Artist Kyle Cotterman Performs Suzy’s Mastectomy Tattoo

Artist Kyle Cotterman Performs Suzy’s Mastectomy Tattoo

March 13, 2017

On November 7th we will have live updates of breast cancer survivor, Suzy Mizinksi's mastectomy tattoo procedure by internationally acclaimed artist Kyle Cotterman.  Kyle will be coming to the flagship from Dayton, OH exclusively for Suzy's mastectomy tattoo. Until then, we had the pleasure of discussing with Kyle on what exactly this tattoo means to him, the hurdles to jump when performing a mastectomy tattoo, and insight into Kyle's life. Stay tuned for updates on the tattoo design as Kyle and Suzy finalize the design.

1. How long have you been tattooing for? What sparked your interest in this medium?

A. Ive been tattooing for a decade now. 10 years go by fast. My dad was a big reason I was interested in tattooing. He had a few small ones but nothing major. I always remember him having tattoo magazines in the garage that we would look at when we were fixing our bikes or something. I loved checking out all the tattoos (as well as the naked chicks). Ha.

2. What was your first step into becoming a tattoo artist? Where are you at now?

A. But I think around 2003 my dad started getting tattooed again and I fell in love with it. Ive been interested in art since I could remember. I was working a decent job but it was just to get by. My dad knew I loved art so he talked to his artist about an apprenticeship. One thing led to another and I got the job. It was a pretty hard road though. I think I was always tested to see how much I wanted to be a tattooer. I did a lot of work and odd job sort of things. My mentor and boss owned a tattoo/skateboard shop. So I had to help with the shop stuff normal apprentices are required like cleaning and scrubbing tubes and shit. But I also had to do other stuff like building skate board ramps, yard work, home remodeling, picking up dog shit. It sucked but I wanted it. I wanted to prove that i was serious about this craft and I was eager to learn. Now, I am the proud owner of my very own shop in Dayton Ohio. Distinction Tattoo is now 3 years old and hopefully will have many more years of being open to come.

3. What is your ideal tattoo to do?

A. If I had to pick I would like tattooing realistic/fantasy/surreal/abstract kind of things. I love doing tattoos on people that stay out of the sun! Hah. I would choose a nice big thigh or outer arm if I could. Hands are fun, but I would probably choose a forearm over a hand. Something that also just looks nice on the skin. Make it work with the curves and contours of the body. just something visually appealing.

4. Is there another medium or art form you love to partake?

A. Right now I am really into Digital Painting on my Wacom tablet. I use Photoshop to not only create paintings, but use it to help make my stencils. Sometimes I can get a nice outline of a piece and then have the ability to resize and print quickly. I also am really into all different mediums. I seem to change it up every few weeks or so and really get into that particular thing. One week ill be doing color pencil and then a few weeks later Ill switch it up to water color. Keeps things fresh. Its cool to see the differences in the mediums too.

5. Do you have any conventions lined up or any news to announce?

A. Yeah I am actually headed to the Westchester Tattoo Convention this weekend October 16-18th White Plains NY. I also plan on attending the Due South Expo in January down in Mississippi. No other convention s planned yet, but would love to do more. I just want to go to places I have never been and see more of the country!

6. Have you ever done a mastectomy tattoo before?

A. I have never done a mastectomy tattoo before. I think it will be interesting. I really just love the idea of her being able to help her with her journey. Tattoos are very special. Many people have meanings or reasons for their tattoos. A way to either help remember or sometimes help forget things. A wonderful way of expressing yourself and show people who you are, and Im excited that I can help people do that.

7. What is the biggest challenge when doing a mastectomy tattoo? Biggest reward?

A. I think the biggest challenge in doing this tattoo in my opinion would be the factors that I haven't encountered yet. Ha, yeah it sounds silly, but there are just somethings that may become a challenge but you won't really know until you get to that hurtle. But sometimes thats just the fun about tattooing. The challenge, Its almost like a game that has obstacles, but in order to move forward in the game you have to think about how you can maneuver around those obstacles. Thats how i see a tattoo sometimes. Just being able to figure stuff out and move on to the next level!


8. What's it like not being able to work with the client face to face during the design process.

A. Its a real challenge to work on piece without seeing the customer in person. But I try and visualize the part of the body the tattoo is going on and the get a mental picture of how that tattoo will lay on the skin. How it wraps around body parts or flows with the muscles. Looking at the anatomy of the human body in general will give you a good idea of what you are up against but it still has its potential obstacles. Sometimes you can even have your buddy be a test subject to sit in and be a model for that body part.

9. What does this tattoo mean to you? What are you hoping to accomplish with this tattoo?

A. This tattoo means a lot to me because of how much it means to her. The only thing I really want to accomplish with this tattoo would be to just make it something that she would love.

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Appointment inquires please contact Kyle at


Originally Published: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 21:18:43

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