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FEATURE

Storytelling in Ink Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress Nathalie Standingcloud is slowly solidifying her unique style of bringing her culturally-inspired artwork to life by way of tattooing in the tattooing world’s final frontier. BY KELLY HOLMES

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEVIN DRY (CHEROKEE)

Meet Nathalie Standingcloud, the Oklahoma-based tattoo artist with a kickass attitude and style to match. She’s slowly solidifying her unique style of bringing her culturally-inspired artwork to life by way of tattooing. Originally from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Nathalie makes her living as an artist, both in ink and on stage. While she tattoos and is an exceptional drawer and painter, Nathalie is also an emerging actress, starring in the recent short film “Totsu (Redbird)”. Nathalie’s organic cultural work and tattoo craftsmanship stand out immediately in a world of played-out, overdone “trending” tattoos. She continues to hone in her signature style of tattooing, which is clearly evident in her work: incredibly crisp and clean linework with master shading and shadowing. Even her creative talent for composing and drawing motives adds to her versatility and flexibility to tattoo pretty much anything you throw at her: pop culture icons, animals, and skulls; not to mention her famous Sailor

Jerry renditions are brilliant. Nathalie’s growing trademark style is also known for incorporating her tribe’s patterns and basketry, as well as artwork and symbolisms of stories shared through the generations into her tattoos. Nathalie believes she brings storytelling and language tattooing from her point-of-view as a Native American artist. “If there’s a chance I can put Cherokee syllabary into a design, I want to try to do that and make sure it’s accurate,” she says. Nathalie takes inspiration from her culture’s stories and visuals like basket and pottery patterns or syllabi to create unique designs for tattooing. Nathalie’s love and interest in tattoos and art began with her father. Since he was incarcerated throughout most of her childhood, Nathalie received letters from him decorated by his hand. “I even received a portrait he drew of me,” Nathalie recalls. According to Nathalie, while in prison, her father got tattooed and learned how to tattoo others, where he got good at it. He was so good; he was the only person Nathalie’s

Profile for Native Max Magazine

Native Max Magazine - November/December 2020  

Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress N...

Native Max Magazine - November/December 2020  

Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress N...

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