Ink Master

Ferris graduate inks her way to success

by Published: Mar 20, 2013

INK’d: Sonya Grenell, Ferris State alumna and tattoo artist, works on a piece at her downtown tattoo studio Lighttouch Tattoo.  Photo By: Eric Trandel | Photographer

INK’d: Sonya Grenell, Ferris State alumna and tat­too artist, works on a piece at her down­town tat­too stu­dio Lighttouch Tattoo. Photo By: Eric Trandel | Photographer

Ferris State alumna and Big Rapids based tat­too artist, Sonya Grenell, is mak­ing a name for her­self one tat at a time.

Often, when peo­ple think of tat­too par­lors, they imme­di­ately think of dirty estab­lish­ments, biker gangs and shady char­ac­ters; most of the time the real­ity is far from the per­cep­tion, as most are clean and well-organized businesses.

One tat­too stu­dio that fol­lows the lat­ter is Lighttouch Tattoo, located in down­town Big Rapids and ran by Bulldog alum Sonya Grenell.

Grenell has been tat­too­ing for 10 years, three years full­time since her grad­u­a­tion from the graphic design pro­gram at Ferris. She took over Lighttouch in 2010 along with fel­low tat­too artist and fiancé Jesse Cocking; since then she has never looked back.

“This is my pas­sion,” Grenell said. “I love to know that some­body would come to me to get some of my work done and wear it for­ever. The only goal I have now is to keep learn­ing new tech­niques and to keep build­ing my skill.”

Grenell has used what she learned in her time as a Bulldog to bet­ter her­self not only as an artist, but also as a busi­ness owner, as she books out months in advance due to the pop­u­lar­ity of her work.

“Ferris’ graphic design pro­gram not only teaches you about design, but also about busi­ness,” Grenell said. “The mar­ket­ing classes have helped a lot as a busi­ness owner, and I also incor­po­rate all of my graphic design skills into my tat­too compositions.”

With Lighttouch gain­ing more and more pop­u­lar­ity, it is easy to find stu­dents who either know about the stu­dio or are car­ry­ing one of their works of art.

This is the case for Ferris senior accounting/finance stu­dent and stand­out for­ward for Ferris’ men’s bas­ket­ball team Daniel Sutherlin. Sutherlin had the first two of his six tat­toos done at Lighttouch.

“The work they do there is very good, and I enjoyed my expe­ri­ence there,” Sutherlin said. “It was a really friendly envi­ron­ment and they are well-organized. I like the fact that they really care about their work and main­tain­ing cus­tomer satisfaction.”

With the future look­ing very bright for both Lighttouch and its own­ers, Grenell knows it takes hard work and devo­tion to be suc­cess­ful in this industry.

“I don’t think a tat­tooist can be suc­cess­ful with­out devot­ing 100 per­cent of their time to tat­too­ing,” Grenell said. “I basi­cally eat, breathe and sleep tattoos.”