Meet the stunning Cherie Matrix, a tattooed temptress, anti censorship feminist campaigner, proud mom, party girl and everything I could ever want to be when I grow up!
Please tell us a bit of background about yourself?
I’m a native Californian - born and grew up in orange county California and I think it still informs my style quite a bit. When I’ve got my hair up in a pony tail with the front pomped I’m pretty much textbook so cal white trash...well maybe except for the Kurt Geiger shoes and the Vivienne Westwood stuff!
My whole family is tattooed - my parents, siblings, and even my daughter - who is a suicide girl (of suicidegirls.com). I especially remember being down the long beach pike with my mom and dad and siblings one weekend when they were being tattooed - it was the day Elvis died. My family have always been good role models as far as body art as they are all nice sorted people with lots of beautiful ink.
I dabble in belly dancing as I think it’s probably the only sport that I’ll be able to excel in as I get older and curvier. used to do a lot of spoken word on the live art circuit and try to stop me debating about any issue I feel strongly about.
I’m also quite a crafty vixen. I’ve always crocheted and embroidered and have used my handicraft skills to also do hair extensions and dread locks.
As a feminist & anti censorship campaigner, tell us a bit about your beliefs.
It probably comes from my punk rock background - I was an Anaheim punker in the late 70s and even though I grew up respecting my family, I pretty much have a problem with any other sort of authority. The idea of someone else telling me what I can and can’t do, where I can and can’t go, and what I can and can’t read/watch/listen to is just completely foreign to me.
I will do anything to stand up for my right of free expression and access to any and all materials I’m interested in. I’m still a supporter of feminists against censorship - an activist group that has a pro sex stance. We have a book called ‘tales from the clit’ that I edited for them about 10 years ago but is still widely available.
What & when was your first tattoo?
My first tattoo was done when I was 14 at a shop that I think was called Brookhurst tattoo down on like Brookhurst and Broadway in Anaheim. I went in and got the tattoo by some old smelly guy that couldn’t stop shaking. A few weeks later I met the guy that owned the shop at a photo processing place and showed him the work - he was appalled as I guess the guy that did my first tattoo was just filling in. he didn’t offer to redo it though!
It was this experience that made me start seeking out the best in the business. And when my daughter wanted to get tattooed I urged her to get done by the best and she has 3 white tattoos by xed le head - who really is almost like family now. I always say he is the most important man in my life that I’m not sleeping with or related to by blood. A real soul mate.
Anyway, because that first tattoo was such a horrid experience I had it lasered off and never ever tell anyone what it was. Same with all my other lasered areas and cover ups - if I wanted people to know what I used to have I’d still have it!
What’s your current state of ink & mods?
Bob Roberts spider behind ear, chest a mix of stuff from Laguna tattoo includes a ‘sacred cupcake’, ‘repent’ under back of neck by Juan Puente, Mermaid on my side by Rhonda Hoelzer (re-inked by Xed now), Jailhouse fishbone on ribcage, Tibetan flame covering back by Lindsey Carmichael, Relentless across pubes by Jack Rudy & re-blacked by Xed Le Head, rose and cross bone on groin by Forrest curl, sacred heart on groin by Rhonda, Japanese stuff on leg , Tibetan skulls by Alex Binnie, Borneo rosette by Curley, white hand picked by Eric Rhieme, whole outside of right leg now finished by Xed Le Head. Day of the dead good luck butterfly on the inside of my right arm by Emilio at liberty tattoo in Gardena, Pure colour pink/red hibiscus flowers on right arm with vines by Zoe @ Into You, White star to match my daughter’s first tattoos by Xed Le Head and a long red slice wedge above my navel, Black swastika and red Tibetan flame from my navel to my clit by Xed, Pillar box red memorial 5 on my wrist for my friend Sonia 5 done by Steve at Uptown in Minneapolis, cherries on the back of my neck by Ian @ Into You, roses on my chest by Josh, diamond and Tibetan meditation hands on my left leg by Nicole at Frith St, Soho, Ears scalpelled by Dave Tusk, London, APRIL FOOL by lucky bastard...because I am!. White cherry blossoms on blocked out black tribal by Xed on whole upper left arm, wooden cross on my lower leg by MR X. Piercings - nothing special since I took out the rows of piercings on my arms that allowed me to tie them together. Two chest transdermals by Quentin @ kalima., removed, with sexy scars. Silicone star sub dermal implant in my right inner forearm by my pimp king Miguel from Irezumi studios in Zaragoza Spain. Vampire fangs by Mykal. Plus a Tit lift and other ‘work’.
How do you find people’s reactions to your ink (past & present)?
Reactions have changed over the years. I’ve always had the “what will happen when you get old” question. I used to say “all my friends will still be tattooed, its not like theirs will fade and I’ll be the only one left”. Now I just answer “I’m in my 40s - how much older do I need to get?”
A new reaction I do get though is during the summer when people see the extent of my work. A lot of comments are about how much it must have cost and how I must be rich. I am NOT rich. My day job is as a producer for Glue, the best digital ad agency in town, and I also still do hair extensions and dreadlocks as the hair police London affiliate when I can.
Did you design from scratch any of them yourself?
I designed nothing. I’m a born producer, built to tell people what to do - so I just kinda ‘direct’ my tattoos, but usually let the artist take the lead.
Any particularly notable bad / good experiences?
One notable session was at Laguna tattoo when Quinn was still working there. I went with my dad when I was back home visiting one time. My dad was getting a black tribal scorpion on the inside of his forearm and I was getting a winged heart as a symbol of my daughter. I just remember looking over, showing my dad the transfer on my shoulder and asking him if it looked good - then thinking how wrong; I must be the only person that gets tattooed with their parents. I wonder if my daughter thinks that nowadays?
As for bad experiences - it seems my tattoos always became an issue in whatever relationship I was in whether it was with blank bodied, people with a couple tattoos, or heavily tattooed people that still hid it from their family. A few years back I had an epiphany and realised to be happy I needed to only see people that were visibly tattooed and am currently madly in love and settled down with a toy boy that has Thumbelina tattooed on his neck.
Are there any particularly special ones?
My red 5 on my wrist is a memorial tattoo for my dear friend sonia5, the founder of hair police. She passed over a year ago when she was back home in Minneapolis. I went for the memorial service to say goodbye and while I was in town about 20 of us all got this same tattoo in memory of her.
It was a very bonding night as the few days leading up to it had been so emotional and jet-lagged, but that really sealed me to the place and the people and I miss them all so much. The tattoo artist was great and I want to go back and get more from him. The night he tattooed us all he had juniors setting up and tearing down in tandem as he moved around the shop from station to station.
Who and what are your influences? / Do you have any preferences for design in style, colour & shapes?
(Nuff said! – Vix)
Have tattoos ever stopped you from getting a job & similarly has a job ever stopped ever stopped you from getting tattooed?
I think my attitude and hatred of authority has stopped me getting more jobs than anything else. And yes, jobs stop me from getting the tattoos I want on a daily basis. I’d love to have ‘sideburns’ tattooed as it’s the only part of my face I don’t’ wear make up on but it would mean not being able to wear my hair in a pony tail at work - and I’m not really good with the whole morning shampoo and blow dry routine. Also would love my knuckles done but realise that might not happen ‘til I win the lottery or retire.
On some parts you’re on your fifth layer of ink, why? Are they regrets or simply a sign of growth?
Not really regrets I’m just not good with parts of my past or things that remind me of them. I have always hated old photos and refuse to look at them - same with my body. Not sure if its growth or denial. Its all just a journey though really isn’t it and everyone’s journey is different.
Whenever I see you’re always having something done, what is it for you personally about the tattoo experience that keeps you going back for more?
The decoration. Some of them symbolise things but mostly just decoration.
Aside from tattoos what other body mods do you have / have had?
I have all the usual piercings, nothing special, and my ears were scalpelled by Dave Tusk - I love them. I tried out transdermals by Quentin at Kalima in Worthing and even though they healed wonderfully they just weren’t me so I ‘retired’ them. I’ve got a silicone sub dermal implant by Miguel from Irezumi in Zaragoza Spain. Years ago Simon put a row of surface rings down both my arms for a photo shoot - to tie my arms together - and I tried my hardest to let them heal and when I finally took them out I still wore the scars with pride for years.
Any more planned for the future?
Tattoos - I’d love more by Nichole and Lucky Bastard to balance out the over abundance of Xed work on me. I think if I’d started with the Xed style I could continue but I started way too young without a plan. Sometimes I’m so jealous of the people that have waited and planned - but that’s just not me - the rest of my life isn’t planned, so why should my body art be?
Do you ever think you will lose interest in getting more tattoos?
No, but I may stop because I’ve achieved balance on my body finally. Because of this I’m constantly fascinated with sci-fi ideas of how nano-tech can be used to program body art.