"I do free self-harm cover ups because I...just know what it's like to want to enter a new chapter of your life and be haunted by your past."
Frandy Voltaire is 23, but the gravity of her work far exceeds her years. Her career as a tattoo artist officially took off about three years ago, when at 20 she began tattooing full-time.
Initially, she had a client who booked regular appointments to cover her scars. Voltaire says she didn't know what the marks were from at the time. As the session continued, she learned how the scars came to be, and when the cover up was complete she refused to take her fee.
For Voltaire, a new passion had been born.
As someone who has always been into art, Voltaire said she loves being able to incorporate her passion into her career. But what she loves even more is being able to use her passion to help others overcome situations they never thought they'd conquer, she said. She makes it her mission to help others hide the scars they inflicted during what was likely the toughest point in their life.
That drive recently came to fruition with the opening ofThe Fran Fine Tattoo Studio in early November, located at 8555 Westheimer Road, Suite 112.
"Anyone that knows me knows that I am the type of person who, if you need me and I have it, it's yours," Voltaire said. "I'm blessed with the ability to draw and create works of arts that can commemorate things, that could kind of allow you to experience something different. And then I also have the profession that allows me to do this permanently on your skin and possibly hide something you don't want to be reminded of again."
'The Fran Fine' began tattooing full-time about three years ago. Since then, she's made it her mission to help others through her art by doing free self-harm cover ups.
She receives messages every day of people sharing what they've gone through, and while she said it breaks her heart, being able to help them hide whatever scars they have makes her feel like she's doing a "little token of my part in this big ole world."
Not wanting to leave anyone out, Voltaire has a waiting list that she adds to daily where she chooses various times each month to schedule the free cover ups around her regular appointments.
Her favorite self-harm cover up so far? Voltaire holds dear a phoenix she tattooed early on, considering it representative of the cover up process: Something beautiful growing from the ashes.
Voltaire said a tattoo of a phoenix remains one of her favorite cover ups to date, as it holds a special meaning.
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Voltaire got her first tattoo gun around age 13 or 14, she said. She would joke with her sisters that she was going to be a tattoo artist, but growing up in a conservative household meant she never seriously thought it would happen. After completing her first semester in college with a 4.0 GPA, she decided to jump headfirst into the tattoo industry.
Things didn't work out at the first tattoo shop she was working in, but, as fate would have it, one of her long-time tattoo inspirations was located about 20 feet away and he wanted her to join his shop.
She went on to graduate college as a first generation student and after years of learning and growing as an artist under the direction of Lesly St. Clou at Ace of Spades Tattoo Studio, Voltaire was finally ready to open her own shop.
As for the free work? The money will come regardless, she said. Voltaire said she feels a responsibility to, in some way, use her skills for something good.
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