STURGIS, S.D. — From the time she was a toddler, Skye “Faces” Shaffer wanted to be, what she called, a “too-too” artist.
Her father, Charles “Cherokee Chuck” Shaffer, owner and artist of Rosini Gypsy Tour Tattooing in Sturgis says his daughter wanted to be a tattoo artist from the age she could talk. There are pictures of Skye on magazine pages like Easy Rider, covered in fake tattoos at tattoo artistry conventions.
“[She said] when I grow up I want to do too-toos like you, and I’m like, well you’ve got to be a teenager if you’re going to do too-toos,” he said.
Sure enough, Skye could be found practicing her tracings for hours and hours, over and over in the shop on Main Street. By her 13th birthday she was eager for her dad to start training her.
Skye started off at 13 with tracing, practicing proper hygiene and care for tattoos and then practicing by drawing on family friends.
“Two or three of my biker friends would come in together and while the other two are waiting for me I was like, hey, have her throw something on your leg while you’re waiting,” said Charles. “Most guys don’t care what goes on their legs and she couldn’t mess anything up that I couldn’t fix or cover and they are like we don’t care, it’s Skye!”
From there, Skye began working part time in the shop during high school. Skye was even able to earn credit hours for working half of the school day in the family business.
Now, she ‘s 29. Every year she has regular clients that come to visit during the Sturgis Rally.
Skye says she loves the job, where she may hold the title of artist and also therapist. Clients will often come in with stories that become memorialized in ink, thanks to Skye. She even has tattoos in honor of her late boyfriend and family friend, courtesy of her dad.
“I’m a daddy’s girl.”
When it’s time, Skye will inherit the family owned tattoo parlor. She doesn’t know if she’ll take on her own child protégée but does have one piece of advice for everyone.
“Just follow your dreams.”