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A 9-Year-Old Tattoo Artist?

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Why would anyone let a fifth grader give a tattoo? Watch the video and find out!


Lilly Hibbs' mother is a body piercer and her father is a tattoo artist--and the fifth grader says she wants to follow in her dad's footsteps. Tattoos, she says, are her passion.

"Monkey see, monkey do," said Stephen Hibbs, Lilly's dad. "I guess she watches us everyday she wants to be a part of it."

"Most parents would say, 'I can't believe your kid wants to be a tattoo artist.' I say, 'I can only be lucky if my kid turns out to be a tattoo artist,'" Stephen said.

Lilly often accompanies her father to his job at Suffer City Tattoos in Dallas, shadowing him while he tattoos clients. Lilly gave her father her first tattoo when she was just seven years old--it was Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants.

She and her dad posted a demonstration video on YouTube, and soon, Lilly had her first client. A man drove all the way from North Carolina to get a tattoo by the pint-sized artist. "He wanted an anchor, so she drew him an anchor," Stephen said. "He loved it."

However, Lilly doesn't work alone. The needle is pretty hefty, so her dad holds it steady while she draws.

She charges only $5 for each tattoo, but she is saving up for a goal: A gigantic plastic gingerbread man.

Check out the video to watch Lilly give her first tattoo.


Do you think this is irresponsible parenting or a harmless pastime?

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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Spicey August 8, 2008, 11:42 PM

I think he’s a parent who is trying to support the artistic endeavors of his child. Any parent wants to see their child grow and flourish. It seems to me that Lilly’s parents are going the extra mile to make her dreams a reality. I applaud them for their efforts.

Katie August 9, 2008, 2:10 AM

I think it’s great! Her parents are supporting her in something that she wants to do. It’s a great way to bond with her dad as well.
I don’t see this as any different than a framer teaching his son (or daughter) how to use a hammer, or a child taking music lessons. There are plenty of tattoo artists that started in their teen years, why not start earlier if she has the chance?
I don’t think it’s irresponsible parenting OR a harmless pastime. I think it’s loving parents helping a child reach a stepping stone towards a career.

Terri August 9, 2008, 8:36 AM

I only have one word……Awesome!!!!!!! More Power to her and her famliy

Gilly August 9, 2008, 5:40 PM

Now we’re talking! Parents being supportive and encouraging their kids in a healthy dream! This girl is terrific and I wish her much happiness and success in her chosen artistic field!!

randy August 11, 2008, 5:31 AM

look at it this way she ( Lily ) is in apprentiship under her father, she could be doing OUTlaw tattoos in the garage and causing infections by using a gitar string and the motor out of a barber cliper

Tami August 11, 2008, 9:59 PM

I think this is great! You can tell she is having a great time and he’s being very patient with her. I agree with Katie that this is no different than a parent teaching their child something else (like riding a bike or flying a kite) I applaud them for letting her do what she wants and teaching her something new. And dad for being so brave! :)

K August 12, 2008, 11:31 AM

Totally cool… atleast they arent throwing her infront of a tv and ignoring her all day.

CRACKER August 12, 2008, 3:18 PM

i think it’s great to have your daughter involved in your work. it builds a better parent/daughter relationship. remember the comerical… it’s 10 o’clock.. do you know wher3e your kids are? i’ll bet a dime to a doughnut that they wont be saying that. keep up the great work raising your daughter

Pamela  August 13, 2008, 2:17 PM

Thank you guys for being so supportive. Lilly is very knowledgeable in the tattoo office. She was raised in the shop so she knows the do’s and dont’s. She is very careful and love what she does. She has been offered several spots on TV and has turned them all down. We are only here to love and support her. Thank you for supporting us!

Anna August 16, 2008, 4:22 AM

I feel deprived, my mom did support me with my art but she would never let me give her a tattoo today :(
more power to his parenting, i think it is awesome that he will always have a momentum of not only his daughter but of her first tattoo.

karen October 1, 2008, 12:36 PM

I think it is great. there is so much she has and will learn. health ans safty, handeling money, customer service, manageing a biz and so much more, I wish I could of done something like this when I was a kid, I alwyas wanted to go to work with my dad and learn how to build houses but her said I had to go to school and it was not ok to bring children on the job site, he was the boss…. so lilly keep on doing what you love and i wish I could see some of your work.

Melissa R January 27, 2009, 8:44 PM

I used to baby sity Lilly when she was a little thing. It’s so awesome to see her growing up to be like her dad. Rawk on!

Kabrina January 1, 2010, 10:08 AM

o==this is amazing! im very glad to see that she gets do do what makes her hapy, this is great encouragement!im comming here when im 18, getting my first tattoo by her! i want a lip tattoo also.. do you guys do that there??

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