Self-styled artist Lee Burns knows that the difference between being a tattooist and a tattoo artist lies in the artists’ long hours of study and dedication to the craft tattooing. Burns’ tattoos have appeared in 40 magazines, have won 27 awards and have been honored 4 times at the National Tattoo Convention. Lee’s taste and style can be seen on the bodies of countless trusting clients. Since founding Painless Steel in 1992, Lee has taken on numerous apprentices and helped shape the changing face of body art in America. Lee’s patience coupled with his perfectionism make him an ideal teacher. Sarauna Torrez:
Sarauna started hanging out at Painless when she was about 14 years old, after watching Lee tattoo her mother. Sarauna spent the next 4 years lurking and saving money until she finally started her apprenticeship in the fall of 1999, the same year she graduated high school. Sarauna is very detail-oriented. She loves pin-up girls, fantasy, wildlife, human and animal portraits, flowers and plants. Sarauna also enjoys coverups because they are always challenging and pretty much have to be custom. "I love custom work! Please ask me to draw for you." Gina Morrill:
For Gina, tattooing was an unexpected and happy accident. Gina has a strong art background with about a decade of art/craft school. She has a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Fine Art, Drawing, Metalsmithing and Sculpture. "I think my jewelry background is probably the most compatible with tattooing. Both are about adorning the body." Gina brought a friend in to Painless for her first tattoo and discovered that the shop needed an apprentice. Gina needed to stay in Missoula because of her family, so the stars were aligned. Gina enjoys most styles of tattooing. "For me it's really more about the piece and the person. I'm a happy person; if the client is happy and the tattoo is positive, the session can't get better than that."
Angela Brooker: When Angela Brooker arrives at the shop in the morning, she feels “in her element, submersed in the art world.” A former art major in college, Angela considers the other Painless Steel tattoo artists among the most influential artists she has encountered. Angela’s energy, vision, and the fact that her favorite tattoo is “the next one, on anyone who is excited to get a tattoo” make it easy to see why she is quickly becoming one of the most sought after tattoo artists in the area.
Yo Adrienne : Adrienne started getting piercings when she was 15. She's always had a fascination with needles & the art of adorning the body. Adrienne came to Painless Steel hoping that Lee would allow her to be an apprentice. "I really enjoy nipple piercings because they require me to make something symmetrical and perfect that's not perfect or symmetrical. I also love surface anchors because for a few minutes I feel like a surgeon." "I feel that in a society where we're constantly bombarded with media that suggests our own bodies and faces aren't good enough, it's important to give people something that they can love about themselves. A person may not have great self esteem, but they hopefully will always love their lip ring."