Category: Feature tattoos

Skin Deep – an exhibition featuring photographic portraits of male models

Cheshire born and now London based, photographer Danny Baldwin explored a range of art forms, from drawing and drama to music and modelling, before finding his niche as a photographer. It was actually while modelling that Danny discovered a world where his creative vision could be channelled by flipping sides from in front to behind the lens. Influenced by fashion and counter-culture, Danny’s style mixes colours, tones and textures, and emphasises the power of beauty and shapes.
In his new exhibition, Skin Deep, Danny  documents a seismic mood change within the fashion industry that has seen agencies shift from representing only models with no tattoos, or those that are easily hidden, to building entire campaigns around elaborately inked individuals. Encouraging acceptance and celebrating individuality, freedom of expression and creativity, Skin Deep features 100 black and white nude images of professional tattooed male models shot against a stark black, signature background.
We found out more in this interview with Danny…


> What attracted you to photographing tattooed models? Why?

The underlying message is to encourage acceptance and freedom of expression, Skin Deep has been created over the course of a year to show the versatility of beauty and ink, and is something I could relate to myself. I needed it to be something that I understood, had knowledge about and was part of my life – and I wanted to represent and celebrate the rise of the tattooed model and its acceptance, slowly, into the fashion industry.



> What is your background? Have you always photographed people?

Yes I did a general photography course at college in Cheshire when I first started as a photographer and this covered all types of photography, when I was doing landscapes etc i used to have imagine people there to be able to create the image. I decided very quickly one of the main reasons I am a photographer is because of the people, so I continued my studies at London College of Fashion studying fashion photography

> Why only men in the project?

I decided when I started this as a personal project that It had to be relatable to myself, it had to say something from me and be pure to my vision and I felt – as a tattooed male myself – I would be able to better understand the body of the male and their process of thought. I want to represent the male models in a way I haven’t always been able to represent them due to client limitations.



> The portraits are in black and white… is there a particular reason for this?

Due to the scale of the project and the timeframe of over a year of shooting, I wanted to create something distinctive that showcased the models and their tattoos in a consistent way and I felt this was the best way to do it. I shoot a lot in black and white as I love shape, line, texture and movement and really feel this can be explored a lot deeper with a black and white image.



Are you tattooed yourself?

I do have a collection of tattoos and plan to have more done in the future months and years. I have my left top arm , finger, both feet, all my toes and most recently I have had the title of this project “skin deep” on my inner lip which was done at One By One tattoo studio in soho, London. All my tattoos have a deep rooted and significant meaning to me and are connected to parts of my job as a photographer, people who have impacted my life and the evolution of myself. They look quite macabre but they are more my own personal affirmations.

What are your hopes for this exhibition? How many portraits does it include?

The exhibition will feature over 100 portraits of the selected agency signed male models, which I hope will showcase their diversity. I want to show a wider audience something that is visually stimulating and celebrates how these people are breaking the mould. They are being true to themselves in an elite industry and expressing who they are through the medium of tattooing, which I think is an incredible art form and I don’t know why it has taken so long for the two worlds of tattooing and fashion to collide and be more accepted in the mainstream. I think the bigger picture is about encouraging acceptance and celebrating individuality, freedom of expression and creativity.

Danny has just reached his fundraising target on Kickstarter, so it looks like there will be a physical exhibition of Skin Deep in London next year. Look out for updates from @thingsandink and @skindeeplondon.

Interview with Miss Juliet

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to Miss Juliet a tattoo artist working at South Ink Tattoo shop in Naples, about her easily recognisable and unique style as well as her new art project Overlap alongside Fabio Gargiulo… 


Tell us about your artistic career, from the beginning until now? Did you always know that you would be a tattoo artist? I have alway been passionate about tattoos, I started as a customer and, after finishing my studies at Academy of Brera, I began to work as shop manager at Don’t Tell Mama, my best friend’s tattoo shop.


How would you describe your passion for tattoos? To me it’s not just a job: it’s my life, my everything! Since I can remember, I’ve always been drawing a lot, everyday and all the time. It’s part of me. Tattooing gives me the opportunity to improve. I love every aspect of the process, from the first design to the execution of the tattoo.

Detailed lines are a regular feature of your tattoos, and with each design they are becoming more recognisable, how did you find your style?  I have always worked a lot with lines, even before tattoos. I think it was a mixture of natural evolution and constant research, then I slowly began to understand what worked and what did not.

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I noticed you tattoo a lot of animals. Do you have a particular preference for these subjects? I have always had a passion for taxidermy and entomology, I started drawing my collection of moths, investigating  illustrative works. From there on I’ve always wanted to do more. Mammals, insects and every other living creature!

I find that many artists focus on their most successful works and then they artistically get stuck. I have noticed your will to experiment with your style and technique, how do you keep up your momentum? I am a very curious and a hyperactive person, I research and I experience all the time, both with design and tattoo. I think it’s a side of my character that is unconditionally reflected in my art. I love to collaborate with artists that inspire me every day, I like to go to as many shows and events parallel to the tattoo world as possible. I believe has a huge affect on my path, because I like to look around, outside of a single creative sphere.


Tell me about the heart with crystals that you tend to tattoo, how was this idea born? This idea came up thanks to one of my clients, four years ago. I was requested to do an anatomical heart inside an ice cube, but it would have never worked as a tattoo. After having confronted him, I proposed an alternative, and from there it came the idea to crystallize and adorn with jewels both objects and body parts.

You are of both Chinese and Italian descent, in your work we can see both your western and oriental side. A dualism that, in my opinion, characterises the uniqueness of your style. Do you agree? Yeah, the dualism has accompanied me throughout life, both in lifestyle and in artistic aspects. I love to contaminate my work with oriental details,


Who have you been tattooed by and which are your favourite tattoos? I am particularly fond of my sleeves: the right one is by Lars Uwe, who taught me so much about neo traditional style. And the left is by Fabio Gargiulo, with whom I’m working at SouthInk in Naples. He is teaching me so much about tattoo technique and style!

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What are your future plans? Any guest spot and conventions? I always join a lot of tattoo conventions! I will continue to do guest spots at Family Business in London, but I will also be guesting in other Italian tattoo shops.
I’m also supporting Overlap project, with Fabio Gargiulo. We invite artists from all over the world. This project aims to bring together different tattoo artists and styles in a single artwork. They draw on a life size human body silhouette that is at first split in to arms, legs and torso, and then finally recomposed together, giving birth to a single masterpiece: it’s OVERLAP. The 7th session will be held on 27th, 28th and 29th November, during Naples Convention. Fifty international artists will be involved. So excited!

Tattoo Experience: You talkin’ to me?

In this post Anna Casey-Woodward a 24-year-old legal trainee from Oxford who spends the majority of her time knitting, baking and getting tattooed. She talks about her different experiences with getting getting tattooed by different artists… 

For me, a large part of getting a new tattoo is meeting the artist and watching the illustration turn into a piece of beautiful body art. And for the most part, this has been my experience. However, there has been one occasion when poor communication with my tattooist almost led me to the dreaded tattoo regret…


Good communication with your tattooist stretches from your first email right until you are talking about aftercare. When I commissioned my tattoo, it was by an artist who I had Instagram-stalked for a long time and was in love with their style. I emailed them with a clear idea of what I wanted, where I wanted it and what my budget was. I was very detailed in my proposal and I hope the tattooist appreciated having such clear instructions. There was artistic licence and of course I wanted it in their style, but we both knew what the finished product was.

The deposit was paid, the appointment booked and the day soon came around. On the morning of the tattoo, I saw the sketch and was in love. I got to the studio and we worked around positioning the tattoo where I wanted it. Because of my career, I have to be careful that my tattoos are easily hidden and my tattooist was more than understanding about this and we got the position absolutely perfect. Then it was time to get the ink flowing! This was not going be a short tattoo, and at the time I was reasonably new to it, so I was a little nervous about managing to sit for so long. I don’t sit like a rock, as much as I want to, but was reassured by my tattooist that when it got too much we could take a little break or have some of that hallowed bactine! As a result, several hours later I had a beautiful tattoo which I adore.


Now to my less positive experience. This was a more impulsive tattoo, I was away on my honeymoon, but I still told the studio what I wanted and the tattoo was some four days later. It was something I had been thinking about getting for quite a while and I had a Pinterest board full of ideas. I had been assigned an artist who was guesting from over 4500 miles away, and I was really keen on the idea of getting art done by someone who I would probably never get the chance to see again.

I got to the studio, and had to wait a good half and hour before the artist was ready for me. During that time, I did a brief sketch of  what I wanted (as I liked parts of several different illustrations I had found and wanted to put them all together) and collected my thoughts. When the tattooist was then free, I talked to them about that I had drawn and showed them my inspiration (I really am a terrible artist!). We had a quick discussion about bits of my idea that would not work as a tattoo and ways they could be substituted. The artist then disappeared for another forty five minutes and eventually reappeared with a sketch. They showed me the sketch and… well… I wasn’t sure.

It was obvious in that moment that the tattooist and I hadn’t been on the same page when we started. I went ahead despite my reservations, and the first part was soon done. We then started to talk about colours, and the situation didn’t really improve. I had ideas, they had ideas, and they didn’t match. I didn’t feel that comfortable talking to the tattooist as I felt they weren’t really listening. The tattoo went ahead as they had suggested and about half an hour later it was finished.  Throughout the tattoo, the studio was playing floor-thumpingly loud music. As a result, there was not much of a chance to talk to the artist and I didn’t have a chance to say when the pain was too much. It hurt, and my leg bled. None of my other tattoos had ever bled outside of the studio, and this one bled all night. Did I go back to talk about after care and what to do? No, because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to go back.


However, there is a happy ending. The tattoo healed well and the next tattoo I had framed it really well. I was saved from that gut-wrenching feeling that a tattoo wasn’t quite what I had wanted, and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it. My next tattoo is just under a month away, and I will be chatting my way to another wonderful piece of body art.

Have you had the same experiences as Anna? Has how an artist talks to you changed how you feel about a tattoo? 

Interview with Tattoo Artist: Betty Latusek

London based photographer Marta Hawrylow interviewed Betty Beata Latusek who along with her partner Kamil work at Betty Tattoo in Wroclaw, Poland. On the day Betty organised a few of her clients, with healed tattoos, to come into the studio to talk about their tattoos and allow Marta to photograph them… 

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How long do you know each other? Gosh, ages, we’ve met when we were only kids,  14 years old. We have been inseparable since.

Was tattooing important to you back then? Our love for art and tattoo flourished few years after we met.  Kamil was my first skin, he trusted me enough when I was training, now he laughs that one day I’ll have to cover up my first tattoos.

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How long have you been collaborating? How is it working out for you guys? We do everything together, always have been. This isn’t our first job under one roof. Our roles are very clear, I draw and tattoo, Kamil focuses on customer service, the clients are very important to him and he is the CEO.

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How do you work with clients in order to design a project for them? This is Kamil’s part. He meets every client during the first consultation, he discusses what they want- the colours, size and placement. He also does the first draft, most clients bring in photos and other materials  to show what they want in their design. During the session, I chat with the client before we start, over a cuppa.

Does your work depict your personality? I don’t think so. I try to get to know the client and their wishes, I try to portray them, not myself in my work.

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What do you like to tattoo most? What is your favourite theme? I love portrait, realism, always have. Even in art school I loved painting faces.

Is there something you wouldn’t tattoo or a part of the body? I’d always said I will never tattoo faces. But broke that rule, and with pleasure I now say to never say never. I love a challenge and nothing surprises or scares me.

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What or who inspires you? Do you have any favourite artists? Everything what surrounds me inspires me, from changing seasons to people who come to the studio. There are many ultra talented polish artists whose art I admire like Marcin Surowiec or Giena Todryk. However, I might surprise you here, my favourite artist is our eight year old daughter Nadia, who is so gifted. She became a little star and I tattooed a few of her art work onto people already.

When was the first time you knew you wanted to be a tattoo artist? I knew in high school, when I was studying art and got my first tattoo. After that I was drawing projects for friends and their friends and that is how the love started.

And how did you get into tattoo world? Well, it was a bet with my nephew. And as very stubborn being, I did (and still would do) anything to achieve what I set my mind to.

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How long have you been tattooing it? Only seven years, five of which as Betty Tattoo.

How does your own tattoos make you feel? I always wait for super special moments in my life to get them on my skin. Few are a spur of the moment, but most are done by person who helped to change my life, Damian Kowal, my dear friend and my teacher.

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If you weren’t a tattooist, what would you be? I probably would still paint or draw, just using different tools. I am a jeweller by profession. Surely I would be doing something creative and interesting.

Careers: Tattooed Veterinary Receptionist

We chatted to 24-year-old Bristolian Sadie Oliver a senior veterinary receptionist at Higcroft veterinary group in Bath about her beautiful tattoo collection and her animal filled days… 

My very first tattoo at the tender impressionable age of 17 ( I knew a studio that wouldn’t question my age) was a traditional large red rose of my left foot which I showed off to all my friends but hid from my mum! It truly felt like I had opened the floodgates almost immediately after, I basked in the compliments I received. I still do to this day, I love how they are a starting point of conversation between strangers. The genuine intrigue people have about them that have no work themselves. Flash forward three years I got that same piece brightened up by a different artist, and had a snake added to it weaving in and out of the petals. I’m glad I added to it, it pops out at you a lot more now. I don’t regret the tattoo I chose for one minute.

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Rose on Sadie’s foot 

It sky rocketed from there and from the age of 18 onwards I’d get a piece a year up until my 23rd birthday when I discovered the amazing Jody Dawber (Our Fruity Issue cover star), then I went nuts and got six large pieces one after another. In between each piece, the empty skin would become more prevalent and I’d want to brighten them up mainly with more animals as I’ve always been passionate about them. I’ve got big plans to start a rabbit back piece based on my bunnies with her next year, which I know she’ll totally nail!


Butterfly by Jody

Leading on from my love of animals I’m very lucky to say I’ve finally found my dream career working with small furries every day at a veterinary surgery where I’ve been since January this year, working my way up to a senior receptionist position.
I’ve had lots of different jobs back in the day, rushing straight into full time work  in retail after college. I’ve found through all my jobs that my tattoos have never caused me a problem. I’ve always been asked about them respectfully and complimented, I guess none of them are offensive just bright and beautiful. I’ve always been upfront at interviews and dressed smart but made a point of mentioning them/showing them to the prospective employer if I thought it might have been relevant.


When I was hired at the vets, I won’t lie, I was apprehensive for once that my tattoos would effect my chance of getting the job. It would be the first job I would apply for since getting my neck and hands tattooed. Something I do not regret for one minute and would continue to cover in a heartbeat. At the interview I dressed smartly and covered my tattoos.  I remember wanting the chance to walk in there and blow them away without them getting a chance to judge me straight off.
The interview went well, nearing the end I felt confident enough to take my blazer off revealing my arms, which are fairly covered. The lady interviewing me stopped mid question, had a little gasp and asked me straight away about my work. She seemed genuinely interested and asked me to give her a twirl, which I did embarrassingly! She did however go on to tell me that she would have to check with those above her that if I was to be hired the company wouldn’t have a problem with my hands and neck tattoos, as she was aware that tattoos aren’t to everyone’s taste.

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I just wanted a chance to show I’m no different to anybody else waiting in the hallway to be interviewed, and that I had more than the necessary experience for the position.
A week later I was invited for a trial shift, which was a ton of fun. I was told later that day the good news that they couldn’t wait to have me on board, and that some of the older ladies working on reception found me to be very friendly and helpful, it felt like a victory that I could be myself and prove wrong shitty stereotyping older generations seem to find it difficult to shake off.


Almost 10 months on, I’m super settled in my own branch in Bath, a small practice where I work alongside one vet manning reception and taking complete control of the practice. I get to cuddle puppies and kittens practically every day which is awesome! In particular I enjoy watching routine operations like spays and castrations, and have expressed my interest to go into veterinary nursing school sometime next year.

I’ve only ever had one older chap be a total stick in the mud and try to make a show of me,  questioning me why I felt the need to “litter my skin with monstrosities!” I think if I wouldn’t have been professional and at work I would have told him what of it! He asked me “how I got this job looking like I sold the big issue” which particularly upset me. I squared up to him and sweetly explained I got the job for being more than competent at what I do, and that my appearance had absolutely nothing to do with it.


I won’t lie I sometimes receive negative comments from people under their breath, say for example on the bus stop. I think it’s sad when typically older people move away from me as if I’m infectious, but I don’t dwell on it. They’re missing out on a good person so it’s totally they’re loss to be close minded! I’ve always found tattoos beautiful and interesting, I love the idea that we can jazz ourselves up and stand out from the crowd, show everyone this is who we are. Take us or leave us.

I’ve found my home and future career now at the vets, they’re more than acceptable of me and others in the industry who are heavily tattooed, just recently they took on a vet who’s head to toe covered. We do our jobs to the highest of standards, our appearances don’t change our values or work ethics tattoos or no tattoos.

Interview with Tattoo Artist: Mattia Rivolta

Mattia Rivolta is an Italian born tattoo artist who works out of UEO Tattoo in Switzerland. We chatted to Mattia about the process behind his tattoos and what inspires him… 


How did you become a tattooist, what did you do before? I have spent my whole life cultivating a passion for art, especially painting and sculpture. I first began tattooing in 2004, when I was 24-years-old. I have always been attracted to oriental culture, but when I was learning to tattoo I did all kinds of styles.After a while I began to do more Japanese art as this has always been my first love. I opened a shop in Como in my grandfather’s old cobbler shop, to honour him in a way. If you know a lot of people you can compare your level, assimilate the best elements and suggests how everyone, including yourself can improve.  Tattooing is a life school, you learn how the people are, it is a kind of ‘work in progress for ever’, it not only tests your commitment but also develops your soul.

How would you describe your style?  My style is unique to me, I call it ‘Japan revisited in a modern key’ or UEO. My work is easily identifiable and I wanted to personalise the bodies of my clients, like a signature. I use oriental Japan as a guide, but it is not purely traditional, I don’t like to copy. I like to find the best way of expressing historical figures and turn their energy, stories and beliefs into art.


What inspires you? I take many of my subjects from books and looking for something usually inspires me. I love mixing real elements of Japanese, new school and traditional with different perceptions.  I try not to use the internet as it is too commercial. I am inspired by the feeling I get when I see the result of my drawing and planning tattooed onto my client. I think that the place in which you live is radically important to the way you work. When I was in Japan, it was great, I was excited and everything I experienced added to my soul and excitement.

Can you explain the process behind your tattoos?  The process of transferring thoughts into ideas start with concentration; at the beginning the background starts to move, after that I try to focus the subject in my mind. Everything in my head is dynamic, I think that the movement is my work is my calling card, especially in Italy, as many artists tend to do fixed or flat shapes. On the contrary Japanese work is all about fluidity and balance. The process of tattooing is very intimate both physically and psychologically. I fit the pieces on the client’s body to enhance them, respecting their personality and energy. In the years there are many changes to the body and you have to attentively study the customer’s body.


What do you like to draw or tattoo? I really enjoy drawing my designs onto people’s bodies rather than using a stencil. I think they fit so much better and the movement of the lines add a flow to the images. I try to find more unusual subjects and broaden the Japanese horizon in my work and I tend to mix styles.

Do you have any advice for those starting out in the tattoo industry? The more hours you give to study, the more an artist grows. The key word is DEDICATION , and also a little talent can explode. I am continuously studying and pushing myself, my life is an ongoing commitment to my work. I live and breath art, I live in an artistic dimension and I love it!

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What does the future hold, do you have any conventions planned? My biggest wish is to travel a lot in more and to work at more conventions. I really want to work on more full body pieces, as I love working on a large scale, I find it really satisfying. Although I am always striving to be better and I am critical of my own work. I aim for continuous growth and progression, to do the best tattoos I can do.

Illustrations by Ree

We spotted Ree’s cute tattooed babes on Instagram and had to talk to her about her pastel palette and love of tattoos. Ree has created a tattooed out of this world girl just for Things&Ink


Tell us a little about yourself?  Everyone calls me Ree, I am a 25 years old freelance illustrator and I’m from Venezuela, but my current location is Miami, Florida. My location changes a lot! I’m a lucky girl. I’ve lived in Madrid, Spain for a couple of years too. I will be moving soon to Dominican Republic for work, and then who knows!

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How would you describe your style? My style is always changing, but right now I feel more comfortable with it than ever. I’m bad at describing these sort of things but I would say it is a mixture between cute, girly, surreal with a pinch of girl power.

What inspires you? Most days I get inspiration from what I am feeling at the moment or what I am thinking. Sometimes I watch a TV show and get really into it and won’t necessarily draw fan-art but something that inspired me from it.

What do you like to draw? Girls and powerful girls, sometimes in a surreal way. I would love to draw boys and plants better and post them more often too, but I have to practice a lot first!


Do you have a background in art? Yes, I’ve been drawing since I was little. I studied Art History in Spain but decided to pursue the career I really wanted and now I am studying animation at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (online division). It’s alright but I think the real way to become a good artist is practicing everyday!


Can you tell us about your tattoos? I have four tattoos, and I love them. My first tattoo is the biggest one that I have and it is on my thigh, it means a lot to me. All of them do, but I don’t mind getting something that hasn’t a deep meaning necessarily. I want to get a lot more just because I love tattoos, but I need to save up! I’m loving the blackwork style tattoos especially.

Can people buy your illustrations? Yes, I don’t have a proper online store open yet (I am working on it) but you can contact me personally through a private message on Instagram or send me a quick email at


Grace Neutral film… The Tattoo Covered Alien Princess

Grace Neutral… The Tattoo Covered Alien Princess… a film by i-D magazine… 

Get to know tattoo artist Grace Neutral, the 26-year-old handpoke tattoo artist who transformed herself from alternative weirdo to pixie dream girl with a series of body modifications. Surrounded by her fluffy friends Totoro, Stitch and Pusheen, Grace welcomes i-D magazine into the bedroom of her London flat where they discover the emotional and physical steps she went through on the journey towards becoming her true self: the tattoo-covered alien princess with purple eyes, pointed elf ears, a forked tongue, scarification and no bellybutton that just walked for Ashley Williams during LFW and keeps her quarter of a million fans inspired on Instagram. Be you. Be beautiful.

Pearls of Wisdom: Tattoo Conventions

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she’ll be talking about getting tattooed at tattoo conventions… 

I went to my first tattoo conventions this summer, the first Liverpool Tattoo Convention, the second Leeds International Tattoo Expo. They were two fairly different experiences, Liverpool being a huge gathering spread out over a warren of rooms filled with artists and merchandise stalls whilst Leeds was a smaller, more intimate affair. I enjoyed both equally.


Before my first convention I wasn’t sure what to expect, admittedly getting tattooed with an audience wasn’t on my list of fun activities but it was an occasion to get tattooed by my artist without having to travel as far. So I booked in to have my knee cap tattooed by Max Rathbone who had tattooed the rooster on my shin the year before. Yep my knee cap, in public – one of the most painful places or so I’d been told. I wasn’t getting tattooed until later in the afternoon so I had chance to say hello to friends and watch my boyfriend James get tattooed by Andy Walker. This is where we differ as a couple, I like to book my tattoos in advance whereas he prefers to be spontaneous on the day and go for walk-ups (choosing from the artists flash or pre-dawn designs on the day). He also got a little filler from Ad of Folklore Tattoo– a super fun bunch. My turn came and Max scribbled on my knee with coloured pens, he assured me these freehand scribbles would be a peony so I trusted his word and let him crack on. Max had tattooed me before and I was familiar with his style so I could sit back and relax knowing I would end up with an amazing tattoo. To my surprise getting your knee tattooed wasn’t half as bad as I’d expected, phew! Although the swelling after scuppered any plans for a night out, it was back to the digs with a pizza and a bag of frozen peas, our arms laden with prints and other trinkets.

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My second convention experience was just as good, after the vastness of Liverpool the intimate nature of Leeds Expo was a real contrast. Whilst there was less to do there was more time to chat. I had booked in with Holly Ashby whose work if been a fan of for a while, having bought some of her stunning prints for our home and as gifts so I was excited to meet her. Even though I’d not met Holly we had chatted before hand and decided on a design, having already been tattooed at a convention I wasn’t freaked out like I had been for the first convention. That said at Leeds there was a lot more people walking past and taking photos, at first I found this a bit weird but Holly was absolutely lovely and it ended up being really fun talking to other people approaching her booth. We got to chat to people from all over the globe including other people there to get tattooed by Holly – it was like joining a special club. Inner thigh was a bit of an awkward spot as I ended up sat on a bench with paper towels tucked in my knickers, but it was worth the slight embarrassment as I adore the placement of my gorgeous pooch tattoo. In one hilarious moment a couple came running up to us brandishing a napkin, after some confusion it turned out they wanted a lipstick kiss print too use as a tattoo template. I am still left to this day wondering if some has my kiss tattooed!


Natalie getting tattooed by Holly Ashby taken by Graham Pile

Interview with Tattoo Artist: Becci Murphy

Tattoo artist Becci Murphy or Boo works at Vida Loca tattoo studio in Bolton, Greater Manchester and creates colourfully cute and cartoon like tattoos. We chatted to Boo about her love for Cartoon Network and upcoming guest spots… 

How long have you been tattooing, when did you start? I have been tattooing over four years and started around 2011 a year into my apprenticeship.


What did you do before, do you have a background in art? I was actually going to Bolton university to study fine art, after trying to get an apprenticeship.I was turned away so many times for being a girl and girls talk to much or they had no space. So I decided to carry on with my artistic venture after going to college twice studying fine art, graphics, photography and illustration because I just wanted to learn more .


What inspires you? I’d say my inspiration comes a lot from cartoons, I sit with my cat watching lots of adult swim cartoons and Cartoon Network. My mum and brother are both amazing artists, my brother has always drawn comics and watching him do that inspired me to try and be better than him! I’d say I’m quite a collective person too, I like to collect comics, video games, art, skateboards, records and box sets etc they all inspire me in different directions which I can’t help but love.


How would you describe your style? I’d say my style is a bright and bold with a twist on traditional.

What do you like to tattoo? I love tattooing cartoons and music inspired pieces, I think music goes hand in hand with my job and when you tattoo a fellow fan of your favour band and they ask you to design a custom idea it’s the best feeling in the world! I recently did a Futurama piece and I honestly could tattoo that every single day! Anything bright and that I can put my all into and hopefully create something my customer loves!


Is there anything you wouldn’t tattoo? I’d never tattoo anything offensive and I always go that extra mile when couples want each other’s names I always tell them to have a really good think about it and come back when they are both 110% . I’m really not into the first tattoo on the throat or hands trends, maybe I’m just old fashioned but I think you should work for your tattoos do your research and not just get them to show off .


Do you have any conventions or guest spots planned?  I am working Manchester Tea Party next year for definite , I’m going to try Brighton and Liverpool then hopefully venturing out of the country to try and work Amsterdam.

I will be guesting with a few friends hopefully my lovely friends at Cock A Snook in Newcastle, working along side my friend Gibbo at Rude Studios once they have room and then off to Tokyo Tattoo when I get my arse in gear! Then finally back to London to see my friend Will Thompson who has always helped me along the way.