We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma (Toadie) Ruiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emma (Toadie), what makes you happy? Why?
Tattooing makes me happy. It is therapeutic to me, it is when I am in my zone, focused. Through my journey as an artist, I have met people from all walks of life. I have made unforgettable memories and I have all sorts of fun stories! Tattooing is my passion. love being a part of a trade that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started my tattoo apprenticeship under Leonel “Lo” Ochoa at Blue Rose Tattoo in Ft. Worth, TX. I was around 20 years old. I never thought I’d even learn how to tattoo. I always got told my art wouldn’t cut it, being turned down by other shops previously. Lo decided to give me an opportunity to learn how to tattoo. Although I was very excited, I was also super nervous. The thought of not making it through my apprenticeship was stuck in the back of my head. Regardless of my doubts, I did everything Lo told me to do. He encouraged me to paint or draw every single day. Whether I had any ideas or not, there was always something to turn in by the end of the day. There was a few times where I became doubtful, but he was always there to guide me and push me to do my best. He never sugar-coated anything, which was the best thing he could ever do for me because I was able to learn to accept criticism. His way of teaching was very straightforward, positive, and encouraging. Fast forward to now, I am able to continue to learn something new every single day. I strive to do my best, stay humble, and keep a positive mental attitude. I hope to be a good influence on the next generation of artists. I would love to see more people chasing their dreams in general. Nothing is impossible!!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Alkey’s in Lewisville, TX. Wonderful staff, good food, fun bar activities, and great live music! Seven Mile Cafe in Denton, TX has the best breakfast and brunch! Incite Skate Shop in Lewisville, TX for all of the skateboarding needs and graffiti supplies! The Anvil Pub in Deep Ellum, TX has THE BEST mac n’ cheese, chill environment, awesome staff, and delicious cocktails!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shoutout to Leonel Ochoa, my mentor. He believed in me when nobody else did. He pushed me to become the artist I am today. He is still the voice in my head that tells me to never stop learning and always keep pushing. Thank you, Lo for giving me the chance to join another generation of tattooing.
Blackall Photography LLC