MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A young woman known for her exceptional skills as a tattoo artist died unexpectedly last week.

Maureen Richard was known as “Mo,” and she literally left her mark on hundreds of Minnesotans.

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“She just would do whatever was asked with a smile on her face,” said co-worker Emi Monson. “It takes a different kind of human being to have that kind of patience, for sure.”

Mo Richard (credit: Richard Family)

Mo was working at Jackalope Tattoo Shop in Minneapolis last Sunday when she suffered an aortic aneurysm. She was 31 years old.

The owner of Jackalope says Mo played a major role in the success of the tattoo shop.

“If you meet her for 10 seconds and you realize that she’s just a woman of passion and of talent,” said shop owner
Bambi, who is also a tattoo artist.

Some of Mo Richard’s tattoo work (credit: Mo Richard)

She says Mo had a distinctive style, strong technical skills and creativity. Much of her work featured nature as well as dark, fantasy figures — but Mo was always upbeat.

“She was into like all this dark and spooky stuff,” Bambi said. “The girl never had a real rough day in her life, you know? [laughs]”

All of the tattoo artists at Jackalope are women. Katie Kroeck worked in the chair next to Mo.

“She just knew herself. I mean, I don’t think Mo ever apologized for who she was at all,” Katie said. “All that confidence and calmness in being just who you are, I think being around that inspires you to just be who you are and more confident.”

Tattoo Artist Emi Monson says she admired Mo’s skills, and the way she interacted with clients.

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Mo Richard as a young girl (credit: Richard Family)

“She went above and beyond with every piece. She’d find the good in anybody, and so she was just an amazing human being that made me want to be a better human being,” Emi said.

Mo’s husband, Sam Richard, says she had a love of art and nature that began as a child.

“She would be, like, knitting grass together or, like, drawing in the dirt with a stick,” Sam said.

He says he was recovering from a painful breakup when he met Mo.

(credit: Richard Family)

“We just started talking, and we never stopped talking,” he said.

Sam says Mo described her style as a tattoo artist as “creepy-cute.” She gave him a tattoo inspired by his favorite horror movie.

“This is the second color portrait she ever did. It’s from the 1977 Dario Argento horror movie ‘Suspiria.’ It’s my favorite film,” Sam said.

Sam Richard shows his ‘Suspiria’ tattoo, created by Mo Richard (credit: CBS)

The external markings she left on him do not compare to how she changed him on the inside.

“Being around her softened me a little bit, it opened my heart in a way,” he said. “I realize now that I didn’t know I could love so strongly. I didn’t know I could love so fiercely until I met her, until she unlocked that part of me,” Sam said.

Mo died on Aug. 13. Sam says she was an advocate of women’s rights, and donations in her honor can be made to the Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul.

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