Brian Batista Photography | My Closest Friends

My Closest Friends

June 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
With the two year anniversary of TATTOOS & RESCUES coming up in September 2015, I think back to how much of an impact the stories and images have made.  Every day it seems I meet someone new who is inspired or moved to act upon reading stories of our subjects.  Whether relating to the stories or being moved to get involved in rescue in your community I have always known that TATTOOS & RESCUES would not be just about dogs but any animal that shares a unique bond with their humans.
I met Steffen Baldwin, founder of the Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio in May 2014.  After working with him on a TATTOOS & RESCUES shoot with his pal Chesty and sharing his story with Show Your Soft Side I knew that I had found a kindred spirit and that I would return to Ohio for the sheer number of stories to be told.  A few months ago Steffen wanted to introduce me to his tattoo artist after he has shown me the beginnings of his "St. Francis Of Assisi" inspired back piece.  Within a week we had met via Facebook and I knew there was something about Sam that was different and I wanted to showcase.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Let's start from the beginning...
Samantha Little (a.k.a. Sam) has come a long way in her short 25 years as an artist.  Ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon you could find her doodling or coloring on any blank surface she could find.  Through school she continued to mold her talents designing and painting musical sets and performing in the shows.  Suffice it to say Sam knew from a very early age what she wanted to do but the process was not necessarily a linear one.  "I studied theater my first year of college and then reconnected with my passion at Columbus College of Art & Design with a graphics design major.  The first year was really tough because I soon discovered that creating ideas on a computer was the future of art, but just was not for me."  This pivotal decision was perhaps what lead her into her chosen profession.  "My father first planted the ever growing seed of possibly becoming a tattoo artist when both of my parents signed a consent form for my first tattoo at the age of 16" she says.  "Once I changed my focus to Illustration the next 2 years at CCAD were a bit easier."
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesTattoo Artist Samantha Little (a.k.a. Sam)Modeling for Tattoos & Rescues at her Twistyle Salon shop
There are several ways for new tattoo artists to gain respect in the industry including but not limited to being an apprentice with a well known tattoo artist, finding one that inspires you and following in their footsteps.  Going to school full time does not exactly leave tons of options if you want to apprentice and as Sam points out "being a female artist in the tattoo industry does offer unique challenges.  Some think you are there because it's a fad or a trend."  Her father being very supportive of his daughter's passion found a school online in New York offering to teach tattoo techniques and before she knew it Little was there learning from famed tattoo artist Lisa Fasulo.  As a longtime body artist and new author, Lisa Fasulo has penned her memoir, IN LIVING INK, exposing the real side of reality TV, the insidious side of tattooing and her quest to be the light. She teaches tattooing, operates a tattoo studio and writes, paints and illustrates in her free time.
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesTattoo Artist Samantha Little & Steffen BaldwinGetting ready to work on his St Francis of Assisi inspired back piece
After Sam completed her training with Fasulo she states "I graduated from college then worked at a few tattoo shops but nothing would last very long for various reasons.  There just seemed to be a negative force that drove me away from the average tattoo shop."  As life always does seem to happen when you least expect it Sam met Angie Tustian, owner of Twistyle Salon & Day Spa in Columbus, OH.  "We immediately bonded as more of the ladies from her shop came in to have tattoo work done.  As it so happened the shop I was working in was served an eviction notice.  Angie (Tustian) offered me a space at her salon that would become my own private studio."  Within several months Sam was working full time at Twistyle and learning to become a permanent cosmetics technician.  "These two wonderful blessings of art have helped my career blossom over the past several years.  The positive glow and eclectic atmosphere at my Twistyle studio is a real draw for my clients."
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesTattoo Artist Samantha Little and Steffen BaldwinWorking on his St Francis of Assisi inspired back piece, he's a wuss
Another adventure may be looming on the horizon as Sam received a call from the casting director for the SPIKE TV show InkMaster.  "They recorded an interview with me and I am waiting to hear back by the end of June from the producers so we'll see."  Needless to say Sam is pretty excited about the direction her career is taking.  During her time away from the daily grind of tattoing Sam enjoys painting watercolor and acrylic pieces.  "I love broadening my spectrum of art forms and will always have an open mind with my passion."
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesSam LittleHanging out at the Mink Run Farm in Pataskala, OH
Sam is also an avid animal lover, and says "you could always count on me to save the animal friend even as a kid.  I have a large zoo at home including 3 dogs, 2 cats and 4 ferrets, however it's also hard to think of my life without a horse being a part of it."  She rode her first horse when she was only two years old, started showing horses when she was 6 and now at 25 years old she has a horse of her own.  After we finished our photo shoot at Twistyle it was time to drive to Pataskala, OH to meet two of Sam's animal friends, her horses Waylon and Blue.  "I found Blue, my 10 year old quarter horse, at an auction in North Carolina two years ago.  There was such a wide spectrum of animals from the beautiful Amish trained Friesians to the down right sad looking cowboy trade Mustangs, there was one horse that really stood out with personality and charm" she says.
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesSam LittleSpending quality time with her 10 year old rescued quarter horse, Blue
For 150 dollars Sam was able to bring Blue home with her and she noticed almost immediately that while Blue's temperament stole her heart his lack of eagerness to trust was far from being the extreme trail horse she needed.  His brother Waylon, her mom's tan 20 year old Palomino quarter horse, has helped him grow and overcome his fears.  "There is no better horse on the planet when I want to dance with the wind bareback in an open field than Waylon.  He was originally used for therapy programs with mentally and physically disabled children, but now spends his golden years being loved by my mother and I" says Little.  The location where Blue and Waylon call home has also earned it's own unique name.  Little states that "many horses come and go at the Mink Run Barn but no matter the duration of their stay they will always be loved as one of my own.  I will always go out of my way to give an extra carrot, apple, or brushing to make any horse feel welcome."
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesWaylon And BlueBest of buddies hanging out at Mink Run Farm in Pataskala, OH
Samantha Little in Tattoos & RescuesSam And WaylonLate May afternoon at Mink Run Farm in Pataskala, OH
We are proud to have Sam, Blue and Waylon as part of the TATTOOS & RESCUES family!  If you are in the Columbus, OH area and would like to be tattooed by Sam hit her up at Twistyle Salon & Day Spa.
Thank you for taking time to read her story and if you have any comments or if you know someone who shares a unique bond with their rescued animals please CONTACT US!



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