Tucked back from the road on Houston Street is a little burrow that houses Brass Rabbit, a tattoo studio owned by tattoo artist Kacy Epperson.
A tiny pack of creative dynamite Epperson grew up in Henrietta, Oklahoma spending her school years there and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a bit. She worked as a photographer until she became burnt out but continued to do occasional commission artwork throughout the years.
“My dream job would have been to be part of some kind of cartoon on adult swim.” Epperson laughed. “Like I said, dream. I am not tech savvy in anyway; I have no clue what all goes into animation. I guess I would have learned that if I went to school for it. I moved to Sherman a little over almost 11 years ago. I'm not super close with my family. They are scattered all over the states, I see the close ones when I can, mostly all my mothers side. I'm not married. Just a boyfriend and two mischievous dogs that are my babies.”
Epperson moved to Sherman when she was 23. She had just retired from playing in a band. While she was drawing a lot, she felt like she needed to do something that had worth.
She began searching for her next step.
“At that time, I was baking cookies at a local bakery and checking people out at Petsmart and I just wanted to f--- draw (or die),” she said. “I had gotten a couple tattoos and I loved the idea of being a tattoo artist, but I had no idea where to start. I had never seen any tattoo shows or any of that and after some research I realized I needed to go to some tattoo shops and ask for an apprenticeship.”
Epperson found herself relying on a good friend who was friends of the owner of Modified Design. She went in and met with the owner, hit it off and they gave her an apprenticeship.
“We don't talk much anymore, but I am forever thankful for the opportunity he gave me and the friends and life that was a product of that job. I worked there for 5 years. It's some of the best memories I have and it's a really great shop to this day with some really fantastic artists. I respect each and every one of them,” added Epperson
Epperson holds immense pride in her work, even as her own worst critic. It's her customers that matter most to what she is creating.
“Maybe I'll be most proud of the last tattoo I do when my hands are riddled with arthritis and I'm smoking my millionth cigarette and I just peacefully pass away the moment I finish. I will say this, when a healed tattoo comes in that you did what seems like a thousand years ago, and it's still solid, that's the money right there. That's when you can feel proud,” added Epperson
Kacy opened Brass Rabbit six years ago this June.
Her father passed away a few years before and she when she opened the shop she named it after a memory of a story he used to read her. She has seen the business side as her greatest obstacle admitting that it adds a lot to her plate while taking away from her passion of doing actual art.
“It's like you just want to sit there and do a damn tattoo but there are so many things that you have to have done before you get to have fun. I run everything on the business side 100% by myself, and I'm starting to learn that's a little too tough when I'm also tattooing everyday and dealing with my own clients needs. But, you live and you learn and I've learned to ask for help! Help is good and it keeps my soul from slipping out of my body into the depths of business hell.” said Epperson
She recently started experimenting with abstract tattoos on her bravest and luckiest clients. The tattoos are created off the cuff, but under pressure with designs of various shapes, sizes and colors.
“It's like a game to see how straight I can make a line or how round I can make a circle without any stencil,” she said. “Basically it's a real challenge and it strengthens the ole pea rolling around in my head. Not to mention, it's fun as hell.”
Working as a business in a small town she finds it hard to be able to just do the work she wants to do, like any other business you have to please your customer. She sees herself as a people pleaser and she is on board with Pintrest but she is at the point where she sees herself seasoned enough for people to come to her open to her ideas.
“I'm like a steak that has been beaten and marinated now I'm working on that season so everyone thinks I'm tasty and wants to come back for some Kacy Epperson seconds,” she said.
Epperson does sell original artwork and mostly prints.
“I designed all the shop merch we have now, but we will have more designs soon that some of the other artists will have part in!” said Epperson.
Brass Rabbit Tattoo has 4 tattoo artist including Epperson: Chris Hale, Tommy Hiler and Vincent Bean as well as one apprentice, Tanner Dyer.