Name: Wanda Dori
Where you live: Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada
Your occupation: Tattooist & shop owner
Your company: Wander & Whim Tattoo Studio
Wanda in gabe in bone.
Describe your journey of becoming an artist?
I have always been an artist, sketching & designing my whole life! It was in high school that I discovered a love for tattooing, as I went and got my first tattoo at 15 (don’t worry, my mom brought me, it was cool, haha). I never stopped getting tattooed after that, I was hooked - but I quickly found the industry to be hugely gatekept, rough & felt unsafe for me to pursue working within it.
As an adult, I began tattooing myself, an autonomous act of self discovery as an artist, I suppose. This brought me to discover a huge number of queer, community taught tattooists; who’s feelings about industry matched mine. It was with the support of many self taught & classically apprenticed folx, who share the drive to re-standard the industry, that I found myself community learning to be a tattooist. Tattooing has changed massively in the last ten years & I am utterly ecstatic to be part of such a broad and diverse group of folx, tattooing in new, accountable & supportive ways.
Wanda in worker in bone.
Oh gee, Musically, right now, I am hyper fixated on a playlist I made consisting of: Maggie Rogers, Sylvan Esso, Claud, Wet Leg, Cannons, Tones And I, Begonia, Rilo Kiley, The Chicks & Harry Styles. I listen to it on repeat at the studio!
I can’t say I’ve been too in touch with the films that have been coming out in the last while, but wow does the series ‘Our Flag Means Death’ ever have a choke hold on me. I think I’ve watched it three times through! It’s perfect, no notes. I might be about to hit my pirate phase artistically.
There’s a local quarterly magazine here, called FOLKLIFE, that inspires me regularly. It’s full of stories from the local island livers, makers & creators. It’s so aesthetically pleasing, so unrushed and organic. It’s a personal/business dream to be featured in it one day!
Wanda in Norma in bone.
Can you share a little bit about how your personal style evolved?
I was made fun of, a lot, for how I dressed when I was younger. I thrifted almost everything, wore things that weren’t in style - was called weird often. In my early twenties, before I was fully out, I hyper feminized instead. Wore whatever was on trend, mostly for the male gaze. I didn’t think about what I really liked, because that’s what had me mocked in the past. I was so uncomfortable!
In my mid-twenties, around the time I began tattooing, I came all the way out, started paying attention to what I needed. I curated a wardrobe that felt good for me. One that felt sustainable, ethical, and representative of who I am. I found community in pursuit of my personal style too. Clothing/style is a form of art. I get to purchase and adorn someone’s creative vision, because it speaks to an integral part of me. How magic is that?
I love warm neutrals, linen/hemp/silk/leather, slow fashion, thrifted treasure, genderless designs, comfortable, effortlessly elegant items! I love natural fibres, hand-made pieces, things I can love for a long time because they were built with care & intention. Infinite bonus points if the company is queer and/or woman owned. These are among the many reasons Bryr is an absolute staple in my wardrobe! They check all the boxes & are unmatched in comfort, honestly the perfect shoe.
Now that we are coming out of the pandemic, what are you excited to do again?
TRAVEL! Holy heck, am I ever ready to travel again. It’s been three years since I’ve left my province. I only traveled off island for the first time since the pandemic began, a few weeks ago & it was a treat! Along with a well overdue vacation, or six, I am hoping to plan a working adventure soon! I’d love to guest in a few studio’s in Oregon & California, the east coast of Canada, perhaps even Europe! Collaboration with other artists is one of the best parts of this job. I can’t wait to visit other studios around the world!