his wife, which sent her running outside to collect herself. She recovered, did the tattoo, and has been working at the shop ever since, steadily gaining a faithful clientele of her own. You can check out Wiebe’s work on Instagram: @channelle5.
Here, Wiebe talks about tattooing, of course, but also how her art and ArtHop helped her land a spot at Faithful and True, why her family and friends were so important in building her reputation in the beginning, and the way tattoos, like certain smells, can conjure great memories.