The Norman Transcript

April 12, 2013

Skin Vandals Tattoo hosting celebrated ink artist

By Doug Hill
The Norman Transcript


Amy Nicoletto is a star in a rarefied galaxy that many are unaware of. She’s made a name for herself as a professional tattoo artist who now spends much of her time as a celebrity attraction at tours and conventions around the country.

Nicoletto will be tattooing clients and greeting fans here in Norman, April 22-24, at an event sponsored by Skin Vandals Tattoo and Piercings, 1013b N. Flood Ave.

“When I was 5 years old I won first place in an art competition for a poster I made,” Nicoletto said. “Ever since I was old enough to pick up a pencil, pens or crayons I’ve been creating.”

A native of New Jersey, Nicoletto also worked in the resort industry and as a medical assistant before entering a two-year tattoo artist apprenticeship.

She broke out into professional inking in 2005 and moved to Los Angeles three years later to continue practicing. Serendipitously, a casting agent for the TLC cable TV channel approached her about auditioning for their show “LA Ink.” With a combination of sensually mysterious good looks and east coast moxie Nicoletto was a natural fit. “LA Ink” stopped production in 2011 but Nicoletto gained a world-wide following from the show that has supercharged her tattoo artist career.

Because of an interest in the supernatural, propensity for exotic eye makeup and a vampy vibe in general, Nicoletto holds a fascination to many people. Her website photos project the young woman as a sexy, possibly sinister temptress.

“I’m actually starting to get into some of the horror conventions now which are combining with tattoo conventions,” Nicoletto said. “I’ve done Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney portraits recently on my boyfriend.”

A horror flick aficionado since youth, she feels fortunate to be able to mix her talent with ink and the macabre. Her fascination with war paint goes way back, too. Nicoletto was reprimanded for wearing lipstick in first grade.

“My mom always wore a lot of makeup so I think that’s where my fondness for it came from,” she said. “I would always mess around and try new things and I learned a lot while working for M.A.C. Cosmetics.”

It’s just another outlet, also on epidermis, for her natural artistic impulses. Nicoletto denied being photogenic or having any ambition for pursuing an acting career but if the right television opportunity came along she’d probably jump back in.

“I did a cameo in this little film a friend made called ‘House of Horrors’ and I was a victim,” she said. “That’s probably as close as I’ll get to making a movie.”

Going from New Jersey girl to California girl had its eye-openers for Nicoletto. Her forthrightness in speech sometimes took left coasters aback.

“I tell people like it is,” she said. “It’s not like I’m being mean, because I’m really nice to people, sometimes to a fault. Our way of joking around can be a little harsh though, too.”

Nicoletto noted that some of her east coast aggressiveness is gradually being mellowed by her time in California.

“Living there has been good for me,” she said.

That more laid back approach to life has undoubtedly enhanced her popularity at tattoo conventions. Part of the business is being able to relate to new clients, listen to their desires and spend time learning what they want.

“I try to cater to everyone as much as I can,” she said.

Tattoo conventions mean 14-hour work days, people constantly wanting autographs and photos and often no dinner until 2 a.m.

“I try to concentrate while I’m tattooing and not talk too much,” she said.

Nicoletto met Skin Vandals owner Sean Evers at an Oklahoma City convention.

“He had a big old leprechaun suit on and I never forgot him,” she said.

There’s no mistaking Evers is Irish-American from the shamrocks and other emerald isle theme tattoos on his arms.

“He was really nice to me and has such a nice personality,” Nicoletto said. “Some people are stand-offish or snotty to me because they think I’m going to be mean because I was on TV but that’s just not the case.”

Find out for yourself when Nicoletto visits Norman. To schedule a tattoo appointment with Nicoletto visit

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