How We Got Here...
In the fall of 2006, our third child was born, Caleb had just left his banking job, and I was lost in the space of confusion after being practically pregnant or attached to a baby for four years straight. It was a season for us to really look into how we wanted to live our lives and what we wanted to do with our moments together.
We started talking about all the things that made Caleb truly feel alive.Outside of his faith in our Creator and love for his family, participating in creating a work of art has brought him balance and energy. So we made a choice to spend what we had and got him all the supplies he needed to do the art he longed to do.
In early 2007 we got word that Caleb had been accepted in both the Edmond, OK and Paseo, OK Arts Festivals. We felt so elated and somewhat scared to death. While Caleb was preparing the charcoal portraits for the shows, he worked construction with Dave Wilkerson, his father-in-law here in Oklahoma City. Just a couple weeks before the first show Caleb came close to losing his right thumb while hanging a door frame. We thought we were scared when we got accepted, and now we were scared he wouldn’t be able to finish the artwork needed to fill the booths.
We got creative and took some electrical tape and taped the pieces of charcoal to his index finger on his right hand. We knew as soon as he tried to continue to draw, his talent came from the energies that created his soul because although it was hard, he was still able to continue.
The two shows went very well, although we did not sell out the booths, which meant I had to stop looking at RV’s to travel with the kids from show to show. We did make some life long friends and had a summer that set us down the path we are now on.
In early 2008 Caleb’s mom had back surgery, although the surgery went relatively well, the recovery was rather rough. Marilyn ended up unable to feel or move her legs. As a family, we were just getting the hang of how to take care of her the way she needed when a blood clot shifted and found its way to her brain. April 2nd, 2008 turned our moods to gray, as siblings with spouses and children to raise, they didn’t want this to be their reality. As spouses with grieving loved ones, we didn’t want this to be our real, and as children of the husband who lost his love of thirty-two years, we would have given anything for this not to be his real.
It was tough, and no matter how hard we wished it to be different it was not going to go back to our normal. So, we found ourselves breathing through the moments and continuing to create. In the summer of 2008, Caleb found himself in the depths of grief and preparing for another art festival. Although he was no longer tapping charcoal to his hand, he was holding his broken heart while he gave his soul to the art in front of him.
2008 was a difficult life changing year for our family. In the fall we had a dear friend come home from Nashville where he was working through his apprenticeship for his tattoo license. We had talked about the idea of Caleb changing from charcoal to needles and ink, but we didn’t know how. With it just barely legal to tattoo in the state of Oklahoma and a family of five, we knew we would have to leave the state, but we didn’t know if we could.
We got brave and asked for an interview. A week later Caleb found himself in Nashville with an apprentice license and several tattoos in a portfolio. Three weeks later we left Oklahoma City with our children, our dog, my parents and a trailer. August of 2008 was a whirlwind and still to this day we don’t know how we did it all.
We spent just over two years in Nashville learning about ourselves, learning about the art of tattooing and discovering the joy of creating. Sadly our time in Nashville ended with broken hearts and wounded friendships. However, we had no doubt the time spent there was worth every minute away from home and away from our families because we came back to Oklahoma with the knowledge of who we were and what we wanted to do with the remainder of our moments.
In March of 2011, we signed the lease for our space here on NW 23rd St., just over thirty days later we opened Beauty from Pain Tattoo Studio. As we sat together surrounded by our family and friends, we knew we were home. We want to thank all of our customers for your kindness and for trusting us to help you express ourselves and tell your stories. We look forward to many years of creating and doing life with you all.