Category: Feature tattoos

Tattoo love story – The Wedding

Over two years ago, we launched a competition to find the ultimate tattooed love story, we wanted to know if your relationship was linked by ink… (Original comp here.) The winners would receive wedding photography, by Eclection Photography, for their big day.

And the winners were Roxanne And Greg (read their story in this blog post with the other two finalists)… our Things & Ink Tattoo Love Story Wedding Competition Winners. And on Wednesday of this week, they made their commitments to each other in Ink, by getting their wedding fingers tattooed by Alexis Camburn at her studio  Two Snakes Tattoo in Hastings.

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Greg and Roxanne designed the ring/tattoo together. The star and the moon simply symbolising that they are each other’s moon and stars. The four dots represent Roxanne, Greg and their two cats (cute!).  Who, btw, will be at the wedding… in the form of cardboard cut outs!

Roxanne was first in the chair and Greg joked: “at least I know the odds of you turning up are pretty high now.” Greg and Roxanne both had their wedding bands tattooed within 30 minutes.  Less time than your average wedding!

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We are all very excited over here at Things &Ink HQ,  the wedding of Roxanne and Greg – the Things & Ink Tattoo Love Story Wedding Competition Winners.  They will tie the knot officially today (Friday 28 August) in East London…

Tattoo artist Alexis does lots of wedding band tattoos and people like the freedom to create what they like as opposed to being limited by what your can wear as a ring.  She has tattoeed couple’s  dates,  initials and also made wedding rings from simple bands to extensive patterns.

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We will keep you all updated on the big day!

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Dina Litovsky: Under the Needle

Brooklyn based photographer Dina Litovsky has created a series called Under the Needle, in which she captures the serene and painful moments of people being tattooed. The photographs were taken earlier this year at both the Empire State Tattoo Expo and the New York City Tattoo Convention.

 

Long Term Illness and Tattoos

Our guest blogger is illustrator and crafter Rachel Rawlings, creator of Rachel Vs Body blog. On her blog Rachel writes  about her various chronic conditions and how they affect her life and have changed how she experiences the world. In this post she talks about her tattoos and how they help her to regain control of her body… 

The human body is an interesting thing. Take mine, for example. In 2012, I was in my final year of studying for my illustration degree, working as a healthcare assistant in my spare time, spending most evenings in the week cooking and hanging out with my friends and coursemates. I was 20 and everything was – for the most part – working fine. But then, I got sick.

It was just a virus to start off with, but over time, I didn’t get better. I was constantly in pain; I felt dizzy at the smallest motion; food became my greatest enemy, triggering nausea and cramps at the most pathetic nibble; my concentration was shot; walking became something akin to climbing mount Everest; and, above all, I was EXHAUSTED. Not tired; not fatigued; not sleepy or dozy; but that all consuming physical exhaustion that you get when you’ve had a particularly bad bout of flu. I was diagnosed with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and P.O.T.S (postural tachycardia syndrome) on top of my existing health conditions (chronic migraine, IBS, eczema, eczema herpeticum and asthma), and three and a half years on I’m still undergoing tests to see what’s making me so unwell.

Moth by Paul Davies at Loki Ink, Plymouth

Things got progressively worse, and these days I can’t work or study as I’m mainly confined to my bed (although on good days I make it to my living room); I use a powered wheelchair ( or crutches if I’m feeling particularly perky) to get around because walking is so difficult; I’ve lost a lot of friends who can’t figure out how to cope with me being poorly. Trying to be well is my full time occupation.

With my body failing me in such an extravagant fashion, there is one thing that makes me feel like I have some modicum of control over it; getting tattooed. I got my first one in early 2014 while I was doing my MA and had been sick for a couple of years. It’s a small deathshead moth on my wrist done by Paul at Loki Ink in Plymouth, a subject matter I chose because of its connotations of transformation and freedom.

Connor Tyler at Joker Tattoo, Portsmouth

Getting tattooed is a bit of an ordeal for me. The actual tattooing is fine – I’m very lucky to have a high pain threshold (pain holds very little fear for someone on painkillers as strong as the ones I’m on) so I can sit under the needle for hours without it bothering me. The issue is everything else.

First off, I have to get to the place – which is hard. I usually only leave the house once a week, twice if I’m lucky, and always with someone else (it’s not safe for me to go out alone), so the logistics of organising that can be tough.

Then, getting there, I have to deal with the sensory overload of a place full of people and buzzing machines and music; with M.E., your senses are often in an extremely heightened state and any noise, light, touch can be excruciating. The noise is a particularly tough one for me as I get migraines and tinnitus, so I have to really prepare myself for the aural onslaught of a tattoo shop.

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Having to sit or lie in one position really still is hard for anyone, but when you get muscle spasms and convulsions on top of chronic pain, it can be … interesting for all involved. P.O.T.S causes tachycardia, dizziness and blackouts if you’re upright for too long, so I have to be in a position which is safe for my particular conditions. I have to bring my medicines, lots of water, layers of clothes, my walking aids, ear plugs, sunglasses, a whole bunch of nonsense just to get through the session. After a tattoo, I’m always in agony – but the tattoo itself isn’t the problem, the joint and muscular pain incurred is.

It took me a while to draw up the courage to get tattooed – not because of the pain (note the aforementioned painkillers), but because I was scared of doing something so permanent to myself. But my body was already permanently altered from the way it should be, so that was no longer an excuse. I was scared that people would judge me on sight – but if you’re a twenty-something having to use a wheelchair or crutches, people give you some odd looks anyway. So, sod it, I thought – let’s give them something to stare at.

Marcelina Urbańska, Rock’n’Ink, Krakow

It seems like a lot to go through just to get an image on my skin, but for me it’s worth it. After feeling like my body had turned traitor, I have taken back the reins and forced it into a form which makes me happy. Sure, I may be covered in scars, a bit chubby from the medication, pale as death and with eyes like pissholes in the snow, but I’m still in control of how my body looks – on a superficial level, at least. Tattoos have helped me accept the changes that have been forced upon me by letting me shape the way I look, even if I’m powerless to control the way my body works. There’s a lot to be said for a needle and ink and the power of positive thought – it might not make the crippled walk, but it can damn well make us feel good sitting down.

Street Spotting: Blackpool Convention

On Sunday 16th August our editorial assistant Rosie was at the second Tatcon in Blackpool, while she was there she did some street spotting, these are the people she met and the tattoos she saw…

Name: Wendy Freestone Age: 48 Lives: Stoke-on-Trent Job: Business owner and Studio mum at The Painted Pin Up Tattoo Parlour 

Tattoos: Chest piece is a rework by Natalie McShee. Business logo on her foot, hands and legs are by both Josie Morris and Natalie McShee.

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Name: Bex Harrison Age: 26 Lives: Manchester Job: Healthcare Assistant

Tattoos: Bows on her calves by Mike at Nostalgia Tattoo in Leeds. Monkey by Kirsty Sanderson

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Name: Laura Rafferty Age: 22 Lives: Newcastle Job: Sales advisor

Tattoos: Butterfly lady by Danielle Rose. Shiny shin by Hayley Parkin at Inkslingers tattoo studio in Newcastle.

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Name: Krystian Dranikowski Age: 20 Lives: Leeds Job: Tattoo artist at 1995 tattoo studio opening next month.

Tattoo: His good friend Juan Martinez

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When Tattoo Culture and Fashion Collide

Our guest blogger is Jade-Bailey Dowling, fashion writer and creator of Nouvelle Noir, a blog dedicated to dark fashion. In this post she explores tattoos in the world of fashion… 

Fashion and tattoo art appear to have very little in common . While fashion is fleeting by its very nature – trends change twice a year – tattoos are a life-long commitment. Yes, there are, of course, “trends” in tattooing (take the tribal mania of the ’90s, or the current love of the mandala), but when deciding to get tattooed, you put far more thought into it than which new season shoes to purchase.

However, fashion has repeatedly looked towards the tattoo community to gain inspiration for their own craft.

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Designer Jean Paul Gaultier has repeatedly drawn inspiration from body art in his designs. His signature style originated from nautical influence, and this too included the body art and tattoos sported by sailors. While the Breton stripe was prominent in his early work, traditional Japanese style patterns were seen in the Spring/Summer 2012 collection – printed on women’s shoes and handbags, as well as earlier in the Gaultier menswear. His tattoo infatuation was enhanced further when designing the Diet Coke bottles (also in 2012), a campaign that saw Gaultier cover model Daisy Lowe in temporary body art to promote the collection.

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And Jean Paul Gaultier is not alone in bringing tattoo art to haute couture. In 2012, Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel, sent models down the catwalk covered in Chanel-esque temporary tattoos. Designs included pearls, the brands signature interlocking Cs and brands namesake and creator, Coco Chanel’s favourite flower, a camellia. They had been designed by the brand’s former make-up director Peter Philips, and at £45 a sheet, fashionistas could get the tattoo trend without the commitment of a lifelong addition.

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This seeming ‘tattoo trend’ looks to continue into Spring/Summer ’16, McQueen has designed a new take on the brand’s signature skull scarf to incorporate traditional flash style artwork alongside it. At £95, tattoo flash sheets become wearable in these silk scarves.

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Kate Moss is noted for having a small swallow tattoo on her wrist, but previously models, in particular female models, were discouraged from having large, visable tattoos in the fear of hindering their careers. This seems to be changing gradually, with the likes of Cara Delevingne proudly showing off her many visable artworks, including a lion on her finger. Also, at the Met Gala this year – a yearly fashion event held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by U.S Vogue editor Anna Wintour – Cara Delevingne decorated herself with cherry blossom airbrushed body art, done by New York tattoo artist Bang Bang, in keeping with the theme of Chinese Whispers: Through the Looking Glass.

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More recently, cult shoe brand Dr Martens looked towards tattoo artistry for inspiration. Their Spring/Summer 2015 collection included shoes, satchels and dresses adorned with traditional style tattoo patterns. Similarly, for Brighton Pride 2015, Dr Martens teamed up with tattoo artists from the local area to come together for a charity raffle with prizes including shoes and bags custom decorated by local tattoo artists.

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Tattoos and fashion have collided in a more permanent way (forget the temporary tats) on the high street too… A few years ago, consumers could not only get their fashion fix, but they could also get a tattoo in the Metal Morphosis studio in Topshop’s flag ship store in Oxford Circus. And last year, legendary department store Selfridges had a pop-up tattoo parlour for two weeks.

Although it’s great that body art and tattoos are seemingly being more accepted into society, especially within fashion, taking inspiration from the late Yves Saint Laurent quote, perhaps trend seekers should remember that fashions fade, while tattoos are eternal.

Blackpool Tattoo Convention

Our editorial assistant Rosie attended the second ever Blackpool Tatcon  held at Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool last weekend. After entering a competition on tattoo blog Inkluded’s Facebook page, Rosie won free Sunday passes. Here’s what she got up to on the day…

The convention ran for three days beginning on Friday 14th- Sunday 16th August. I travelled to Blackpool, somewhere I have never been before, on Sunday the last day of the convention. The venue was a castle shaped hotel right on the sea front and was home, for the weekend to over 100 tattooists and traders. The convention hall was made into corridors from the tattoo booths and there was a stage at the front to showcase the entertainment.

Rosie getting tattooed by Emily Dawson

I didn’t plan to get tattooed at Blackpool as I was there to blog Things&Ink and see the sea. But at conventions it is so hard to resist with everyone around you getting tattooed! The lovely Emily Dawson, owner of Holy Ghost Tattoo in Rotherham, created a cute cactus for me inspired by the art of Anne Knispel.

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The convention was packed full of tattoo artists demonstrating a wide variety of styles from traditional hand poked to realism, to watercolour and neo-traditional. There were artists from all over the country and many that I had not seen before. I love going to conventions and discovering new artists, styles and ways of doing things. As I am from the Midlands it was great to see so many artists from the North of England that I admire and follow on Instagram.

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Similar to many conventions the entertainment focused on burlesque performances, live bands and acts such as sword swallowing. Many tattooists commented that the music was far too loud, I had to agree as I was shouting when introducing myself to artists.

There were also awards at the end of each day for categories such as best apprentice, best small colour and best of day. These are a great way for artists to showcase their creations and be praised for their work.

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Jakub Hendrix won Best Large Piece on Sunday

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Ashley Luka won second place for Best of Sunday

There was also the Banana Ink stand, who were also at Liverpool convention, where convention goers could have a go at banana skins. The aim being that people will see how hard tattooing really is and the skill needed to do it, but I wonder if it will encourage people to buy a machine and have a go at creating tattoos at home?

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The organisers held a charity auction which not only had items gifted from the traders, including a taxidermy chick on a skateboard but also one of a kind art pieces. The conventions organisers prior to the event had sent artists skulls in the hope that they would decorate them in their own style. The most popular being an bio mechanical skull with a working camera in one of its eyes. All the proceeds went to haematology and Leukaemia charities.

chaThis is only the second year of Blackpool Tatcon, it is a really young and new convention, so I’m really excited to see what the convention has in store for next year… 

Focus Group: Tattoo Spotting

Last night we had a focus group in London to find out what our readers love and don’t love about Things&Ink magazine. We met these three lovely ladies who shared their opinions about our articles, layout and, of course, tattoos! There are lots of exciting changes ahead for Things&Ink

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Above from left: Columnist ReeRee Rockette, editor Alice Snape, editorial assistant Rosalie Woodward and our three panel members… 

We couldn’t resist the opportunity to street spot and chat tattoos to our panel members…

Name: Emma Age: 27 Lives: London  Job: Photograph researcher for Merlin
Tattoo: Skull by Ray Hunt at Diablo Tattoo in Kent

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Name: Laura Age: 40 Lives: Maidstone, Kent  Job: Dinner lady/ toddler rugby coach
Tattoo: Abi Cornell at Inkfish in Maidstone
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Name: Silvia Age: 24 Lives: London Job: Digital marketing executive
Tattoo: Lady by Angelique Houtkamp at Salon Serpent Tattoo in Amsterdam
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If you have any suggestions or comments about the magazine get in touch, email us at hello@thingsandink.com

The Ride: Simon Erl

Kicking off in London on Saturday 22nd August, Sailor Jerry will be hitting the road for two weeks of bad-ass bikes, smokin’ wood-fired bbqs, live music and tattoos. They’ll be setting off on a journey of balls-to-the-wall riding on their very own custom built Harley Davidson, scenic pit stops and the odd Sailor Jerry throw down on the way… finishing up at Grillstock Festival on 6th September 2015.

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Joining them on this epic road trip is tattooist and motorcycle enthusiast, Simon Erl. German-born 32-year-old Simon was raised in Auckland, New Zealand and apprenticed under Ta Moko specialist Brent McCown, before relocating to London in 2003 and eventually opening his own studio: The Dungeon. Over the past decade Simon has tattooed throughout Asia and Europe and become a regular guest at conventions across the globe. Now tattooing from Hackney’s Dharma Tattoo, Simon has partnered up with Sailor Jerry to join The Ride, inking amazing pieces from Norman Collins renowned flash collection along the way.

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What first attracted you to the tattoo world? I always thought tattoos were rebellious and looked cool. Eventually I knew I wanted to be the person drawing them.

How would you describe your style? My tattoos have a traditional approach to them but subject wise coming from old European folklore and mythology I suppose.

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What do you love about motorbikes? And why do you think there is such a crossover in the motor bike and tattoo worlds? What do they both share? I suppose I like motorbikes for the same reason I like tattoos.  I’m into the aesthetic of groups of people wanting to mark themselves out of normal society and live as outsiders.

What is your involvement with Sailor Jerry and can you tell us a little more about The Ride and what it is? We’re heading on a two week ride for Sailor Jerry with some friends in hope to find some adventure, meet some interesting people and see some nice places along the way. Should be a trip.

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Burning Desire: Body Branding

Burning Desires is a short film created by Channel 4 that follows tattoo enthusiast Kerri as she has traditional Viking runes (letters) burned/branded onto her skin. ‘Burning Desires’ sits within a Body Mods C4 shorts series, which also features other forms of body modification including ear pointing and corset piercings.

Kerri chose the designs based on her fascination with Viking travellers and the way that they marked their skin. The runes, representing love and victory, are burned onto her skin with 500C-700C heat.

Watch the video below to see Kerri’s whole scarification experience:

Interview with Tattoo Artist: Caroline Vitelli

Tattoo artist Caroline Vitelli works out of Brut, a private studio in Geneva and creates beautifully dark and illustrative tattoos. We chatted to her about the ancient art of skin sewing and what inspires her…

How long have you been tattooing? I don’t really know, maybe two years, maybe longer. Years ago, I was introduced, by an Inuit, to a ancestral technique of sewing tattoos or skin-stitched tattooing (Watch Colin Dale on Needles and Sins). Skin-sewing tattoos are a type of ‘healing tattoo’ – the tattooer introduces into the skin, by means of a needle, with a thread, which has been greased beforehand and soaked with soot. The thread, pulled by the needle according to the outlines of the drawing, abandons the colouring agent between the flesh and the skin.

After this I began to stitch my own drawings onto skin. I did my left hand this way. But it took a long time of reflection and self questioning. After a few years I started doing tattoos with a machine.

What attracted you to the world of tattoos? The thing is that I am a non-stop doodler, I needed to find a way to use all those drawings.

What inspires you? I am inspired by feral nature, literature, poetry, animals, poisonous plants, people, the light that we can find in the dark. My imagination – like my head – is filled with a thousand little tiny creatures working, running, screaming, all the time, it’s exhausting. But I think that everything that has been done, and my head is full of images or quotes or reference,  of course sometimes one can be deeply influenced and doesn’t realise it.

Do you admire any artists, do they influence your work? I admire some creative creatures such as my friend Old Hag (Darby Lagher),  her photography is so mesmerising and heartening for me, she captures auras of dreamlike occult and naturalistic worlds. Also, I am always speechless when I listen to Chelsea Wolfe, I’ve been listening to her new album Abyss non stop since last week, and it gives me shivers, every time. Like Rowland S. Howard, SHIVERS.

And, of course, they may influence me, like everything, I am a super sensitive, but I already have a lot to deal with in my head, things that I have to put together on the paper.

Can you tell us about the tattoos on your own body? My first tattoo was an Icelandic magical stave on my right arm, I got it when I was a young teenager. And I still love it.

I have my shoulders and neck done by Happypets in Lausanne, it’s two black swans and an ornamental thistle. I have a drawing by Max Ernst on my back, if you look closely you can see that the skirt of the woman is hiding an older tattoo, I got it done when I was 16.

My hands are constructed like an altar. Both with sewing-technique and machines.
I also adore my big black rose from Alexander Grim, he and his wife Lamia Vox are so interesting and talented. I have a piece on my stomach drawn by Tracey Emin, a snake in my hand tattooed by Paolo Bosson, cats on my legs by Gem Love, trash poked tattoos done by Ingimar. And my latest one is a piece done by  Johnny Gloom, I truly adore it.

I have lots more, and I can’t possibly name them all.

What kinds of things do you like to tattoo? I like to tattoo dark things, black stuff, thorns and rusty nails, monsters, animals, flowers, amulets, medieval faces, plants. I like to tattoo my universe. The things that I collect around me.