Maggie Gosselar is a tattoo artist at Colt’s Timeless Tattoos in Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her degree in art and museum studies, and even she is amazed she’s working in her field (when she isn’t pulling shots at her local coffee shop part time or taking the track to play roller derby with Madison’s home and travel teams, that is.)
What do you remember from childhood about coloring?
As a tyke I remember trying so hard to color things realistically in coloring books, and being thwarted by the neon intensity of my 64 set. My friend’s pages always looked better, cleaner, they accepted and embraced their tools. But none of the beautiful colorists of my childhood wound up pursuing art ‐ so frustrating! Such potential!
What role does coloring (however you want to define it! choosing color, applying color, whether for art, make‐up, food) play in your life today? How would you describe your joy of coloring?
Nowadays my relationship with color is linked with my profession (tattooing). There are so many things to consider, the set‐up for a design is so stressful! Base skin color, subject matter, scars, and stretch marks all influence the color choices, and there’s no room for error. But once the lines are in and I’m given free reign… It’s deeply satisfying. Seeing my progress, seeing something come to life in someone’s skin, is incomparable.
Does your joy of coloring connect with aspects of your identity? How/why?
My color‐identity relationship is a fraught one. I’m drawn to lines, to crisp contrasts. I like the empty spaces. I think it is partly because I’m so obsessed with potential ‐ coloring something in both limits and completes it. I feel like I am a design whose lines are still being drawn, but I am always surprised and pleased to discover a part of myself that has been fleshed out, as it were.
If someone wanted to pursue the joy of coloring, what is an exercise or activity or prompt that you would suggest from your own experiences?
Pop art that nonsense! Take a design or shape you like and just play. Add a ton of black in one version, maybe use a cool palate in another, embrace the neons in the third. Fade it, shade it, mess it up!
You get to name five Crayola crayons that are based on the palette and mood of the day you are having today. What do you name them?
- Barely Awake Blue (picture a dusky, gentle shade of first light)
- Try Harder Yellow (imagine that previously mentioned light fighting vainly through clouds)
- Patience Purple (the insides of your eyelids, the shadows of your veins)
- Infatuated Orange (a soft, buttery orange, with the intensity of the inside of an orange rind)
- Obscene Sheen (the shade of chrome that glints from a championship trophy earned from three undefeated seasons)
Coloring might seem to some like child’s play. Is there more to it than that? What in your mind is the benefit of coloring in the world?
Coloring is dynamic! Coloring is defining and enabling and empowering. Changing our wall colors changes our productivity, mood, and comfort. Color evokes emotions and lets us reach a level we, as adults, don’t like to admit we still access.