A special tattoo and a special tattoo artist: The quiet confidence of Jessie Coccia

by Lucy Schaefer

Jessie Coccia got her first tattoo at 14, when she was a self-described “punk rocker attending private Catholic school.” Six months ago, this California-born tattoo artist uprooted from Sonoma and joined us in Durango, where she now works at Your Flesh Tattoo.

Jessie comes adorned with badass face tats symbolizing the alchemical fire sign and the symbol for goddess worship. Seeing this, I knew she was my gal for my own tattoo.

After completing her two-year tattoo apprenticeship at Valkyrie Tattoo in Penngrove, California, Jesse gypsied around plying her craft. This is one aspect she said she loved about her job, that she can do it anywhere in the world. “Tattooing is a universal language that most humans can understand. To be a part of a tradition that our ancient ancestors practiced is truly an honor.”

I asked about some of the personal struggles she has in her job, and Jessie discussed the dichotomous relationship between this ancient craft and the pressures some have to “perform” on social media.

“I try to consider tattooing to be sacred, and when I feel like someone is getting a tattoo just to get likes on their Instagram, it bums me out big time,” she said. “If you put down the phone and just allow your body to experience getting a tattoo, I think you’ll find it’s unlike anything else in the world. When I see someone who can do that, I will rise to meet them for some next-level shit.”

Compared to Jessie, I wouldn’t consider myself “tatted-up,” but I am slowly working on converting my skin into a masterpiece, filled with stories, achievements, and symbols of personal growth. I decided on Peter Rabbit, a character from a children’s book my mom used to read to me. Raised by a single mother and wanting to remind myself of the strength and courage my mom had throughout raising me, it was especially important to me to be tattooed by an empowering individual like Jessie.

Jessie has a quiet confidence about her and it is easily forgotten that confidence doesn’t always roar. Her individual artistic style is an eye-catcher not to go unnoticed. Jessie’s tenacity can be seen reflected in her art: Sharp, professional, and technically sound. You can see her determination in each fine line she inks, and the unique creativity in her designs. I am proud to wear a piece of Jessie’s artwork and I plan to return for many more.

Lucy Schaefer


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