We had the good fortune of connecting with LaTay “BlvqWulph” Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi LaTay “BlvqWulph”, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. It’s always been my passion…it, sort of, evolved into my full time career over the years. I’ve definitely had other jobs, mostly in retail…but I always tried to make time to be creative. There came a point when I completely lost the taste for working in the retail industry, or doing anything that had nothing to do with expressing my artistry. The last job I had was at H&M back in 2016 for the holidays. It was more to make some extra money than for a main gig…but I literally got physically sick from working there, as if my spirit totally rejected the act of folding one more pair of jeans. That’s when I knew for sure, I had to follow my passion and focus solely on honing my artistry and becoming a better and more serious tattoo artist.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started tattooing around 2006. I didn’t have a traditional apprenticeship, my training was more “trial by fire”…so my tattoo work back then was actually pretty terrible (lol). But I’ve a firm believer in consistency and being passionate about the work you do. Due to those moral, my artwork and tattooing has improved greatly over the years. It’s only been within the past 5 years or so that my work has begun to hold a candle alongside some of my favorite and most inspiring artists in the tattoo/art community.
What I’m most proud of is the growth in confidence in my artistic abilities, especially when it comes to cover-up tattoos. There was a time when I would be shown a tattoo in dire need of covering or enhancing and I would tell the client, “you might have to get that laser removed before I’d feel comfortable taking this on”…now I’m like “hold my beer!” I’ve become somewhat of a go-to artist for cover-ups and I’m thankful that I have the skill to accomplish what many people might believe is virtually “impossible”. I want people, especially black people, to know that they don’t have to be told “no” when it comes to getting something covered or simply getting a beautiful, colorful piece of artwork on their bodies.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Baltimore is like a melting pot of diversity. If you visit here and you’re a seafood lover…you cannot leave till you have a Crabcake! I’m a water-lover, so most of my hangouts are near the water either at the Inner Harbor or Fell’s Point. Both locations have really great vibes and great food.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d Like to shout out Lorri “Lady L” Thomas, Detroit tattoo artist and founder of the Ladies Of Ink Tour group. She’s responsible for the largest collective of insanely talented female tattoo artists of color, of which I’m also an honored member.