Strong as a Mother: Meet Tattoo Artist and Painter Emily Kay

By Shannon Sweeney — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

"Becoming a mother has opened up another side of myself that I wasn’t aware of before."

Emily Kay is strong as a mother. 

The Los Angeles based tattoo artist and painter finds inspiration in western imagery, botanicals, powerful animals, and movement. In her art, you'll find a mix of styles, including illustrative, fine line, traditional, and femininity.

A black and white photo of Emily Leung, an LA-based artist, holding her 1-year-old daughter
Photo: @emmbunns on Instagram

But when she's not creating until the break of dawn, she and her husband, Shawn, are raising their one-year-old daughter, Calico. 

For Mother's Day this year, we wanted to celebrate strong women. Read more about Emily below, and find prints of her work for sale here.

What’s your day-to-day routine look like?

 If I’m not working, as quite a few of us aren’t at the moment, my day usually begins with planning/cooking food for the day, lots of free play with our one-year-old, and miscellaneous home projects. After bedtime, I have time to work on paintings until the crack of dawn. 

How has being a mother changed your approach to your work?  

Becoming a mother has opened up another side of myself that I wasn’t aware of before, motherhood can be so beautiful as well as dark. There’s a lot of new self-exploration happening and I think that comes through in the things that I make. 

A photo of artist Emily Leung doing shaving her head in the mirror
Photo courtesy Jon Dragonette, @jondragonette on Instagram

Our Mother’s Day campaign is based around this idea of being “strong as a mother.” How do you stay strong as a mother?

Watching my daughter experience and learn things for the first time is so powerful, being able to create an environment for her to flourish is really inspiring and ever-changing. 

At Death Wish, we like to say that we’re all fueled by death — the idea that we want to leave our mark on the world before we leave it for good. With that being said, what fuels you?

Creating and making is my livelihood, being able to work with inspiring people to design tattoos or make paintings that will last a lifetime is the dream. 


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