I cannot remember a single instance where I have had an such an innate longing to embrace a member of the same sex and instantly vie for their attention like a starved puppy. As I met Gheybin Comish at Nobrow Coffee Werks for an interview, the winter chill outside its doors didn’t stop me from envisioning her and I dangling our feet in the water of a pool in the summertime. Sharing our life stories, wearing gently worn vintage floral bathing suits, drinking out of colored straws and praying for Monroe-like physiques we would never be able to obtain. Comish is that woman that you want to take with you everywhere because she fits you without the hassle of trying her on. As an aspiring tattooer and a Utah Valley University graduate, she is still another relatively undiscovered artist in Salt Lake that is slowly making a name for herself.
Comish is well known for her line work drawings with watercolors bleeding into one another. Regarding why she decided to get into tattooing and not just stick to being a pen and ink and watercolor artist, she says, “I had a lot of people ask me to do tattoo designs for them. Enough people asked for images, and I thought that I am not really tough enough for [tattooing] … I don’t fit into that … I don’t have that image … but people are so supportive that they like what I do, so it just took off on its own.”
Comish was immersed in art and encouraged to create at a very young age by her mother, who also happens to be the nation’s leading oil painter of Santa Claus imagery. Comish was taught to be comfortable in her own technique and confident that she was enjoying what she was creating. Comish’s secondary motivational mentor was her high school art teacher: “My high school art teacher taught me about clichés and how to avoid them,” she says. “You have to take risks to make good art because if you don’t, it’s boring.”
Comish touched upon what has been inspiring her lately—she excitedly says, “I cannot stop drawing mermen!” She then proceeded to take out her sketchbooks that she brings with her everywhere, enthusiastically showing me pages and pages of mermen that were completed with black-ink lines, watercolors or colored pencils, as well as depictions of other animal life that she is currently fixated on. Comish points out her overall inspiration—she says, “I like the primitive act of fighting. I am into Inuit things and figures. I like the plump, fleshy figures.” I could not help but feel privileged to see notes, doodles and observations that she takes with her everywhere, a private insight to her whimsical imagination. Comish’s talent runs deep, and when she casually mentions that she was a child-prodigy pianist, I don’t bat an eye and enviously mumble under my breath something to the effect of, “Oh, of course you were.”