We had the good fortune of connecting with Sedelah Haller and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sedelah, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
So, once upon a time, everything that I did, involved tattooing. My first handful of years were spent researching anything tattoo related, painting constantly, drawing constantly, fiddling with machines, learning about as much as could, regarding tattooing. I used to work long days, at the shop, waiting for walk-ins and for a stretch, worked 7 days a week for a good long while. I loved doing that! At some point, the client base that would walk through that shop, kind of destroyed my will to be there as much as I had. At this point, I’m about 13yrs in and I’ve learned that the best thing I can remember to do is to limit myself in how much I work. Not only is it a good idea, for adding years onto my tattoo life, I’d say, but it helps you keep your sanity and introduces actual balance. I’ve noticed, over the years that clients can sometimes heavily effect your mood and sometimes for more than that visit. I mean, you’re typically sitting with someone for hours having small or deep conversations. It is therapy, for everyone involved. Sometimes, great things are shared and you feel great. Sometimes, terrible things are shared, and you feel that as well. I will say, I love my clients now, and am super grateful for each and every one of ’em, whether their tattoo be itty bitty or large scale! I also welcome people to share whatever they’d like to share..or not share. There won’t be pressure from me, in that regard. I’d realized that when I was practically ‘living’ at the shop (in the past), I hadn’t made time for my friends and family (aside from occasions)..I was wrapped up. Didn’t take too long for me to realize that I wanted to be able to live my life AND make money from my passion. At some point, like any learning experience, I’d made too much time for friends and family. So, balance, that’s where I am now. Everyone needs to remember to take some personal time. I’d always feared that my love for tattooing would be tainted, by working too much. Now, I like to stay steady, as opposed to busy. Now, I have time for friends and family, or even just needed alone time. Still, plenty of time for tattooing and doing so, passionately! 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think/have been told that what sets me apart from others is that I try to stay versatile, as opposed to sticking with one style. I used to do a lot of multiple eyed imagery, which I guess I still do haha. Everyone has their own appeal, to a certain kind of person so who knows..it’s all about perspective. It took years for me to get to where I am, currently. Years of persistence, will, sacrifice, growth, to get here. None of it was easy, but all of it was worth it. I think the most important thing to remember, when things are difficult and growth is seemingly slow, is how much do you want it? If you want it, you’ll understand that you CAN have it. If you don’t quit/give up, you’ll get what you want..in time..just what are you willing to change, to get it? Ya know? Like, so many years of being poor, where I probably didn’t even need to be, but my will was low. I believe that most things are in our hands. I don’t need/want fame or excessive riches…just stability and finally have gotten there. The all around growth will continue because I want it to. What happens next, is in my hands.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmm..well..It would definitely depend on some more factors than questioned haha but let’s see. Hard to imagine, at a time like this, as I haven’t been doing a lot of socializing. Realistically, I’d cook a lot of things/grill in the yard but if we’re going someplace in a time pre-covid..I’d say, let’s definitely go to BBs cafe, Tarka Kitchen, Miller’s Cafe, Liberty Kitchen (just a few for lunch or dinner). Drinking can happen at most or all of those places..not sure about Tarka. Lei Low Tiki bar is always a cute spot to check out, maybe hit up the Petrol Station. I’d be nice to just grab food from one of these places or someplace else, even..and take it to a park near the bayou (assuming that we’re staying in city limits). If not the bayou, definitely go up to Memorial Herman park and chill by their man-made lakes. That’s always a relaxing spot. Ya know what, Miller Outdoor Theatre would be a great place to take this hypothetical friend that doesn’t live here haha. Always a good time! Maybe even check to see what kind of events Jones Hall has coming up. There’s so much to do here that it’s hard to just pick a few! Def eat a lot of food and be pretty active as well!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are 4 main people that deserve a shoutout, in thanks for the path that I’m on. This has the potential to get really long, so I’ll do my best to summarize this haha. First shoutout would be to Will Self!! He was like a brother figure for me, when I was getting into pursuing tattooing. We used to draw and paint flash with watercolors, allll the time and said I couldn’t move on to tattooing before I could paint a good watercolor flash sheet haha (which is super appreciated then and still to this day!). He had a friend opening up a shop out in Rosenberg, so I asked him if he would apprentice me OR his friend/owner of said new shop. He didn’t want to do it because he said I would hate him, if he was my mentor haha so he asked his friend and he obliged! That friend was Jody Pasteka! That is my second shoutout! First person to give me a trying chance at an apprenticeship..it was great and rough at the same time but so beneficial. Somewhere within a year, I was no longer able to make it out there, being that there was no bus service, my scooter died, my mom’s car (at the time) died and i wasn’t making enough at my Hot Topic job to afford taking a cab. It was a hard realization and so I said that I’d still try to get better and shoot for another apprenticeship, once I’m good enough (that’s the scratcher mentality and i def was one for a second there haha). So, I’d started tattooing friends, whenever I could/they’d let me haha (big thanks to all of those friends also). Then, one day, one of those friends met a woman who owned a shop called The Electric Chair. That friend is Tess Catherine!! that’s number 3 on the shoutouts! The woman asked her who did her tattoo (it was of an owl babushka that I’d drawn for Tess) and then asked if the person who did it would be interested in meeting/discussing an apprenticeship! I nearly lost my fucking mind! That woman that owns Electric Chair is Stephanie Purnell!! Number 4 shoutout! We met up for lunch at Brasil cafe and it went crazy well so she said she would take me on as an apprentice, if I was down; of course I was down! She taught me so much!! I can’t thank any of these 4 enough. LIFE taught me so much! I don’t believe I would be where I’m at, now, if it weren’t for these badass people!! Love them still!

Instagram: @sedelah @sedelah.art
Facebook: Sedelah Tattoos

Image Credits
Lizzy Manwaring

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