Laura Sadaati – Biography

Posted: April 23, 2007 by Andreas Engel in Tattoo Artist Bios
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Laura Sadaati

Beginning life in the small northern California college town of Chico offered no reference for tattooing. Laura Sadaati’s earliest artistic inspiration was living in a home filled with art and artifacts from Iran. Her creative urge was unstoppable. She was always drawing and painting, inspired by the patterns, ornate designs and images of beautiful women.More... Her artwork has always been filled with emotional power, skill and imagination. As an artist, Laura is most comfortable painting large-scale figurative expressionist oils. Her creative impulses stem from moody social realism, which rarely depicts the happier side of life. A brief family pilgrimage back to Iran added fuel to the fire. The music scene, specifically Punk Rock, was her firsthand contact with tattooing. Her first tattoo was an eye on her ankle from Lyle Tuttle’s in San Francisco at eighteen.

When she saw a sleeve of an Asian inspired snake by tattooist Bill Salmon, it was the deciding factor in her thinking of tattooing as an artistic rendering on skin. The quest for knowledge followed and, in 1991, she graduated college with a BA in Fine Art. At the time her older sister was graduating from medical school, but Laura’s thoughts of Grad school and more highbrow art was put on the back burner in exchange for the lowbrow style. Luckily, her father has always been accepting and supportive of her career choices. Loosing no time, she moved to the Mecca of body art, San Francisco, with a few artist friends in tow. She had developed a great work ethic from time spent in the fast food grind, a variety of retail sales jobs, an art gallery and even as a sculptor’s assistant and was primed and ready for the real world.


Laura was managing a clothing store on Haight Street, just a stone’s throw away from where tattooists Aaron Cain and Marcus Pacheco had teamed up to open Primal Urge. Through an old flame of Aaron’s, Laura was invited to hang her artwork in their new shop. The shop was cranking out cool creative tattoos non-stop. Fast forward to Laura and Marcus getting married. She later helped to relocate the shop to Geary Street in 1992. Soaking it all in for a few years, she learned the nuts and bolts of the business before beginning to tattoo under Marcus’ tutelage. The first tattoo she gave was under the watchful eyes of the whole shop. She came through with flying colors; inking a small traditional Sailor Jerry rose. Learning how to translate her personal artistic style of painting with loose brush strokes and texture into a traditional tattoo style was a tough lesson. However, Laura has successfully managed to create a seamless artistic meld.

Her marriage ended around 1995, but they managed to maintain a great friendship and remained partners for many years after. In February of 2000, she was on the move again, this time to Jacksonville, Florida, to work at Inksmith and Rogers. She was a big fan of Mike Wilson’s work and excited by the opportunity to work in a traditionally based tattoo shop. A little over three years later, Laura and her beau tattooist Mike Kepper relocated to Nashville and opened Music City Tattoo, in a move to be closer to her family.

People today are more open to tattooing, with mainstream acceptance in progressive cities like San Francisco, where you still find more tattooed people and more women with tattoos. For some though, the staunch old school ethic that women shouldn’t be in tattoo shops is still thought of, but spoken less. There are those isolated incidents when she was assumed to be the receptionist in the shop or the piercer and it was a big compliment to say her tattooing was ‘pretty good for a girl’. Those moments are few and far between today. There is a great lesson learned from all this and Laura feels that it is one of acceptance. Both of herself for who she is and other people for who they are.

Laura Sadaati POC tattoo shirt

Primarily, she regards fellow tattooists Scot Silvia and, of course, Marcus Pacheco with the utmost respect and awe. She admires Scott for the combination of his technical excellence, work ethic and great personality and Marcus for fearlessly pushing the envelope and his unique approach to tattooing. Yet, there is a never-ending line of young upstarts who want to tattoo. Her advice is to be humble and explore the history of the craft and those tattooists past and present who will provide inspiration. And to simply sit down, shut up and get tattooed.

Speaking of being inked, a simple matter of logistics has hampered completion of her next tattoo. It is a work in progress of a Japanese backpiece by Florida tattooist Mike Wilson. Also, high on her to do list, are roses on the back of her legs. Laura’s crystal ball ideal tattoo to do is that of a large-scale full bodywork on a woman with little or no other tattoos. She enjoys looking at these tattoos as an integral part of the feminine form. The YellowMan second-skin creations she has done provide a pleasing alternative, meeting the challenge head on to create large-scale body suit renderings.

A major decision used to be what music should we listen to while tattooing and now, Laura has satellite TV’s in the workstations to visually distract the customers. Over time, Laura has collected volumes of sketches and renderings of completed tattoos and ideas waiting for just the right customer. There is always room to be made along side her shop worn copy of the Japanese book Flash in Skin and a slew of other reference material on topics from lettering and type design to nature. Her insatiable appetite for books on Leonardo DaVinci take up a good chunk of shelf space as well.

To unwind and recharge at the end of a long day, she has taken to running but the ultimate R&R is snuggling with Gromet her boxer, Pit bull mix and Spike the spunky chuauah to watch a classic horror film. If the house were on fire those pups would be in her arms and out the door above all else. There are not enough hours in a day for Laura and Mike. Burning the candle at both ends is nothing out of the ordinary. You would think that working at the shop 6 days a week and pumping out designs for YellowMan wouldn’t leave much time for anything else… well think again. Providing art for the human canvas is just half the story. Creating works of art for her toughest critic, herself, is the rest. Their current project is to put a painting studio above the shop and she just can’t wait to paint.

Laura Sadaati
Contact info


1022 16th Ave South

Nashville, Tennessee

Phone: 615.742.8822

Laura Sadaati Samples



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