Local artist Calli Loskill shares her talents to help others heal.
Since Calli Loskill was a young girl, she’s had a creative spirit. Growing up in Jefferson City, Calli was first introduced to art at a young age by her parents, Gara and Jim Loskill, who discovered that it would keep her busy during important quiet moments such as church.
“My mom, being a drama teacher, she understood that some kids learn differently,” Loskill says. “My parents definitely raised me in a creative environment and they encouraged all forms of creativity.”
At 8 years old, Loskill was already helping her parents create stage sets for high school drama classes and local theater in the family’s free time. But it also happens that Calli was able to gain artistic inspiration from her childhood neighbor and local artist Mary Ann Hall, who helped expand art in JC by founding the Art Bazaar studio to showcase local artists.
“I loved getting to see her creative displays in her home because there was always a painting or drawing that she was doing, and art was sort of magic to me as a kid,” Loskill says.
“Drawing was my first love — it’s what gave me that spark,” she adds. “It has always been the direction I was going to go. In high school, I was involved in anything and everything art related.”
“Drawing was my first love, it was what gave me that spark.”Calli Loskill
Since then, there’s rarely been a day that goes by for Loskill without working with art. After graduating from Truman State University with a Bachelor of Studio Art degree, Loskill set out to combine her love for art and her passion for helping others when she discovered the therapeutic aspects of tattooing.
“If you talk to someone who has a bunch of tattoos, sometimes you’ll hear them say something like, ‘I got to get ink therapy’ or ‘tattoo therapy,’” she says. “I think that kind of idea is why I wanted to do this job. Once I got into tattoos, I realized how deep that goes. Everything from covering self-harm, car accident scars, breast cancer scars, we do a lot of memorializing. It’s like taking memories and parts of life that are hard and giving that power back to people.”
While there are other careers in art that involve working with people, Loskill loves the important human element of being a tattoo artist.
“I wanted my job to incorporate art but specifically do things for people and give them something that they find healing or take comfort in,” Loskill says. “I really wanted to use what I had to help other people. I saw tattooing as that opportunity because there’s a million reasons why someone would get a tattoo, but a big part of it is making people feel better about themselves and their circumstances.”
“I really wanted to use what I had to help other people.”Calli Loskill
Today, she is able to follow her passion of creating and helping others. Although Loskill is currently immersed in a career of tattooing, she’s recently focused on the healing aspect of cosmetic tattoos as well.
“I have been recommended by surgeons here who work specifically with breast cancer patients, which is amazing,” Loskill says. “It’s that next step of recovery. After the reconstruction, I complete that process so they feel like they’ve gotten everything back physically.”
Although she has experience with cosmetic tattooing, working with those overcoming cancer really hits home with each client.
“My true interest and passion for wanting to do cosmetics comes from my own grandmother,” she says. “It was a different time when she had breast cancer, but she said she would have definitely done it to cover up her scar tissue and she thought it was a great thing. That’s what opened my eyes.”
Surprisingly, Loskill’s introduction into working with breast reconstruction came to her by chance.
“I’ve always had that interest, but wasn’t sure where the entrance to that world would be,” she explains. “I have a good friend that I’ve tattooed many times who had gone through transgender reconstruction surgery who needed cosmetic tattoos. When their reconstructive surgeon heard from them as a happy client, he began recommending me.”
But she doesn’t just stop there. She also works with other areas of the body, helping to cover up things like hair loss or scars, and she’s even seen an increase in people wanting to get medical awareness tattoos.
“If you have a life-threatening condition of some type, sometimes a tattoo instead of a bracelet can be really helpful,” she says.
For Loskill, helping others has always come naturally, but by creating confidence and healing through art, it has allowed her and her clients to enter a new chapter of their lives both boldly and bravely.
“I think it’s empowering — people need to know it’s an option and it’s not scary,” Loskill says. “You have to imagine how it would feel to try and rebuild, but I’m here for it.”