Silje Roe Hagland is a tattoo artist at Scapegoat Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. She’s one of my favorites, primarily because of her adorable pet portraits. I had the pleasure of meeting her last spring when my daughter and I drove to Portland to get her first tattoo for her 18th birthday. Silje had our designs ready when we arrived, much to our delight (I’ve found that tattooers often run behind schedule), as we were planning to return to Seattle that evening. We’d scheduled our appointments months before. It was exciting to finally be present in a moment we’d been anticipating for so long.
Silje tattoos faster than some artists who’ve worked on me. I love tattoos but sitting for them is not always my favorite thing, because, well, they hurt. There are folks who will tell you otherwise, but I find tattoos to be painful — and more so the older I get. Oh well, like so many other aspects of aging, you only really value what you once had after it’s gone. Sitting or lying in one position for hours at a time isn’t as easy at 41 as it was at 18. However, if there is one advantage to waiting until you’re older to get tattooed, it’s taking time to research artists whose work I admire before covering my whole body. I am pretty sure that the images I like in my 40s won’t change all that much in the subsequent decades of my life.
Silje’s work is whimsical and vibrant. Her style incorporates fairy tale magic with the bold outlines and bright colors made popular with traditional American sailor tattoos.
If I were wealthy, I’d have an enormous collection of her art. In the meantime I just stalk her Instagram page when I want to feel inspired for tattoo ideas.
Silje’s flair for tattooing animals is one of the things I love most about her work. Her kitty tattoos will warm the heart of any enthusiastic cat lover.
Someday I hope to get one of her Halloween-themed kitty tattoos.
Silje’s kitty Halloween tattoos were some of the initial designs that led me to follow her on Instagram.
You can book an appointment with Silje at Scapegoat Tattoo, located in Portland’s vegan mall. Be prepared to wait, though, as her schedule is usually full.
Some things I learned from experience: The shop accepts credit cards, but most tattooers prefer to be paid in cash. Be sure to calculate at least 20 percent for a tip anytime you get tattooed. Also, pets are not welcome in the shop (which I found out only by bringing two of my Chihuahuas inside). The tattooers love animals and have their own, but it’s not really good to bring pets in for a variety of reasons, so be prepared for that.
I’ve literally spent hours stalking Silje’s Instagram because I adore her work so much. Don’t you love these cat portraits?
About Kezia Willingham: Also known as the Breadwinning Laundry Queen, Kezia lives in Seattle with her family, which includes her kids, a pack of rescued cats, dogs, and mice. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Seattle Times, and xoJane.com. A professional member of the Cat Writers Association, you can follow her on Twitter @KeziaWillingham.