Rachel Jibilian


Jibilian tattoos a client. Photo courtesy of Jibilian.

Sadie Dallas, Former Deputy Arts & Culture Editor

This previously ran in our April 2022 print issue.

Creative freedom is vital to Rachel Jibilian’s artwork. Whether said art is in a sketchbook or tattooed on a client, the 23-year-old doesn’t want to have to answer to anyone but herself. 

An interest in creating has been a reoccurring theme throughout Jibilian’s life, working as a henna artist at Dorney Park in high school and later becoming interested in tattooing. 

“I’ve always really loved drawing on people, like even as a kid I was drawing on myself,” she said. 

The EHS alum is now a licensed tattoo artist working in Savannah, GA, but that wasn’t always her plan. 

“I studied animation for a while at SCAD for a couple years, but it was, you know, I hated sitting in front of the computer for like hours and hours every day; and it was like too competitive for me,” Jibilian said. “I just want to do some- thing that I love that doesn’t have to be competitive. I just realized I hate when people tell me what to do, and that job wouldn’t allow me any creative freedom whatsoever.” 

After deciding to veer from the traditional college path, Rachel found herself in a self-proclaimed rut, unsure of how to pursue a career in tattooing and need- ing to work other jobs to make money. Then her boyfriend told her about the Florida Tattoo Academy, and off she went. There, she learned all about tat- toos, from history to technique and parts of the machine. 

“I just turned back to my interest in tattoos and realized that that was what I was passionate about.” she said. “It would allow me to create whatever it was I wanted to create, without having somebody tell me what to do.” Jibilian got her first tattoo as a senior in high school and now has at least twenty, expanding her collection more recently while at tattoo school. Two of her favorite designs include a sea turtle on her neck and a portrait of her pitbull Floyd on her forearm. 

As far as design goes, Jibilian looks to the world around her for ideas, using the inspiration from her surroundings to create her art. 

“I love doing just fun tattoos that make people smile. I’ll take inspiration from movies or TV shows that people enjoy, that I enjoy, or things from life like animals and flowers and stuff,” Jibilian said. 

“Or just often with [things] around the room that I think are interesting, [I’ll] draw something like a combination of different objects with animals,” she said. 

Jibilian’s goals for the future are to see the world and someday open up her own tattoo shop. 

She isn’t sure where she’ll end up, but explained that tattooing is a career that would allow her to find a job just about anywhere. 

Her advice for any budding tattoo artists? Just keep drawing. “Don’t be afraid of that failure. I tried for over two years to get where I am today. And I was sick of failure and I thought I would never make it, but I’ll just say keep being true to yourself,” Jibilian said. 

“Don’t stop creating even if even if it feels like you just keep failing. Like, you forget that and just keep drawing and drawing”