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Local Tattoo Artist Finds Her Niche

By Kelsey Jacobson

Mindy Bjork, a junior tattoo artist, recalls the day she received her temporary license to work alongside Mike Wiltse, owner and senior artist of Your Mom’s Tattoo Atelier. To celebrate, Bjork let Wiltse tattoo a jellyfish on her leg. “When I get a tattoo from him, it’s a treat,” said Bjork as she gazed down at her tattoo from December 2015.

Bjork found her niche in traditional tattoos. She loves working with the clients who have an idea of what they want, but not sure how to put it on paper or rather in ink. Bjork has also done lettering, old school tattoos, and neo-traditional, which requires a lot of detail. Everything she does is simplistic, however, she likes to put her own twist on her tattoos as well.

One of Mindy's hardest tattoos. Photo provided by Mindy Welmske.
One of Mindy’s hardest tattoos.
Photo provided by Mindy Welmske.

To be considered for a state license, you have to apply and get a signature from your supervisor. The state of Minnesota will then call the supervisor of the apprentice. The state sends out a temporary license, which requires the apprentice to do 200 tattoos within that year, and so far Mindy is at 107. Although, as a dual artist Mindy is able to do tattoos and piercings, which will require her to complete 250 piercings before she receives her permanent license.

Photo provided by Mindy Bjork.

Growing up, Bjork’s mom was a portrait artist and Mindy used to sit and watch her paint. The first time she became intrigued by tattoos was when she was seven years old. Bjork recalls seeing her grandfather’s tattoo on his chest—a sailor Jerry mermaid. At the age of 14, Bjork was messing around one day with India Ink and drew a star on her hand, which was the start of her career as a tattoo artist.

Starting out as an apprentice working in Illinois after high school, she decided to make her way back to the city of Baudette, Minnesota which led her to Your Mom’s Tattoo Atelier, working as a receptionist and getting the courage to show her work to Wiltse. Over the years, she has enjoyed tattooing her friends. “As an artist, you need to know what you are doing,” said Bjork. “I love it, I don’t plan on going anywhere else.”