Jen Bean was a part of the tattoo world behind the scenes before she became an artist. The former event coordinator of the Richmond Tattoo, Art, and Music Festival is known for her detailed black and white portraits and nature designs.
One time, the Loose Screw tattoo artist tattooed a portrait of her fiancé on her father-in-law. Keep reading to learn how it went, what Jen’s likes to order from Galaxy Diner and more.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up about an hour outside of Richmond in King William County.
What brought you to Richmond?
There really isn’t much out where I used to live, so naturally, I had to venture into the city. The first time I ever even drove to Richmond was when I turned in my application at Loose Screw Tattoo. I started my apprenticeship in 2016, started tattooing under that in 2017, then finally became fully licensed in 2019.
When did you join the Loose Screw Team?
I joined Loose Screw Tattoo in 2014 as Jesse Smith’s assistant. I moved up to become the shop manager, then on to become Jesse’s apprentice.
What drew you to the craft?
I always had a love for art. As funny as it sounds though, I remember listening to Good Charlotte as a kid and looking through my brother’s AP (Alternative Press) magazines. All of the bands pictured were covered in tattoos, and I thought that looked so cool.
What are your favorite kind of pieces to work on/what’s your tattoo style?
I really love doing portraits or anything realistic in black and grey, especially flowers. I also love doing small line work tattoos.
How do you like to practice your craft?
I spent a lot of time prior to tattooing working on my charcoal and pencil portraits. Sometimes the best way to practice for a tattoo portrait is to have drawn it before. But once you learn the fundamentals of tattooing, it’s all about continuing to learn new techniques and working to advance your art to the next level.
Where are your favorite Richmond restaurants?
Since I don’t actually live in Richmond, I spend 99% of my time in the city in Carytown. I LOVE Galaxy Diner. My favorite is the chicken caesar salad and I like to add bacon, feta, and kalamata olives. If I’m not there, I definitely love Mary Angela’s.
What are your other favorite places in Richmond to spend your free time?
Some of my best friends in the world work at the shop, so if I’m not there tattooing or talking with them, I’m home hanging out with my son, Leo, and fiancé, Dylon.
What has been your favorite moment in your tattoo career?
My favorite all time moment was when I got to tattoo a portrait of my fiancé on my father-in-law. The pressure was really on, because if I didn’t nail it, not only would I have to see it all the time, but I would have NEVER heard the end of it from my soon-to-be-husband. When it was over, I felt like I’d been holding my breath for the last four hours. It was so rewarding at the end when I got to see both of them laughing.
What are you looking forward to at this year’s Richmond Tattoo, Art, and Music Festival?
Since 2016, I have been the Event Coordinator. Every year, I have been behind the scenes, helping them put it all together. So even though I love the convention and consider it to be almost “my baby” as well, I am excited to just be on the other side of it, tattooing.
Follow Jen on Instagram at @jenbean.art.