Welcome to Seven Minutes in Heaven, GO Magazine’s interview series that profiles a different queer babe each day, by asking them seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.
I have so much respect for tattoo artists — they literally pour their creativity into other people’s bodies. They give people the ability to feel more empowered, embodied, and beautiful. So when the chance came up to interview queer tattoo artist Char McGaughy for Seven Minutes in Heaven, I couldn’t resist. Her work paints a realistic visual on people’s skin, using bold lines and incredible shading. She works out of her own tattoo shop in Dallas called Gold Dust Tattoos and Fine Arts.
Get to know more about McGaughy’s creative process in our interview.
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Char McGaughy: Char McGaughy; artist & owner of Gold Dust Tattoos & Fine Art in Dallas, TX.
GO: What is the driving force behind your career/activism?
CM: Honestly, I’m a workaholic and am likely too ambitious for my own good. I’m constantly seeking new ways to grow and working toward achieving more. It’s just in my nature. I set a goal for myself that I wanted to open my own shop by the time I was 30 and I did it. Gold Dust has been going strong for almost 4 years and I’m already thinking of what I want to do next career-wise.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
CM: I’m fortunate to live in a city that has a thriving local art scene of which I’m very connected. I know many incredibly talented and creative artists; I attend their shows and keep in touch with them in person and on social media. It’s very non-competitive and we all share the belief that there’s space for all of us to succeed as artists. If I’m struggling to find inspiration, I’ll connect with an artist friend or find a local show to attend. I also take a painting class from a great teacher, alongside some fabulous women. This holds me accountable to creating regularly.
My wife and I live in on White Rock Lake in Dallas, which is a gorgeous neighborhood — very nature-centered and quiet. If I need to re-center myself and work through the stress and chaos of everyday life, I’ll take a bike ride or a long walk with my dogs around the lake. It helps me refocus my energy and get to a more creative place.
GO: How would you describe your tattoo style in three words?
CM: Detailed, innovative, realistic.
GO: Why do you think it’s so important to have queer-centric events and spaces?
CM: I absolutely love gay culture. I started going to the gay clubs in Dallas long before I was old enough. Even though I was up to no good, I developed an appreciation for our community. I’m super-into drag shows and I just enjoy being with my people and celebrating who we are. We’ve made great gains toward a more equal place in society, but I believe there’s still a need for LGBT people to have a safe place to gather and be ourselves. And even when we finally are seen as fully equal to straight, cis people, we should never let go of the history and culture that makes us special as a community.
GO: What music are you listening to lately?
CM: Imagine Dragons is one of my new favorite bands. I know I’m late to the game on this. “Thunder” is one of their songs I especially love. As a poor kid who grew up under less than ideal circumstances, I relate to the message of finding success despite the negativity from critics.
GO: Where can people find you?
My shop is located on Lower Greenville in Dallas, TX — Gold Dust Tattoos & Fine Art.