History


Rainfire Tattoo Lineage

Katia Somerville is the owner and an artist at Rainfire Tattoo, and opened the business at the current Vancouver location in 2012. She started her journey into tattooing in 2006, when she was mentored by Rowan Kimsey (Rain), who currently works in Portland OR.

Katia has successfully given apprenticeships to two talented tattoo artists (Vanessa Dong and Faye Basravi) and is currently mentoring her new apprentice, Kylie Faelan. Our artists’ lineage can be traced back over a century ago to legendary tattooists, Bert Grimm and his apprentice Don Deaton (founder and owner of Sea Tramp Tattoo, which is now the oldest existing tattoo shop in Portland, OR). See below for more information on our history and legacy.

Learn about the Tattoo Journey of Katia Somerville:


I had an eye for business as a child, walking around the neighbourhood with hand-drawn pictures to trade for cookies. During the last years of highschool, I started a business breeding and selling reptiles around the Okanagan, and then achieved a Bachelors of Education in year 2000. Teaching children for almost 10 years in Vancouver, I gravitated towards technology, and specialized in Microsoft and Photoshop programs, keyboarding, website and game creation, and photography.

In my spare time, I felt drawn to creating art on the body and began bodypainting at parties and festivals. Soon afterwards, at 2006 Burning Man in the Body Art’s Guild, I connected with my mentor, and my life was changed forever. When I was offered a tattoo apprenticeship with Rain, it felt natural and right. The further I went, the stronger the passion grew.

Starting the apprenticeship in 2006, I taught during the days and tattooed in the evenings as well as attended conventions, tattooed overseas, and travelled often to Portland. Then Rain moved to BC for about a year and we worked together from my clean and private home studio in Vancouver. I was getting busy with only word-of-mouth advertising, and an increasing social media presence. With tattooing, I found a love like no other.

From 2007-2011, business picked up substantially, and I decided to look for a space to separate my home life from growing business. I had quit teaching and was enrolled in a full-time EI/government funded business course. I experimented working in some other Vancouver tattoo shops, but quickly realized my desire to run things differently. After searching for months for the perfect space, I fell in love with the studio that is currently Rainfire Tattoo.

For the first couple of years, I tattooed out of the studio mostly alone with an apprentice and part time receptionist. Then I started to build a team, and my style evolved to geometry and blackwork.

Now, many years later, I have had the honour to work alongside many amazing artists who’ve come through the doors of Rainfire Tattoo. You can find all current artist information on the artist page of this website.

As business thrived, I desired to draw from my own imagination rather than trying to visualize what others asked for. Therefore, I began to create original designs that new clients can apply for via our Rainfire Tattoo Monthly Newsletter (custom designs still offered to select returning clients). My art is always evolving; right now leaning towards a more organic feel, mixed with geometry.

In 2019, I went through a difficult yet successful surgery, and decided it was time to hire a full time studio manager. There have been many receptionists over the years, however it was time to find someone to help run this business with a passion.

Now it’s 2020 and things have been really moving along better than ever after the Covid-19 shut down. I am so grateful to have found Molly, the studio manager, who started Sept 2019. I also have an apprentice and a team of amazingly talented, kind and friendly artists. We make an inclusive and wonderful tattoo family and team. Hopefully you can come get a tattoo and visit us:)

< For more information about the business and how it has evolved, please check out past newsletter issues.

—- Thank you for reading. —-
<3 Katia Somerville

Katia:

Molly, studio manager:

Molly, studio manager

Rainfire Team photos:

In photos above: Paul Bevan, Bekki Lunalana, Faye Basravi, Molly Doherty, Katia Somerville, Ashley Apok, Felix Addison, and Kylie Faelan.

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