Apprentice Love: Jessica Ashby

Meet Jessica Ashby, she is a tattoo apprentice under Mike Stockings at Legacy Ink in Haverhill. This is her story of how she came to be a tattoo apprentice and the hard graft involved…

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How long have you been tattooing? Looking back through my diary, I’ve been tattooing on a regular basis for about 7-8 weeks now. I started my apprenticeship in October of 2015 and my mentor let me tattoo myself after about four months so I could get a glimpse of the world I was stepping into. I tattooed myself again a couple of months later and then a handful of my wonderful friends volunteered to let me tattoo them, and then all of a sudden I’m tattooing every day alongside all the other artists at the shop. This is something I’ve wanted for so long and sometimes I still wake up and think ‘is this really my life now?!’

How did you start? What did you do before? I remember telling my tutor at college that I wanted to be a tattoo artist and she looked at me blankly with no advice to give. I then went to university for a year, worked in bars and restaurants, went travelling for a bit, all the while knowing I still just wanted to tattoo.

It got to the point where I couldn’t stand my job any longer and I plucked up the courage to email Mike Stockings (my mentor) and asked if he would be willing to see me to discuss the possibility of an apprenticeship at his studio. I had been avidly following his work for years and I had my heart set on learning from him. He agreed to see me, went through my work, picked it apart, gave me some advice and then told me to go away and draw some more. I don’t think he expected that I’d ever come back, but I continued to take more work to show him for about six months until he offered me the apprenticeship.

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Do you have a background in art? Drawing was always ‘my thing,’ when I was younger. I remember going round to other kids’ houses to play and being shocked that they didn’t put the lids back on their colouring pens, or that they only had scrap paper to draw on. Looking back, I’m so grateful to my mum for nurturing my interest in art. Even at a young age she would take me to exhibitions and buy me good quality drawing materials.

I studied art at college and even went on to university to start an illustration degree. I probably thought my art classes were boring at the time but I realise now that they really did teach me some valuable things about composition, light and shadow, complementary colours etc.

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What drew you to the tattoo world? I remember seeing some of Guy Aitchison’s luminous bi-mech work when I was about 16 and I was instantly blown away. It was like at that moment, my eyes were opened to a whole world of tattooing beyond the high street flash that I was familiar with. I then went on to discover Emily Rose Murray, Tiny Miss Becca, and (dare I say) Kat Von D who were all women starting to make waves in a male dominated industry at the time. I was so inspired and excited that you could make a living out of drawing wonderful pictures on people. I was desperate to get tattooed when I was a teenager and now I’m starting to build up a nice collection of my own I feel more comfortable in my skin than ever.

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Are there any artist that influence your work? I really like all the bold, bright work that is coming out of Germany at the moment. Lars Uwe Lus lips, is one of my absolute favourites. His use of colours, line weights and style in general is pretty mind-blowing. I love the illustrative quality of Kate Selkie’s work and I am always reminded that good drawing skills are the foundation of a good tattoo. And of course, watching Mike work is probably my biggest influence. His work has so much character and he’s always trying to push boundaries and put out fresh new ideas. It’s impossible not to be inspired.

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Describe your style, has it changed? I’d say my style changes a little bit with every tattoo I do. I think my work is leaning towards neo-traditional, working with bright colours and bold line. The guys where I work taught me early on to follow the fundamentals of traditional tattooing, emphasising the importance of clean lines and getting a good amount of black into any tattoo to create contrast and a tattoo that will age well.

What inspires you? Everything really. I guess that’s a pretty terrible answer but it’s true. I’ll often find myself sneaking into people’s front gardens to take photos of their flowers to use as reference, or stuffing a leaflet in my bag because I like the colour palette that’s been used. I feel like my eyes now scan everything to see if it’s a possible reference or inspiration in some way.

I love Japanese art and culture, art nouveau, pop art, film photography, and really enjoy going to museums and galleries. Even if the work doesn’t influence mine directly, I always feel so creatively energised after seeing another artist’s vision come to life.

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What would you love to tattoo? I consider myself incredibly lucky that Mike gives me the freedom to tattoo what I want already. He has always really emphasised that if you do work you enjoy then that will be evident, and people will come to you.

Eventually I’d like to be tattooing larger scale animal designs and faces (tattoos of faces, not tattooing on faces!) I love the idea of working on a project and can’t wait to be piecing together ideas for a sleeve or back piece. For now though, I am happy doing my little designs, trying to make each one cleaner and better than the last. I think there’s a fine line between continually pushing yourself to improve, and trying to run before you can walk. The guys at work will often tell me that I’m not ready to tattoo a certain part of the body yet, or that a design is too complex and then I just have to take a step back and remember that it’s still really early days for me.

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What is a typical day like for you? I usually get to the studio at around 9 am, mop the floor, clean the grips, set up Mike’s station and try to make sure everything stays tidy during the day. I’m trying to do one tattoo a day at the moment and truthfully I couldn’t tell you anything that happens in the shop during that time!

Megan Massacre Colouring Book

We chat to the infamous Megan Massacre, 30, tattoo artist and co-founder @GritNGlory, about her new colouring book, reality TV and her tattoo style

Megan, we love your work! How would you describe your style?
Thanks! My tattooing style is mostly known for my very bright, colourful palettes and I usually mix a few tattooing styles together such as realism, traditional, neo-traditional and new school.

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Tattoo by MeganWe loved you in America’s Worst Tattoos and NY Ink… Did you enjoy doing reality TV, what were the highlights?
Yes very much! The highlight for me was getting to share my work with such a large audience of people.

If you could tattoo anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Probably Gwen Stefani, I’ve loved her since I was a kid listening to No Doubt!

What made you decide to venture into colouring books?
I’ve always wanted to make a book of my tattoo drawings, tattoo flash is what we call it in the industry. When I realised it could double as a colouring book I thought it was such a cool, fun idea that even more people could enjoy.

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What do you hope people will get from it?
I like to think of it as a book for both tattoo artists and fans, as well as colouring fanatics. I hope that tattoo artists and fans find the book useful for tattoo ideas and flash, as well as fun and therapeutic for colouring as well.

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It is aimed at adults and children?
Yes I think it’s great for both!

Do you think colouring books are important for wellbeing?
I think colouring is a great way to relieve stress and relax your mind while also working in a creative outlet and creating something awesome you can feel proud of.

Is it important for you to be involved in lots of different creative projects?
For me personally yes. I always have a few different projects going on, I like to stay overly busy. I also like to be involved in as many different creative industries as possible, it allows me to keep learning through art.

What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to make more colouring and art books for fans to enjoy, and to continually keep breaking into new, creative industries.

When will you next be in the UK?
I don’t have any plans at the moment but I try to go once a year, I’ll definitely be posting on my social media when I’ll be heading there next!

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You can order a copy of Marked in Ink, the colouring book by Megan Massacre from Book Depository

Film Review: Jurassic Wars

Hobbyist reviewer Harry Casey-Wooodward enters B-movie heaven with this year’s attack of the pterosaursJurassic Wars.

Jurassic Wars/Terrordactyl, 2016, cert 15, dir Don Bitters & Geoff Reisner, 2/5 

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Horrors and monster movies are some of the few film genres that can get away with being bad. The popularity of such films as the Sharknado series is evidence of our generation’s continuing obsession with tasteless horrors, despite their terrible plots, terrible effects and terrible performances. In fact, it is all these terrible features that make these movies so appealing, so much so that I think some recent horrors are deliberately bad just to cash in on our guilty love for pulp trash. Admittedly, there’s few experiences in life more relaxing and enjoyable than kicking back with some mates to laugh and mock some bad horror, even if we’ve paid for it.

Jurassic Wars, originally known as Terrordactyl (perhaps they changed the title to cash in on some association with Jurassic World) is no exception. A cluster of meteorites (or meteors, I can’t remember which) land outside of Los Angeles. Two gardeners named Jonas and Lars (played by Jason Tobias and Christopher John Jennings) drive out into the night to find one of the space rocks and strike it rich. They take it back into town for bargirl Valerie (Bianca Haase) to offer her ‘expert’ opinion, since she admitted an interest in space rocks when Jonas was trying to hit on her.

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Unfortunately for them and the rest of the city, flocks of pterosaurs (winged reptiles that flew over the heads of dinosaurs, in case you weren’t sure) have swooped in with the meteors and, thanks to an odd lack of police and military presence, now blitz the city with lots of stabbing beaks and grabby claws. Think of the pterosaur attack scene in Jurassic World, except for the length of an entire film and with worse effects.

The pterosaurs themselves are rather badly animated and designed throughout the movie. Little consideration has been given regarding palaeontological accuracy, with most of the pterosaurs up close looking more like dragons, while in the distance I’m pretty sure some of the pterosaurs flying looked as static as toys.

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If you don’t want to watch this for accuracy, don’t watch it for gore either. There are a few bloody beak-stabbing scenes, but other scenes you’d expect to be messy are not shown, either for the power of suggestion or to cut down on the effects budget.

Of course, there’s no reason to watch this expecting a good movie. Watch this for impressively bad-looking monsters, plenty of action and enthusiastic actors armed with guns, flame throwers, homemade explosives and booze. The dialogue is entertaining at times, even if at others it tries too hard to be funny. Bargirl Valerie also turns out to be a kickass heroine, even if she falls for the old cliche of fancying the unlikely geeky hero.

Images from flixist.com, moviesmug.com and dailydead.com.

“My own mark” – mastectomy tattoos

Diane de Jesús, 35, London, is owner of Piece O Cake Nutrition, a nutrition communications consulting and advisor for Personal Ink (P.ink) – an organisation to connect breast cancer survivors with tattoos artists. In this interview, Diane shares her own experience of breast cancer and how getting a tattoo made her feel about her mastectomy. 

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Photo of Diane by Lydia Perez DeJesus @momdetresshoots

Can you tell us about your  cancer diagnosis and treatment. At 29 years old, I was diagnosed with DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ, which is the earliest stage of breast cancer. I was told that while my life was not in immediate danger, the cancerous cells would have to be removed. Thus far, the medical community is unable to determine which DCIS cells will become invasive cancer and when. This combined with my very young age meant that we couldn’t just take a “watch and wait” approach. Also, my disease was so extensive, filling nearly my entire left breast. This meant I would have to have a mastectomy to remove the entire breast.

How did you feel about your body after the mastectomyI was thrilled to have such a good prognosis and to have such great doctors who provided me with excellent mastectomy and (silicone implant) reconstruction results. After recovery, I was grateful to very quickly dive back into my normal life: working by day, going to school at night (working toward my registered dietitian certification) and exercising regularly. I thought I was adjusting just fine. It wasn’t actually until after I got my tattoo that I realised how much I had been through emotionally and how I had been avoiding looking at my chest in the mirror. I had always done everything in my power to care for my health and my body had always reflected that. Suddenly, my body had betrayed me.

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By Roxx, owner of 2 Spirit Tattoo, San Francisco, California

Did you consider other options before deciding to get tattooed? No. I knew that I wanted to get a tattoo very early on, possibly even before having my mastectomy. While I researched what to expect from my surgeries and recovery, I came across stories and photos of women who were post-mastectomy and had chosen to cover their scars with tattoos. I wasn’t so much drawn to the idea of covering my own scar but of finding some way to encapsulate and honour all that my husband and I had been through and also to put my own mark, of my own choosing, on my body.

What made you decide to get that tattoo design? In some mastectomy cases, the nipple can be preserved but in most, the nipple and areola are removed with the rest of the breast tissue. This was the case for me. While I was discussing reconstruction options with my plastic surgeon, I was offered the option of nipple reconstruction many times. The idea of having a fake nipple constructed from the skin on my chest—a nipple that would never feel anything, respond to touch or temperature, or release breastmilk—just never resonated with me. Neither did the idea of having the image of a nipple and areola (even a fancy 3D one) tattooed onto my chest. What did resonate with me was something that Geralyn Lucas did, and wrote about, in her memoir of her experience with breast cancer. Geralyn also had a mastectomy with implant reconstruction but no nipple reconstruction. Instead, Geralyn had a tattoo placed on her chest, near her scar. As soon as I read about this, I knew it was what I needed to do and as I came across images of other women who’d done the same, I was motivated to find a way to make it happen. Of course, since I’d never been tattooed before, I didn’t know the first thing about selecting an artist, studio or design. I also didn’t realise the cost of tattoos.

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Photo by Gigi Stoll, Gigi Stoll Photography, New York

Did it transform what you thought about your body? Getting my mastectomy tattoo helped me to close the door on that chapter and finally move on. I was tattooed in October of 2013, three years to the day since I was told that cancerous cells had been found in my breast. After getting the tattoo, I could look in the mirror without averting my eyes from the sight of my chest. I found myself feeling more confident. I was myself again.

How do you feel about it now? I continue to be so grateful for my tattoo and for the woman who tattooed me: Roxx, owner of 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco, California. I also love that this tattoo continues to provide me with the opportunity to discuss breast cancer and reconstruction options with other breast cancer survivors and their support networks.

What advice would you give to other women who have breast cancer? Every single breast cancer experience is unique. It is overwhelming to receive a cancer diagnosis of any kind but I think that every person diagnosed can benefit from finding a way to listen to her (or his) body and making the decisions that are best for her/him. Also, it is unfortunate, but at some point you may find you really must be your own advocate. You will work with so many different individuals and sectors of the healthcare community who may have the best intentions of providing you with the best advice but this advice may not always be the advice that is best for you. This is easier done with a good support system. Having a spouse, family member or friend to come along to appointments or help with research, paperwork, phone calls, etc. is invaluable.

Can you give us some background about P.ink day… what it is and how others can get involved. P.ink (Personal Ink) is an organisation dedicated to educating breast cancer survivors about mastectomy tattoos as an alternative healing option, and connecting survivors with experienced tattoo artists who can help. One way we do this is through P.ink Day, an annual all-volunteer effort to connect tattoo artists and survivors for a day of healing with tattoos. What started with just 10 artists and 10 survivors at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn, New York, for our first P.ink Day in 2013 has grown into a true grassroots movement, with 46 artists, 48 survivors and hundreds of volunteers across 13 locations in North America, as of October 2015. In total, we’ve facilitated nearly 100 incredible mastectomy tattoos via P.ink Day. P.ink Day occurs every 10 October and 2016 will be P.ink Day’s fourth year.

To learn more, visit the Personal Ink website at p-ink.org

Eight Bands You Don’t Want To Miss At This Year’s Arctangent Festival

Arctangent returns for its fourth year at Fernhill Farm, celebrating the very best that math-rock, post-rock and noise-rock have to offer. With so many diverse bands on the line-up, freelance writer Mat Ombler has gathered a list of eight that you simply cannot afford to miss…

 

Nordic Giants

Nordic Giants live performance is out of this world, and their breath-taking sets have been melting the minds of their audiences since 2010. The duo incorporate visuals into their live set, performing alongside cinematic projections that provide a narrative to their songs.

Alongside these projections, Nordic Giants become a collaboration of true artistry, capable of evoking serious emotion from their audiences. It’s rare that at a festival with a crowd three thousand strong, a band could manage to wow their audience into complete silence – but Nordic Giants manage to do just that, time and time again.

Svalbard

Blackened post-rock music doesn’t get much better than this! Svalbard is a combination of black metal melodies and epic post-rock progressions, perfectly executed with the aggression you would expect from a thrash metal or punk band. Their latest release, ‘One Day All This Will End‘, is one of the finest albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time, with not a single weak track on the album.

Three Trapped Tigers

Their combination of mad synth sounds, wacky electronics and wild drum patterns make Three Trapped Tigers a highlight of any line-up. The musical trio is a beautifully choreographed mess of intensely unique sounds, with all the energy from both the band and crowd you would expect from a set at an illegal underground rave.

Three Trapped Tigers raise the roof, basically.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Perhaps one of the most influential post-rock bands of all time, Godspeed You! Black Emperor headline the main stage on Friday at this year’s festival. Featuring a large ensemble of various musicians – with various percussionists and even a violin player – Godspeed You! Black Emperor promise to deliver a headline performance unlike any Arctangent Festival has seen before.

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Toe are a Japanese rock band from Tokyo and they’re performing an exclusive UK set at this year’s festival. They’re unlikely to be returning anytime soon, so don’t miss them, yeah?

Toe’s back-catalogue is as diverse as the festival line-up, featuring melodic instrumental sections with some beautiful vocal accompaniments in certain parts.

La Dispute

La Dispute make their debut appearance at this year’s Arctangent Festival. Jordan Dreyer’s vocals are essentially spoken word, sitting atop experimental guitar drones and muddy bass to help draw their audience into the short stories they’re telling. La Dispute’s experimental take on melodic and post-hardcore is unlike any other and it’s not to be missed.

Knifeworld

This psychedelic prog-rock band features a bassoon, alto saxophone and even a baritone saxophone, their songs usually consist of around seven or eight different instruments coming together to craft a sound that’s somewhere in-between contemporary prog bands and alternative mainstream music. There are tracks on their most recent release, ‘Bottled Out Of Eden‘, that are reminiscent of Between The Buried And Me’s ‘Colours’ masterpiece, but with the influence of more popular indie artists. If you’re a fan of progressive rock music, the recreational uses of psychedelic drugs – or perhaps both: don’t miss ‘em.

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Formerly known as This Town Needs Guns, this math-rock band from Oxford are one of the most well known bands from the math-rock scene. Their technically driven melodic guitar progressions draw influence all the way from Spanish to jazz music, and their deployment of various time signatures is enough to keep any listener on their feet – and for the right reasons.

Arctangent Festival takes place 18th- 20th of August and tickets are still available here.

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Interview with Melodie Perrault

26-year-old Melodie Perrault tattoos out of Tattoo Lounge MTL in Montreal, Canada and creates detailed line work tattoos inspired by the funny things that happen in her life. We chat to Melodie about her style and what drew her to the tattoo world…

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 Photo taken by Monsiieur

How did you start? What did you do before? I have been tattooing for four or five years professionally. I’ve always been in love with tattoos, I used to draw all over my body. I just bought a shitty machine on the internet and tried to learn by myself when I was 18. I was in art school back then, studying art and graphic design, and I worked in a sex shop, before that a Boardshop.

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What drew you to the tattoo world? I just love it. I love the fact that people get an illustration they love so much they want to see it forever. It’s wild but it’s such a big commitment.

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How would you describe your style, has it changed in any way? I only use black ink, so dot work and line work with lots of details. I always drew the same way, kind of –the only thing that has changed is that I used to do a little bit of colour and I don’t anymore. I love tattooing the things I do, I only do tattoos that I want to do in my own style.

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What inspires your drawings and tattoos? I love to draw and tattoo animal, devils and naked ladies. With my illustrations I try to be a little bit funny, so I’ll think of funny things in life and draw that. My own body is covered in the things I love.

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Urban Decay Creates Tattoo for National Lipstick Day

GEORGIA FINALIt was National Lipstick Day on 29 July, and to celebrate Urban Decay got tattoo artist Georgia Grey, 26, who works at Bang Bang in NYC, to create an awesome lipstick tattoo design. And if you want to get the lip design (see left) tattooed, just head down to Bang Bang and book in to see Georgia.

National Lipstick Day also coincides with the launch of Urban Decay’s new Vice Lipstick line, which features over 100 awesome shades! We chatted to Georgia about her collaboration with Urban Decay, her love of lippy and her tattoo style… 

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What is your inspiration and how did you become a tattoo artist? The people around me and the places where I go are my inspiration; there is always something new around the corner. The endless possibilities inspire me with art and opportunity alike. Tattooing is something that I have always been curious about. I would draw tattoos on my Barbies — tribal tramp stamps and arm bands — which, I believe, was the real start to my becoming a tattoo artist. In truth, I had a friend of mine offer me a job knowing I had a love for drawing and from that point on, I was hooked.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 714

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 714

What do you love about make-up? What is your can’t-live-without product?What don’t I love about make-up? I don’t wear make-up every day, but when I do, it’s play time. Recently, I’ve come back to my love for glitter, so at this moment I couldn’t live without mascara, a tinted chap stick, and Urban Decay’s glitter eyeliner.

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How did you become involved with Urban Decay? They reached out to me to create a tattoo design that would reflect the amazing new line of Vice lipsticks. In my past, I did a lot of American traditional drawings, and in recent years I’ve been doing more modern watercolor. So I created a piece that combines my love for versatile styles, inspired by Vice’s very diverse palette.

Have you created a lot of make-up inspired tattoos? I like to think that every tattoo I make is applying make-up to the skin. Straight eye liner, smooth blends, and just a touch of magic: creating something that enhances one’s aesthetic while still portraying the client’s vision of a piece. I would definitely like to do more directly makeup-inspired pieces.

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Advice for a first timer? When it comes to being a first time client, always do your research when seeking an artist. There are so many tattooers out there, along with the amount of different styles, so choose wisely for the idea that you’ve decided upon. Also, don’t rage the night before, eat a solid meal beforehand, trust the artist, and ya’know, just be cool.

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Shaded: Rich Wells

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 22-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people that wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Rich Wells is a 29-year-old tattoo artist, clothing designer and co-owner of Dock Street Tattoos, who is currently living and working in Leeds. As part of Things & Ink’s ongoing interview series ‘Shaded’, the documentary enthusiast sheds light on his love of C-list celebrities, his relationship with simplicity and how he sees his Louis Theroux inspired clothing range, Jiggle Apparel, evolving.

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What is Jiggle ApparelJiggle Apparel is a Louis Theroux influenced clothing range that’s mainly centred around his infamous rap episode. I design the t-shirts and my friend John, who runs the operation with me, screen prints them and looks after all the online stuff. It’s a Louis Theroux obsession that’s gone a bit too far.

Can you speak about your relationship with Louis Theroux? I’m an old-school Louis Theroux fan. His ‘Weird Weekends’ series is definitely my favourite thing that he’s done. I’ve watched them hundreds of times and they never get old! It’s the only reason I have Netflix.

What influenced you to design and print the first t-shirt that eventually led Jiggle Jiggle Apparel to come together? The first Jiggle Apparel design was originally drawn up as a tattoo design for a flash sheet. I hadn’t thought about putting it on a t-shirt until I uploaded the design to my Instagram account. It got way more attention than I thought it would, so for a bit if fun I decided to print it. People were really into it and Jiggle Apparel was born!

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What do you do when you’re not thinking about Louis Theroux? A good 80% percent of my day is spent thinking about Louis. You know, working out how I could meet him, or maybe just brush past him at a UFO convention or a swingers party. The other 20% I spend tattooing at Dock Street Tattoos Leeds. I co-own the place.

What inspires you artistically? I’m really into documentaries and I draw a lot of inspiration from the strange side of human nature: cults, conspiracies – all that type of stuff. I also like to design things around words, like, quotes or songs. I find it’s a really good foundation for a solid idea.

What do you admire in other people’s work? Simplicity is one of the things I admire in other people’s work. I can appreciate tattoos with incredible detail, but I personally get more out of simplistic, bold, powerful designs. The ability to create something effective using only simple techniques really appeals to me.

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Can you tell me about your own tattoos? I have a photo-realistic black and grey portrait of Ross Kemp on the back of my calf. I got it done as a bit of a joke really. Rather than getting an A-list celebrity tattooed on body, I thought I’d go a little more C list with Kemp, as I was watching a lot of ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’ at the time. I ended up going to one of his book signings that he held at ASDA a few months after having it done. I told him I had a little something to show him, pulled down my jeans and presented him with the portrait. He was totally freaked out by it. I think he thought I was going to stick a potato sack over his head and stick him in the boot of my Corsa. I haven’t seen him since.

What attracted you to tattoos in the first place? No one in my family really has any. The influence came from seeing the bands I was into at the time with them. I thought they were really cool! My first tattoo was done in a street shop that was next to my old school. I got the tiny sunflower that’s on that girl’s t-shirt on the cover of Green Day’s album Kerplunk. It’s really small, but I thought it was the best thing ever at the time.

Most tattoo artists have no space left on their body for additional work, but do you have any plans for more tattoos in the future? Yeah, I still have some space to get some more work. I’m not totally covered yet. I’d like to get some more single-hit traditional pieces. I guess a Louis Theroux tattoo is on the cards as well.

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Since you have now found yourself bridging clothing and tattoo art with Jiggle Apparel, can you speak about the relationship between the world of fashion and the world of body modification? I really like the crossover! The high end world of fashion collaborates with tattoo artists all the time. I think company’s like RSI Apparel who commission tattoo artists and illustrators to work on designs for them offer artists a whole new platform for their work to be seen which is really great. However, I could definitely live without Ed Hardy’s diamond studded jeans…

How do you see Jiggle Jiggle Apparel evolving? We’re looking at getting some more merchandise; hats, hoodies, patches. Maybe our own brand of red, red wine would be nice! The ultimate goal though would be for Louis to actually see what we do, stick one of our t-shirts on and possibly take us out to dinner. If he could be there when we open our first store that would also be pretty great.

5 Best Superhero Movies

Since Olympic athletes are technically superhuman, film lover Harry Casey-Woodward thought it would be appropriate to list a few of his favourite superhero movies.

5. The Kickass movies (2010 and 2013) 

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No one has superpowers in these films, but they make my list for sheer brutality. This series about teenagers turned costumed vigilantes possesses some truly dark moments, such as the scene in the first film where two heroes are beaten live on TV by the mafia and Jim Carrey‘s death scene in the sequel. These films also score points for boasting one of the most savagely badass heroines ever, the purple-haired Hit-Girl.

4. Batman (1989) 

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How could I not include the classic that arguably raised the standard for all superhero films? Director Tim Burton excelled in his typically Gothic style while leaving out his annoying kookiness. Nevertheless, this dark edgy thriller still packs in some slightly silly capers and capes. It also has Jack Nicholson‘s infamous, smiley performance as the Joker, who somehow combined menace and cheesiness.

3. The Hellboy movies (2004 and 2008) 

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Hellboy is more of a superhuman than the above heroes while also being slightly less human. A big red half-demon with a stone hand that holds the key to the apocalypse, Hellboy’s backstory is admittedly more extensive than your average radiation-affected superhero. The world that writer Mike Mignola and director Guillermo del Toro imagined for him is also strikingly imaginative, with lots of crazed Nazis and cool monsters for Hellboy to beat the crap out while quipping one liners.  

2. Christopher Nolan‘s Batman Trilogy (2005-12) 

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The man in the black, pointy-eared cape is back, only this time we’ve moved on from the over-the-top 80s and we’re into the slick, sophisticated noughties. The franchise needed a reboot, especially after the camp fiasco of Batman & Robin, and Mr. Nolan, director of smart thrillers like Memento, appears to have been the man to do that. His three Batman films did away with the cheesy Gothic excess of the 90s films and attempted to take the subject matter more seriously, with more complex characters. Of course, it is impossible to take Christian Bale‘s gravelly Batman voice seriously, but we did get non-stop action and some surprisingly villainous performances from such cute actors as Heath Ledger and Tom Hardy.

1. Deadpool (2016) 

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This shouldn’t really be number one, since it’s not a serious superhero movie. But it’s just so damn entertaining. I may also be a little biased, since I don’t really like superhero movies so the merciless humour directed at the moral pomposity of these films was much appreciated. It was also a refreshing revelation to see a Marvel film that had adult humour and blackly comic violence while openly mocking the conventions of its own genre. The hero is still badass, even if he never stops making pop culture references.

Images from moviepilot.com, batman.wikia.com, denofgeeek.com, nerdist.com and bleedingcool.com.