Meet twins, Victoria aka Little Brummie and Charlotte aka Gin Wolf. Both are creative, fashion loving, tattoo artists from Halifax, NS. I visited them to check out their art filled North End Studio and discuss family, art and fashion all while getting a delicate script tattoo from Victoria.
Tell us a little bit about Crooked Finger?
We opened Crooked Finger Studio in April of 2022. Since our early twenties, we have dreamed of owning some sort of communal art space together, though it always took on different forms in our imagination over the years … would it be some combination of a cafe / gallery/ vintage clothing store / studio space /artist hang out?
In its current form, Crooked Finger operates primarily as a private tattoo studio. Three tattoo artists work here, and the loft functions as Vic’s textile studio, where she does her tufting work. We enjoy hosting guest artists and gatherings with other local shops at the studio, and hope to create more events to foster community here.
We named the studio after our father, who passed away in 2020. He had an insanely warped index finger with a chunk of wood trapped in it - you could roll the wood chip around under the skin! The name is humorous and weird and we feel like it honours his mischievous spirit. He was always incredibly supportive of both of us choosing to follow an artistic path, and for that we are so grateful!
Tell us a bit about each of your backgrounds? What inspired you both to get into tattooing?
V: I went to NSCAD and graduated with an interdisciplinary degree. After graduating I got into textiles, which started by painting customized clothing. This led into an interest in surface pattern design and repeat pattern, and I taught myself block printing and screen printing techniques.
I started my brand Little Brummie in 2017, which involved mostly handmade textile home goods. Over the course of the pandemic, I found my love for tufting, a new medium which fit perfectly into my existing brand.
As far as tattooing, it was something I had been interested in for years. I was always focused on my own practice, and tattooing isn’t something you can half ass, so I didn’t pursue it until we opened Crooked Finger together and the opportunity presented itself.
I’m very grateful that Charlotte was willing to mentor me! Though tattooing and textiles might not seem remotely related, I find similarities between the two. These two mediums are tied together by my love for surface design … Whether that surface is a rug, or human skin! I get a lot of inspiration for tattoo designs from looking at old needlework patterns, illustrations in antique books, and vintage embroidery transfers.
C: I went to NSCAD and graduated with an interdisciplinary BFA which focused mainly on film, painting and drawing, and art history. After a year of traveling, I came back to Halifax and tried to make a living off of painting portraits, and volunteered in the art department for local film shoots to try and break into that industry.
I was kind of lost but seeking an avenue in which I could support myself through my art. I don’t remember if there was one particular thing that inspired me to get into tattooing, but I do remember that winter, working on a portfolio with the determination to go out and get an apprenticeship at a shop in the Spring. That’s what I did and here I am seven years later with my own studio.
How would you describe each other’s personal fashion style?
V: Charlotte definitely dresses more “tough” than me. When I imagine Charlotte dressing for a typical day tattooing in the studio, I picture her in Dr. Marten boots, black jeans, black oversized tee shirt and some fun, country punk accessories. Western trash vibes, lots of tassels, baseball cap, camo!
C: I would describe Vic’s style as Maud Lewis but make it fahsuuun. Lots of bright colours, mixing patterns and prints. Whenever I’m thrifting and see a super loud article of clothing that nobody else would try to pull off, I’ll grab it for her. Most of her wardrobe is second hand and up-cycled and going to VV or Frenchy's is one of our favourite things to do together.
What’s your favourite piece of clothing that you have ever owned?
V: This is such a hard question and honestly I don’t think I can narrow it down! Jackets are my downfall. I have so many! I have a light weight, bright red embroidered jacket from Elsie’s that I have loved for many years. Another top contender is a tailored houndstooth jacket that my mum wore at her wedding in the 70’s. It works with just about any look.
C: I can’t choose one favourite piece of clothing ! That’s too hard. I have a lot of jackets that I love, my favourite jacket is a fringe suede jacket that I got from Kings Pier Vintage.
You both like jackets. Thats very twin-like! What’s the most fun thing about being a twin?
V: I would say the most fun thing about being a twin is just having someone you know so well, who also knows you so well! One of the typical twin questions we often get asked is if we can read each other’s minds. Of course we can’t, but I know Charlotte so well that I can basically assume her reaction to something, whether it’s to a movie, some song playing on the radio, what she’ll be thinking in a certain interaction, what memory or thought some visual or verbal cue will prompt in her mind. It gives us a certain cheeky nature, like we are always sharing an inside joke.
C: The most fun thing, or the best thing about being a twin is just having someone who knows and understands you so completely. And for us both being creative people, it’s awesome to collaborate and create something together with the close bond that we have, if some constructive criticism is taken the wrong way for example, we get over it really quickly.
All photos by Anna Gilkerson
For more information about Victoria and Charlotte, follow them on instagram at @gin.wolf and @vbrumwellart, or for more information about crooked finger studio visit their website.