Deeper than the surface with Grace Neutral
She explains her image as “a visual diary for people to see.”Of course, it didn’t start off that way. Grace hid her first tattoo from her parents —a heart on her thigh at age 16. “At the beginning, I was quite young and I was doing extreme things to my body,” she said. “And my parents were a bit worried at first because they wanted to make sure I was safe and wasn’t going to do anything I’d regret later on down the line. But when I first started tattooing in the industry when I was around 20, they saw how much I loved it. I was supporting myself at 16, but once I started making good money and was supporting myself with a stable lifestyle through tattoos and body modification, they became really open minded. They knew nothing about it before, but the more they learned they realized it wasn’t this scary thing.”
Grace is a living example of how fear works —you’re afraid of what you don’t know until you become accustomed to it. She taught her parents how to overcome fear and, through Needles & Pins, she's teaching the world the same. Though society is becoming more accepting of tattoos, and people are embracing uniqueness in general, Grace still deals with stares and being misunderstood. It’s no wonder why she explores the world exposing the light, love, and variety people offer. For example, the Maori people of New Zealand have impacted and inspired Grace, adding to her personal growth. “The facial markings that they wear and have worn through their history and the meanings that they have are so beautiful, and the whole culture is so family oriented,” she told me. “It’s a lot of love and very connected. I loved it there, and I will treasure it forever. They were so sweet and humble, so welcoming. It was really beautiful.”
Grace is somewhat of an extraordinary, hand-poke tattooing, ever-changing guru. She is the bridge linking the extremely rare and the common threads between people. Her loving heart and knowledge of self awards those stuck in fear with valuable lessons. She has the gift of soaking up goodness presented to her by the universe and using it to make the world a better place.
There’s definitely more to Grace Neutral, than meets the eye. She wants to be known as “an amazing tattooist and someone who’s made some kind of impact on the world.”Her main goal is to heal people with her art. Just by speaking to her, she was healing me.
She has covered up some of her own tattoos, not because she regrets any of them, because she’s constantly evolving. For most, change is hard —impossible at times. But for Grace, change is her power, change is how she’s able to heal. Her body modifications are deeper than the surface.
Grace is a student and a teacher; an energy forever growing, becoming brighter, and passing along love. “I’m not perfect, I’m human, I have insecurities. I’m still learning from experiences I’ve been through as a person,” she said. “But you just have to stay true to yourself and [not] worry about what anyone else thinks. Be happy with yourself and do whatever you’ve got to do. The world is stressful, it’s a hard place, it makes you feel insecure.”
We had only been acquainted for 21 minutes, but I was proud of the strides she was making—strides as a woman, as a unique individual. As a human of the world. As a person who was making their dreams a reality. And on top of it all, she’s happy. “I’m very happy right now, I feel very blessed and content. Hard work pays off, and I’ve worked my ass off for so long. Getting recognition for my artwork drives me and I’m very happy with the opportunities I’ve been given. I’m in love with the world.”
It is clear to me how she embodies both Grace and Neutrality. Even her soft English accent added to her attractive, radiant presence, and her worldly views allow her to see humanity with a fair eye. She’d won me over, plain and simple.
Happy Birthday Grace Neutral. Thanks for shining your brilliance on the world.
Follow Grace's journey on Instagram, here, and check out a Needles & Pins preview below.