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Salem artist offers mini tattoos for a mini price

Suzana Stracener’s ginkgo leaf tattoo from the Mini Tattoo event.

Danielle Baca is in the business of helping people take a lifelong plunge.

Baca is the sole owner and artist at My Living Canvas, a tattoo parlor tucked away in Pringle Plaza downtown Salem. Once a month, she holds $30 mini tattoo events.

“I established My Living Canvas Tattoo in 2011,” Baca said. Three years later, she started hosting the mini tattoo events. Originally, it was hosted a couple of times a year but became a monthly event in 2017, the most recent event was on Oct. 6.

“The mini tattoos started off as small and spooky designs, in the spirit of Friday the 13th,” Baca said. Since then, the event has evolved into over 300 small tattoos of simple outlines, floral designs and pop culture art.

They are called mini tattoos because the design must be at most three inches by three inches. The designs are simple linework or font in black and gray only.

For Baca, the best part is the people who come from all over the state for her events. One such participant, Suzanna Stracener, a patron of My Living Canvas, could not have been more excited about her first mini tattoo: a bat on her inner elbow, tattooed by Baca.

Upon seeing Baca, Stracener began to bend her elbow, making the simple bat flap his wings. Baca said she was hoping the placement would give the tattoo that effect. 

Stracener believes that all tattoos should be meaningful. She attended Baca’s shop in hopes of getting something small and personal to her: ginkgo leaves.

“They were my grandfather’s favorite tree,” Stracener said; The ginkgo leaves remind her of her grandfather who had a degree in forestry.

The ginkgo leaves will be tattoo number 14 for Stracener. Some of her others include a dragon, a fairy, a fox and a cross.

“When I was 18, and in the military, I decided one day that, hey, I’m gonna get a tattoo,” Stracener said; she’s been addicted ever since.

Baca only has time for 60-80 tattoos per session, and they are given on a first-come, first-served basis. The doors open at 11 a.m., and sign-ups must be done in person at the shop.

After their name is on the list, clients are encouraged to wander around and come back to keep the shop less crowded.

Oregon law requires recipients of any tattoos to be 18 or older. Since tattoos last forever, some may say 18 is too young to make a lifelong commitment. Stracener has no such worries.

“I hope it’s for forever, I paid a lot of money for it,” she said with a laugh.

My Living Canvas Tattoo Studio is located at 392 Liberty St., S.E., Salem. To book an appointment visit For upcoming mini tattoo events see @mylivingcanvastattoostudio on Facebook.

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