The Kawaii Creative Corner

Pre-Order SHOPPE GAL

Shoppe Gal is a coming-of-age story from aspiring tattoo artist to 16-year tattoo professional to a multi-hyphenate creative entrepreneur

Book A Tattoo Consultation

Invest in a Bespoke Tattoo suited to tell your UNIQUE story on skin because your tattoos are clothes that should be tailor-made TO YOU

Kawaii Creative Strategy Sessions

Schedule a 90-minute brand strategy sessions designed to help right-brain creatives FOCUS to reach your all of creative dreams

Join the OTAKute DISCORD

Get to know the real me over quality anime/ gaming + Jfashion plus Tattoo Talk Tuesday and Create Art Saturdays family time
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Meet A Black Female Tattoo Artist

Turned Full-time creative-entrepreneur

Imani K. Brown, an international tattoo artist and illustrator native to (Ivy City) Washington, DC – the second prominent black female tattoo artist in the United States and the first and only vetted black female tattoo artist recognized from D.C. A 16+ year vet of the tattoo industry, Imani has become a well-rounded and respected tattoo artist, proficient in a number of styles. As well as a well-dressed advocate for body positivity and self empowerment. Fluent in telling unique visual stories and tattoos for dark skin, she indulges in pop-culture through a kawaii filter.
Now in charge of her dream creative studio, Little INKPLAY Shop® – an empowering kawaii anime tattoo art shop & culture hub. Here she is devoted to inspiring and aiding other urban youth to follow their creative pop-culture passions through entrepreneurship. Committed to community, she makes space for free and regular meet-ups that focus on embracing fashion, art, and positive creative lifestyle for mental health and wellness.

On 'Purchasing My Freedom'

Real talk, it’s said that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. But with the right mindset to reclaim those tools it’s possible, imho. Make sense?

Becoming a full-time creative entrepreneur is me purchasing my freedom – literally & metaphorically ^.^ Tattoo has helped (& continues to help) me with better positive body image practices, making peace with my inner self and provides me the financial freedom to create the life I LOVE + be the change I want to see in the world. And this is ONLY the beginning!

Kawaii Anime Tattoo

For the love of kawaii culture + tattoo tradition

#KAWAIinku is Imani speak for my kawaii anime tattoo style – a cross-pollination of kawaii (cute) or otaku (geeky) inspiration, tattoo tradition, and an empowering experience.

My general art style is heavily inspired by Japanese comics (manga) as well as traditional Japanese tattoo (wabori)

And like traditional mangaka, I work with an assortment of resources to get the work completed – in this case on to the wearer ~

I take your hodgepodge of ideas and create a story, unique to YOU.

Visually, composition draws heavily from my love of storytelling, manga and anime, wabori aesthethics, and an assortment of afro and Japanese elements and motif.

Sometimes traditional, other times kawaii but it’s guaranteed to always be

inspired
fine line,
new school,
& TRUE to YOU!

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Gone Dreamin' ~

I’m the second prominent black female tattoo artist in the United States and the first and only vetted black female tattoo artist recognized from D.C. And understanding my place in the industry means I have a responsibility to young women everywhere. Because what’s the use of being first or second anything, if I won’t use my influence to continue to widen these lanes for more of us to flood them?

I want us to understand what it takes to pull ourselves up by our femininity and not by bootstraps.

Out of this femininity, we can embrace strength within that experience. For women who look like me, strut like me, have kinky hair like me and the sauce of the Gods like me to have longevity in anything we put their minds to. And to understand that part of achieving our dreams is accepting and embracing ourselves and that comes with a lot of things. Especially for us women…

♡♡♡

It comes with body positivity, learning self-care, balance, grace and kindness—to ourselves AND others. 

It comes with a flavorful unapologetic boldness.

Through ipukekawaii platforms, I hope to inspire fellow dreamers + creatives of all walks of life to lead with your heart & let logic follow

Oh! The Places I've Been

Apple Carnegie | Washington, DC

led an interactive & hands on pro-create tattoo design for Big Draw Festival 

DC Web Fest | Washington, DC

received the ‘Local Hero Award’ for the DC Kawaii Style dream zine, Afro-Kawaii: What Is It?!

June 12 – opens doors as  owner & operator of the dc’s areas first pop-culture themed tattoo studio

founded DC’s premier Japanese street fashion and kawaii lifestyle social club

*read my founder’s note here*

  • becomes an international creative – Building my brand from DC to Japan

Global Rhythms International Party | Tokyo, JP

Straight Life Tattoo Matsuri | Osaka , JP

Design Festa | Tokyo Japan

 

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The ipukekawaii Vision

Becoming an international black entrepreneur and 16-year tattoo veteran has been quite a journey. 

By sharing my personal story and my experiences embracing the dark side of life, connection with Japan and Japanese culture, and guiding others like me through tattoo artistry, I want to help others become confident in what you are looking for. 

Whether you aim to become a tattoo artist like me, are seeking other amazing women who wear bows, or looking for a road map to building confidence, I hope this book proves inspirational for YOU. 

Awaken the Shoppe Gal spirit within you and take the world by storm!

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Shoppe Gal, The Memoir

I’m still learning my heritage in real life. And of course if being Black is always under refinement, then that’d mean I’m always reflective of my life experience as a Black woman, a Black creative, and a Black American. 
Understanding my heritage in total, though, may be a bit… *oof*
When we say the word “heritage,” I think of my legacy, my tradition, and my birthright. It’s not much, but it’s what my parents named me. IT IS my purpose, my passion, and all the things ingrained in my DNA.
It’s not really something that is of me more than it’s something that is in me and that’s pretty hard to explain ~ 
As I looked up the definition of heritage, I found a way to start. We’ll start with my name. My purpose.

What Readers Say

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