The Mechanical Circus, London, Easter Bank Holiday Weekend

We know what we’re doing this Easter weekend…

Our friends Electric Empire have joined forces with Carousel to bring you an epic party this Easter bank holiday – The Mechanical Circus at Electric Brixton, London. The event combines spectacular circus acts, burlesque and creative performance with outstanding music and production. 

The Mechanical Circus

Step into a steampunk world, dance the night away, be astounded by feats of human physicality and wowed by wonderful magicians – it will be a night like no other… and the perfect Easter weekend hangout.

Musical lineup:

✲ SAVANT (UK Debut)
And the host for the night is BASS6

Visual delights:


This magical event takes place on Saturday 19 April at Electric Brixton, London. Get the date in your diaries now and purchase tickers from, wegottickets. Join the party on Facebook too. See you there? The Things&Ink team will definitely be there too…

Here’s some photos form pervious Electric Empire parties:

Photographer: Maximillian Webster 
Performance: Chivaree Circus 

Do you want a Tattoo with your fries?

You thought he wouldn’t do it again, you were wrong!

Stian Ytterdahl, 18, from Norway, who got his McDonald’s receipt tattooed on his arm has outdone himself!

A week later he has had the receipt for the McDonald’s tattoo inked onto his other forearm! He’s gone supersize with this one!

He posted his new tattoo on his Facebook with the caption #yolo

Ytterdah told Norway’s Romerikes Blad newspaper that the first tattoo was just a joke between friends.
“Now I’m a living billboard, but I think it’s all just fun,” he said. “Maybe it won’t be as fun when I’m 50 or 60 years old, but that’s my choice.”

Think what he’d have to buy to have a receipt as a back piece?!



Street Spotting in London

While interning at Things&Ink I spied some cool tattoos and stopped the owners for a brief chat.With everyone rushing to wherever they were going, it was difficult to ask everyone lots of questions about their tattoos!

Things&Ink reader  Mia MaCauley, 20, art student in London on a college trip.
She often gets tattooed at conventions, her chest piece is by Billie at Afflecks  in Manchester.


Her favourite tattoo is this little creep by Jemma Jones at Raincity, Manchester


Louise Fury, 36, body piercer at Original Skin, London. Originally from America but she lives in London.

She had just had a six hour sitting on her back tattoo and I didn’t want to bother her too much, we all know how tiring getting tattooed can be!


Daniel Herridge, 34, Birmingham. In London with his girlfriend.

Jen, 30 and Bruno 35 Owners of Gypsy Stables Tattoo Emporium, London.


Have you spotted anyone out and about with tattoos?




“Rule number one: Don’t fuck with librarians”

Nicola, Features Editor

Quote by Neil Gaiman
Words by Nicola Cook
Photos by Heather Shuker  

Original article featured in Issue 5 The Celebration Issue, which can be purchased at


Cast your mind back to our launch issue; gracing the pages, and baring all, were the misconceived tattooed professionals. You’ve seen the doctors, lawyers and accountants but what about the tattooed librarians? Arguably one of the most inaccurately stereotyped professions of the 21st century – not just for their appearance, but of their job descriptions too – it’s actually quite common to come across a tattooed librarian in recent years. When was the last time you visited the local library? Or the one at your University, College or School? I don’t know if you’ve noticed but those shh’ing book-stampers of the past (and of our cultural imaginations) have practically vanished. Gone are the days of uniformed frumpy cardigans and season-defying socks and sandals combinations, or even the sexy lady-librarians with their neat buns, pencil skirts and thick rimmed glasses… Kind of. With increasing amounts of young people entering the profession from various different interest areas and backgrounds, the information-world has diversified and what’s more, we’ve started to see antiquated and parochial perceptions turned on their head.

Within the professional circle, the librarian/archivist stereotype is hotly deliberated. On one hand, over on the web, the info-pros are trying to reclaim their profession by illustrating the fact that (shock horror) a librarian is not a cut-out caricature. There is a Tumblr dedicated to their wardrobes, and another which uncovers the tattooed librarian. The stereotype is flaunted by the media – “Librarian chic” even appeared on the catwalk (thanks Chloé) at Paris Fashion Week – but over in the States, tattooed librarians have been revelling in their own media storm surrounding various tattooed librarian fundraising calendars that first appeared in 2009.

On the other hand, librarians are frustrated that they have to even justify their outwardly appearance at all. Some are worried that the perpetuated stereotype thwarts any professionalism and cultural relevance, which – in the age of government cuts – is exactly the kind of perception that needs to be shaken off. It couldn’t be more important, or relevant, to ensure that access to knowledge (for free) is valued and maintained. So, meet the info-pros who are challenging the stereotypes in both their appearance and their jobs, proving they’re not ones to mess with (and Neil Gaiman can vouch for that…)


Anna Brynolf, originally from the Wirral, then lived in Sweden and now London. Systems Librarian at a university library

“My first few tattoos were done by Richie Clark (now Forever True Tattoo in Liverpool), but after that, everything has been done by Tommy Lompad at Tattoo Inkarnation in Malmo, Sweden. Flowers have become the main theme (below my collarbones, on my back and incorporated into the Celti/Nordic design on my right lower leg), but my very first tattoo was almost inevitably a tribal design on my lower back. My second was a small tribal design on my left arm which has been incorporated into my full sleeve.
“If I’d known back then that I would go on to do so much more, I might have started differently, but I don’t regret any of them.
“I think people are more surprised that someone so heavily tattooed would be a librarian. At work, some customers are surprised when they see my arms for instance but they still take me seriously in my role, whereas in social situations with new people, they are sometimes quite shocked.
“I haven’t noticed any negative effects of having tattoos in my profession and I’ve only had positive comments on my tattoos at work, from colleagues and users. The only negative comments I’ve ever had have been out on the street as I was walking along, minding my own business.
“I am planning more, there’s still room left! First, I’d like to finish my back (it’s about halfway done). After that, there’s really  only my chest and upper legs left.  And my face, but I’m not sure that I want anything there yet.”


Hong-Anh and Kirsty Morrison.

Hong-Anh, London. Information Specialist at The King’s Fund

“The first tattoo I got was an old-fashioned Sailor Jerry style grey swallow on my left wrist, by Andrea Guilimondi at The Family Business, which is where I also got a set of quotation marks done, one behind each ear, by Stuart Archibald. I have a Friday 13th one by Math at The Circle, and it’s a silhouette of a key on the outside of my right arm. There’s no real meaning to my tattoos, but I don’t think there needs to be.
“I think the superficial image of librarians isn’t going anywhere and I don’t really have a problem with it. It’s archaic and doesn’t represent most of our profession, but I am sure that’s equally applicable over lots of professions. The misconception that blights librarians most is the widespread idea that our job is mainly drinking tea, wearing a cardigan and reading a book. OK, so the middle one is largely true, and we probably do a lot of the other two, too. But I think there is a larger degree of skill, knowledge and passion which is required to be a librarian than is commonly thought.
Librarianship is quite a relaxed and liberal profession (remember, we’re all about access to information without censorship!) It’s not the kind of job, unless you work in corporate services such as finance and law, which has restrictions on what you wear or how you look.
“I’d like a really big tattoo next. I am in love with Rebecca Vincent’s work. I love the Victorian botanical thing that she does so beautifully.”

Kirsty Morrison, Originally Darlington now London. Information Specialist at The King’s Fund

“I became a librarian before I got my tattoos, but I had been planning them for years. I wanted tattoos from the age of 16, but hung on to make sure it was definitely something I would be happy to have on my body forever! I got my first tattoo two years ago at Frith Street – a dedication to my favourite person of all time, David Bowie! The other is from one of my favourite picture books: Our Garden Birds by Matt Sewell – who is also one of my favourite artists.
“Librarianship is plagued by stereotypes. From the sorts of people that work in it, to the type of work we do, to the sectors we work in. You get asked the same old daft stuff when you tell people what you do, to the odd sexist reaction like ‘oh, are you a sexy librarian, then?’ It’s nice to embrace this to an extent (spectacles, cardigans, cats, brogues) but obviously, like any group, librarians are diverse and individual, and I think tattoos help celebrate and express individuality and personality.
“I am dying to get more tattoos – I think they are very addictive. I have a stegosaurus on my wish-list at the moment, specifically by Rebecca Vincent, as I love her style, and I think it expresses my gentle herbivore ways quite well. I would love to have a literary tattoo as well, like the Quentin Blake illustration of Matilda sitting on a pile of books.”

Kirsty Fife, London. Archivist at Hoxton Hall theatre

“I have three large pieces right now – an antique sewing machine on my right outer thigh, a bird and antique typewriter on my upper left arm, and a pile of books on my right arm. I guess the latter is a literary tattoo, but as I work in archives and largely look after records, ephemera and objects, it’s not directly related to my profession. I do frequently joke that my tattoo niche is “old stuff” so maybe they are all archive tattoos really?
“I find that most people don’t even really understand what an archivist does. I have to explain it a lot. When people have heard of archives/archivists, they do seem to have an image of an older white guy/woman in tweed or something similar in their heads.
People outside of the profession always seem to find it amusing that I’m an archivist (again, I think this is tied to perceptions of what we’re supposed to look like), but my friendship circles are full of other radical information professionals who I don’t think bat an eyelid at me most of the time.
“I think, because I work in a theatre and arts space, I am less susceptible to tattoo shaming, and a couple of my other colleagues have them, too. I do tend to cover up for interviews, but mainly because I’m uncertain of what the attitude will be like. I’m sure if I worked in a more public-facing role, or if I worked for a more corporate institution with a dress code then I might face more problems.
“I’ve always got loads of ideas for new tattoos! I’d love to get a magpie on my calf next, and a rat somewhere too (I keep them as pets and they’re the best).”

Nicola, Features Editor on location at Brixton Bookmongers 




 17 APRIL – 18 MAY 2014

OPENING NIGHT: THURSDAY 17 APRIL 2014, 6-9pm. Beers supplied by Red Stripe. 

We’re so happy to have been a part of Atomica’s growth from the very beginning, from their pop up shop down Brick Lane to their brand new gallery space in Covent Garden.

Celebrating their one year anniversary Atomica Gallery presents a group exhibition of original artwork from exciting new contemporary artists. ‘Vision Quest’ opens on 17th April in Seven dials, Covent Garden.

The art exhibited in Atomica doesn’t need to be labelled to be appreciated . It’s the art that comes out of our culture: it’s the books you can’t put down, it’s the music that moves you, it’s the stuff you get up to with your friends, and it’s the flickering glow of half-remembered movies across your eyes. It’s the ink on your skin. It’s the weirdness that plays out in your dreams. It’s the art that you’d make if you had a paintbrush in your hand – and mad skills, of course.

The new exhibition is a visual delight of kaleidoscopic proportions, mind bending weirdness and femme fatales.

Full list of participating artists:


Just a small selection of the stunning artwork on display:

Christopher Conn Askew

Femke Hiemstra

Tom Bagshaw

Atomica Gallery, 29 Shorts Gardens, London WC2H 9AP

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday: 12pm-7pm
Saturday: 12pm-6pm
Sunday: 12pm-5pm

Can’t wait to celebrate with you all, see you there!





Jungle Fever – Man sells tattooed skin on eBay

Tattoo Artist Artur Mrozowski has spent 300 hours getting his entire body inked with jaguar spots by his wife, Monika at their tattoo studio in Blackpool.

His obsession with the big cats doesn’t stop at his skin, as he goes by the name of Jaguar.

He has put his skin on eBay for a whopping £75k, but you can only claim your item once the wearer has died. He hopes that the money will help provide for his family… I can think of better ways… and thinks the price is worth the pain he has endured.  The listing has since been removed, but the bidding had reached £26.

He believes that his skin is a once in a lifetime opportunity for wealthy collectors, it will create the highest quality leather. He even states that it is in great condition due to his vegetarianism. Indeed there is a market for such oddities, with ‘legal’ human leather being sold in countries such as India. I am currently studying for a Masters degree in publishing, and I have come across book makers being asked to create bespoke books bound in tattooed human leather during my studies.

Also Amsterdam’s Tattoo Museum,  houses a small specimen of preserved human skin.

My boyfriend and I have joked before that if we were to lose a body part that was heavily tattooed, we’d possibly keep the limb, or find a way to preserve the skin, mainly due to the money and pain that went into creating each tattoo.

 Have you ever considered selling or preserving your tattooed skin? Let us know what you think by commenting below.



Tattooed on the Job – the Perks of being a Things&Ink Intern

I took the train to visit Lucy O’Connell and Ruth Rollin, both from Red Tattoo and Piercing in Leeds who were doing a guest spot at Painted Lady Tattoo Parlour in Northfield, Birmingham.

The studio is absolutely beautiful, like no other I have ever been in. Forget sterile white and tiled floors Painted Lady is like stepping into your much loved eccentric Auntie’s house. Instead imagine ornate frames, muted green walls and bare wooden floor in what was once a living room. The collection of art and taxidermy is incredible and the homey feel is so relaxing, this is how I want my house to be like! There was so much to look at while Lucy tattooed my forearm for three hours with her practically silent tattoo machine.

Owner of the Painted Lady, Dawnii Fantana, one of Lucy’s inspirations, was so welcoming with cups of peach tea and cake! What more could you want? Other inspirations of Lucy’s include; Xam (who she’s planning to get tattooed by when he guests in Leeds), Emily Rose Murray, Valerie Vargas, Jason Minauro and Claudia de Sabe (who is tattooing Lucy’s hands very soon) – Lucky thing!

Lucy had drawn the Chinese lantern design with a cute bird a while ago and I had to snap it up for the start of my sleeve, I love everything she does! I’m a real Instagram stalker, even recognising the fruit fillers that Amy Savage had tattooed as belonging to Lucy. We chatted and laughed the whole way through the tattoo swapping stories about not crying at films, university courses, her love for Robert Downey Jr, (we were watching the new Sherlock Holmes) and other nonsensical things!

Lucy has been tattooing for only two years, yet her style is so distinctive; with women and flowers featuring heavily, as she could tattoo these all day. ‘I do try to turn everything into a woman! I try to get away with as much as I can!’ Fine by me, I especially love her flowers with women faces, perfect.

At first when she started out in the industry Lucy thought she’d specialise in realism but her imagination ran away with her, although ‘it is nice to be given some direction’, creating your own art is more enjoyable.

I can’t wait to get stuck into my sleeve, having already spied on Lucy’s Instagram a gorgeous Indian inspired lady face, which I hope she can recreate for my own collection. My arm will be filled with Indian goddesses, tigers and fans at The Femaletattoo Show, in Leamington Spa where Lucy is working at on 14th September.

Lucy also has numerous guest spots planned:
One Day Gallery, Manchester 28th-29th May
Loaded Forty Four, Manchester 10th-12th July
As well as exhibiting originals of her work at The Old Bones Emporium in Edinburgh 6th-12th  June

I also got my first ever hand-poked tattoo by Ruth Rollins. I picked a little wishbone from her sheet of cute small dot work flash, to bring me luck. I found being tattooed in this way so relaxing and part from a few points it was pretty painless. I could have lain on the table for hours… I asked Ruth which method of tattooing she preferred: ‘it’s too hard to say which I prefer, they are too different and you’re not comparing like for like’. While tattooing with a machine allows Ruth to create larger tattoos, she, like the person being tattooed, finds hand-poking therapeutic. Ruth is also working at the Femaletattoo Show in September and I’ll be popping down to have another little relaxing hand-poked piece of art!

Having these lovely northern lasses tattoo me yesterday was only made possible by Dawnii Fantana (have a look at her beautiful gypsies), Ruth explains that ‘as relative newbies to the tattooing industry it is brilliant having people like Dawnii who help and encourage you’, Hurrah! To Dawnii, her gorgeous shop and supportive nature! Definitely on my growing to-be-tattooed-by list! I hope I don’t run out of space first!



Why not? A short history of women and tattoos

Amelia Amelia


An edited version of an article by Amelia Klem Osterud – first published in The Launch Issue of Things&Ink magazine.

When was the first woman tattooed? Who was she? Who was the first woman tattoo artist? These are questions that we’ll never know the answer to, because, despite the idea that women and tattoos somehow are a modern phenomenon, women have been getting tattooed for as long as the idea to put ink and needle to skin has been around.  

Jessie Knight


Sluts and sailors
Over the last 100 years, a stigma has developed against tattooed women – you know the misconceptions, women with tattoos are sluts, they’re “bad girls,” just as false as the myth that only sailors and criminals get tattoos. Nothing can be further from the truth. Look around you, lots of women have tattoos. Maybe your mum has a tattoo, maybe your grandmother or your colleague. Probably your best friend has one, maybe two. Of course, tattoos have risen in popularity over the past several decades among both genders, but a look at history tells us that women have been getting tattooed longer than that.  

Jessie Knight is considered to be the first professional British female tattoo artist. Her career spanned from the 1920s through to the 1960s


The Tattoo trick
A 2007 article includes photographs of a female tattooed mummy from the Pre-Inca Chiribaya culture and small female figurines with tattoos. Tattoo historians have found evidence of women with tattoos throughout the more recent past, including records of encounters with early tribal European women (Picts, Celts) and of course, South Seas Island women of various tribes. Native American women tattooed and were tattooed extensively, and there is conjecture that, despite the lack of written evidence, medieval European women bore tattoos like their male counterparts. 

Heavily-tattooed performing women awed audiences from sideshow and dime museum stages. Even British and American Victorian women decorated themselves with tattoos – newspapers from the 1870s forward reported on the “fad” of tattooing among upper crust women of the time. One of the earliest mentions of ladies and tattoos from that time period was in the New York tabloid National Police Gazette. This sensational paper reported on a female tattooist (neither men nor women were routinely called “tattoo artists” then) in 1879 in an article entitled ‘The Tattoo Trick.’ The reporter had located an unnamed woman “found in an unpretentious but neat house in a respectable locality” whose profession was to tattoo crosses, serpents, monograms, and circles on the limbs of the demi-monde of Philadelphia. She “proved to be a pleasant-faced lady, attired becomingly…” with fingers stained “black with India ink.” She said that business was good, and her clients were primarily women, who she tattooed in their homes. 

The lady tattooist then answered age-old questions – whether or not it hurt (“to some it is, to others not”) and what it cost (between $5-$25, though possibly as high as $50 for very elaborate designs.) It’s very similar to articles from The New York Times with tattooist Martin Hildebrandt from 1876 and 1882, with the main difference being that the tattooist is female. Hildebrandt comments in the 1882 New York Times article that his “patrons are primarily ladies” and “they pay well for… inscriptions” like birds, flowers, and mottoes. Clearly, women in Victorian New York were interested in getting tattooed and being tattooists, despite the stereotype. 

ARTORIA GIBBONS (16 July 1893-18 March 1985) and her husband decided that they would make a good living if she became a performing tattooed lady, so Charles Gibbons tattooed her with images from her favourite classical religious artwork, in full colour.


The negative response
In contrast, Albert Parry’s 1933 book Tattoo: Secrets of the Strange Art as Practiced by the Nativesof the United States is part of the reason that, despite many women having private tattoos, popular opinion about women with tattoos was overwhelmingly negative. Parry viewed everything about tattooing as overtly sexual. “The very process of tattooing is sexual. There are the long, sharp needles. There is the liquid poured into the pricked skin. There are the two participants of the act, one active, one passive. There is the curious marriage between pleasure and pain.” 

Most of Parry’s writing on tattoos is focused on men and their sexual desires. The very little in Tattoo: Secrets of the Strange Art that discusses women and tattooing is overwhelmingly chauvinistic and negative. Women, according to Parry, most often get the names of their lovers tattooed on their breasts because tattooing is such a sexual act. The women that grace the pages of Parry’s book are simultaneously ashamed of their tattoos and exhibitionist bad girls who cheat on their husbands who are “asking for it” when they are treated badly.

Unfortunately, Tattoo, along with several books like it, made an impression on the readers of the mid-century. The image of a tattooed woman as a bad girl lingered, like the books and articles that reprinted stigma and innuendo. Only now, with more and more women both getting tattoos, and getting publicly visible tattoos, are things starting to change. Certainly, there are many who don’t understand the urge to decorate one’s body, and are afraid of something they don’t understand. But as women start to take control over their public images and public bodies, tattoos are going to only become more visible and accepted. Someday soon, the question won’t automatically be “Why would you do that?” but “Why not?” ❦

All issues of Things&Ink magazine can be purchased from, – we are currently working on issue 7, due out in May 2014.


MINI REVIEW: Shall Adore presents Ramon Maiden

By Pares Tailor

This evening some of the Things & Ink team had the pleasure of joining Ramon Maiden exhibit some of his finest work at Shall Adore tattoo parlour in Shoreditch. Ramon Maiden is based in Barcelona, Spain but tonight we had the chance to see what he’s known best for and that is reappropriating vintage & religious artwork and adorning them with tattoo imagery.

Before we get stuck in and tell you a little more about Ramon Maiden, we must thank Shall Adore for hosting such an amazing evening in what must be one of the warmest tattoo parlors in London. As soon as you walk through the doors your mind begins to wonder and think endlessly. I mean this little statement said it all…

“Enter and discover the world of Shall Adore, Let us take you on an enchanting visual journey in the celebration of that timeless art medium of permanently marking the skin” – Shall Adore

Ramon Maiden was born in 1972 in Barcelona but was never bound to one city, his travelled extensively and has considered NYC as his second home. Ramon has self taught himself his unique art form, his ideas and inspiration are forever dynamically changing and so are his techniques so you never know what to expect from Ramon but isn’t that all part of the fun and excitement? There is not a uniform side to Ramon, his full of diversity which allows his creativity to continuously grow. His work is a reflection of his life and tonight we got to see that, you could feel his career, travels and interests simply radiate Shall Adore this evening.

“My style is very characteristic and people are usually identified quickly. I try not only cause visual impact and also convey a message, idea, purpose.I perceive the tattoo as a form of artistic expression. Many of the artists I follow not only deal with tattoos, but they are also very good at other types of art.”

This was Ramon first exhibit in London this year and we asked why Shall Adore? Why London? and he came back with one word “Friends”.