The Art of Motherhood Through Tattoo Artists’ Eyes

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Mothers are always seen as homemakers. The mother is the one who takes care of her children and maintains the house.

Mothers have shown that, in today’s world, they can stay at home and do what they love while still being good mothers.

This Cebu mother isn’t your average mom. She’s cool.


She’s one of Cebu’s top tattoo artists. A female tattoo artist has dominated tattooing for the past 12 years.

Meet Ann Savage. She is a Cebu-based tattoo artist mompreneur.

This mom is a tattoo artist, waving flags to encourage mothers to get up, do you, and still be the best mother for their kids.

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Ann Savage.

The Beginning:

Ann’s tattooing journey began in an unanticipated way. 

“I began my career in the cosmetics business working for my mother, a salon owner. She had a tattoo artist in a small room behind the washroom. “I was intrigued by his work, but I was afraid to see what he did because I would faint when I saw blood,” said the woman. 

Jason Regidor was her mentor, and he asked her a few weeks later to be his assistant. 

“One day, I saw him drawing at the counter, and he asked me to tattoo “strength,” in Japanese characters, on his wrist. He asked me to swear that I would not stop tattooing as soon as the needle touched his body. “It was an amazing but strange moment,” she said. 

She knew from that moment it was the place she needed to be. 


Ann met Joe Black, a tattooist, through tattooing. Joe is her husband and the man she will spend the rest of her days with. 

“My family wasn’t too happy, so Joe and I were left alone, which was difficult. In the first few years, we had to sleep where we worked and walk because we could not afford to ride in a jeep. Over time, and by God’s grace, we overcame it all. Ann said, “For the record, my relationship with family is wonderful now.” 

Only a few women could or would dare become tattoo artists when Ann was just starting. 

She is well-known for her large pieces. 

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Ann Savage

Ann recalls that despite her talent, she received much criticism, mainly because her gender was a concern, as men had dominated largely the tattoo industry. 

She remembered an incident where a tattoo artist asked her to judge a competition. Her presence was not well received. 

“I’ve constantly been bullied because I am female. The tattoo artist did not acknowledge my presence at tattoo competitions. He would shake hands and welcome all judges but me. He would ignore me. Joe stood by her side and told her that she deserved to attend. 

Ann and Joe decided, after this incident, to launch their tattoo convention in Cebu called “Savage Ink.” This convention is the largest tattoo convention not only in Cebu but also in the Philippines. 

She wanted to be known, so she enlisted the aid of her husband. 

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Ann Savage, Joe Black, and their kids.

With her talent, skills, and years of experience, Ann can now say that female tattoo artists today are not subjected to the same kind of discrimination. 

“The challenges that I face today as female tattoo artists have nothing to do with my gender since the industry has become more accepting and open,” she said.


Ann’s motherhood is the most impressive thing that she has done. 

Ann and Joe are parents to five children: Rhiann is 14, Liam is 10, Nadiah is 8, Alex is 5, and Nailah is 3.

As a mother of a tattoo artist, Ann received her fair share of unwelcoming comments. 

Many parents will view her differently because of the tattoos she has on her body. And her work as a female artist tattoo is still considered taboo by some. 

“Other mothers perceive me in a certain light because of my tattoos, and they question my ability as a mother to my children,” Ann explained that she is not a stay-at-home mom because she has to be in the office to tattoo her clients. However, Ann spends time with her family to maintain a work-life balance. 

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Ann Savage, with her children.

Ann’s busy schedule ensures that her children always remain her top priority, even if it means dragging them all together to the studio to spend time together. She feels safe knowing they are only with her. 

“Sometimes, we go on weekend dates, and I take my kids to the studio. Recently, I have reduced the time I spend tattooing to be able to spend more time with my children. While it’s hard to say no to clients asking for your time, they know you have a priority in mind: my kids. “They will always be first,” she added. 

Ann is a mother who also has tattoos. She wants her children to be resilient. They must overcome any obstacle and keep trying, no matter what. 

“I won’t always be there for them, especially as they grow up and become their person. It may sound harsh, but it’s just the way life is. “We will never know for how long we can secure our children’s future or protect them,” she said.

Ann believes that being a mom is about securing her children’s future and ensuring they can stand on their two feet one day. 

Her message for all MOTHERS 

 “Never feel ashamed of doing what you enjoy, even when the world tells you otherwise. If you feel proud that you didn’t do anything wrong and climbed mountains and swam in deep oceans to reach where you are to provide for your loved ones, you should be. “Be your number one fan,” she said. 

Ann Savage, 34, is a proud Cebuana and mother of five.

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