We had the good fortune of connecting with Morgan Reynolds and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Morgan, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
My favorite affirmation is “Stay afraid, but do it anyway,” (Carrie Fisher) – it personally just resonates with me. (and no, I’m not a star wars fan.) I’m a person who’s struggled with anxiety, panic disorder and depression before I even began my career. Every move I make terrifies me. I’m the type of person who’d much rather be home painting to myself, but I have a lot of dreams and I know if I try, I can do it. That doesn’t stop the constant anxiety. It’s hard because we all paint a perfect picture of our lives on social media, we only show our accomplishments and what we’re happy we’ve created, but we don’t seem to share the struggles, difficulties, or all of the failures that brought us there. I never want someone to think that this is all natural to me, it’s actually one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Networking is difficult for me, traveling to places scares me, and some weeks I don’t have the mental energy to put myself out there. Tattooing teaches me new things about myself everyday, and who I am is always changing. I’m hard on myself and tend not to forgive myself for things, I’m still learning how to handle that too. There’s a ton of failures and set backs before success. Do the things that scare you, whether they work out or not. You’ll grow from it. Action is the most rewarding. I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I didn’t just do it anyway.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I personally like tattooing to be more of an experience and less of just a service. Some people are just in to get a small tattoo or so, and that’s okay too! I’m always most excited about the projects that I work with someone over time, where I can get to know that person and build a friendship. Tattooing is very intimate at times and being able to build a relationship of trust and have great conversations is something I’m grateful for. Some of my clients have become great friends of mine, and some go their own ways afterwards. I’ve been working in a private studio (Black River) for the past year or so, which I’m a huge fan of! I think having a more private environment is a better experience for a lot of my clients, especially those who are tattooing more difficult areas. I’ve worked in street shops for the majority of my career, and still do during guest travels and whatnot, but I do love the studio!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m an implant so I wouldn’t even know the best things to do, most of what I have done is either touristy or hiking. It’s funny because I moved to California but I’m not a huge fan of the beach. I love the food scene out here and being able to sit outside at most places. I like to people watch downtown, take rides in the car over Coronado bridge, and have tacos! There’s SO many good tacos out here. I’m also a huge fan of interactive food like the sushi train. Have I mentioned I love food?

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Every person I’ve tattooed, worked with or worked for has helped me get to this point. I’m grateful for every experience, good and bad that’s helped me change into a better person and artist. I’m thankful for my husband who’s believed in me and been by my side through the worst of times, my tattoo friends all over the country I’ve learned with, my mentors who forgave me when I went through the worst of it, and my support system of all my amazing friends who’ve been there for me when I couldn’t be here for myself. I’m thankful to my mother who I’ve recently lost, who always showed me how to stand up for myself and take risks even when I was afraid. I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today without her encouragement.

Website: www.morganchenoa.com
Instagram: @morganchenoa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morganchenoatattoo/