Category: Features

Keely Rutherford on dealing with depression

Tattoo artist Keely Rutherford recently lost her mum to depression and pyschosis, in this honest interview she talks about what happened to her mum and why she is holding a charity flash day in her memory…

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Keely with her mum and dad

Have you always been aware of your mum’s struggle with depression and psychosis? To be honest no. She struggled and was sectioned for nine months about 13 years ago. Mum had never shown signs before, when she was home it was something we never really spoke about. I wish I’d taken the time to understand her and how she might have been feeling.

I don’t think we ever fully recover from mental health issues, but my mum just got on with things the best way she could. She was strong, courageous and had a very happy life with my dad. Looking back over the years, Dad and I have realised Mum had an addiction with shopping. When she was worried or anxious, she’d spend money to make herself feel better. Since she passed away, we’ve found thousands of pounds worth of clothes all with the labels still on. I think mental health covers such a wide spectrum of symptoms, that it must be so hard to realise when you are dealing with a mental illness.

Do you remember this while you were growing up? The first time I remember Mum getting poorly, I was 20. She’d just retired and was at home alone all day while dad and I went to work. When we came home, we slowly started to realise that mum hadn’t changed from her pyjamas all day. She was extremely anxious and panicky and we couldn’t work out why. This went on for longer than it should have, but Dad and I were totally unaware of mental health symptoms of this nature, so we didn’t know what to do.

We finally got Mum to a doctor who referred her to a psychiatrist who was very concerned for her. She got sectioned within the week as she was showing signs of psychosis and depression. She’d lost so much weight and was severely malnourished. It took her about nine months to get back to some kind of normality. If I’m honest, I don’t think Mum was ever herself after this. She was a big worrier, but she was still bloody wonderful, caring and funny! We had a great relationship. She confided in me back in November 2016, just before she was back in the psychiatric hospital. Her worry was totally fixable and I took control to help the situation. Sadly it didn’t change how Mum felt, the damage was already done.

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Keely being tattooed by her mum

Do you struggle with mental health yourself? Who doesn’t? I don’t think as humans we were designed to put ourselves under the amount of stress that we do, with work and our lifestyles. We push ourselves so much to be these amazing humans that we all are, but I do think that can affect us mentally.

I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental health issues, but then again I’ve never been to see any one. I know I get anxious but never enough for it to affect my life too much. Losing Mum made me have emotions I’d never faced before. It’s only been a few months since Mum died and I’ve had a couple of days I just didn’t want to get out of bed – which is very unlike me and made me understand depression. I’m so lucky to have my boyfriend Andrew, he has been a rock, not only to me but to my dad too. I know the days could have been a lot darker without his presence.

What advice would you give to others who are worried about relatives? It’s so hard as everyone has a different story. Definitely talk to them, try and help them open up. The second time around my mum’s GP wasn’t very helpful. He wouldn’t look at her history or refer her to a psychiatrist as we suggested. So I called Mind and they said go to A&E and ask to see the duty psychiatrist, so we did on December 2nd 2016. They took us to a private room, asked Mum lots of questions – and Dad and I. They assessed her situation. They organised a team from Crisis to visit mum at home twice a day. By the 5th of December, Mum was back on a psychiatric ward. I never knew about going to A&E for this kind of help, so it’s something I want to share.

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“My parents both tattooed me in August last year. Which I’m so grateful for.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your decision to let your mum go? Oh man this is a hard one. On February 17th I was working the London Tattoo Collective. At 10.30am, my phone rings and it’s Mum’s ward. She was on her way to hospital as they couldn’t wake her up, she was unconscious from going into a diabetic hypo. She stayed in hospital for two weeks where they got her eating, they then sent her back to the psychiatric ward where within days she was rushed back into hospital as she was unconscious again.

Since about January, Mum had stopped walking and being able to feed herself through the meds not working and lack of support in the ward. So by this time she had been bed bound for a month. The hospital where mum now was ran test after test and found nothing, she was a little more conscious but she wasn’t talking or opening her eyes. We celebrated her birthday on March 10th, she was 73. She was now being fed through a tube and had been on a drip for several weeks and still semi-conscious. All her tests came back clear, so over the next week Dad and I met with numerous specialists, who all said they couldn’t find anything wrong other than Mum’s brain didn’t want to fight any more, it was shutting down.

So on March the 17th we had our final meeting, and this was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. To let Mum go peacefully. The doctors had no other options and poor Mum couldn’t fight for herself and I know she would have hated us all seeing her lay there day in day out. They said the chances of Mum ever walking again was near on impossible as her tendons were so dehydrated. So for my darling Mum’s dignity, the specialist, Dad and I made the decision to stop all the meds and let her go. Mum started palliative care (end of life treatment) on the 18th of March. So we sat with her every day and night for two weeks until she passed away on April 1st, this was torture watching her slowly die, but it also seemed so unfair to prolong her suffering. I held her hand until the bitter end

We will never know if Mum knew what was happening the last few months of her life. All I know is that I hope she knew that Dad and I were with her when her heart stopped beating.

Why is it so important to open up a dialogue about mental health issues? It’s the unspoken illness, yet it affects so many people’s lives. When I told people my mum was seriously ill people assumed she had a physical illness. I’ve had such an amazingly overwhelming response already from sharing my story and making a charity day [details at the end of this interview] to raise money and awareness. As you can image it was a very hard decision to go public, but as soon as I did it was like a weight had lifted. I hope by sharing others will be encouraged to confide in the people around them.

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Some of Keely’s flash available at the charity day on August 12th

What do you hope to achieve from the flash day? Awareness for people like my mum who suffered and felt too scared to ask for help. 100% of what we make will be going to the mental health charity Mind – they helped us so much. We have already had so many donations, I’m so grateful.

You mention on your JustGiving page that your mum loved cats and passed this down to you (and that is why it is a cat flash day) did she pass anything else down to you? So much! I’m very like my mum, she also asked daft questions all the time! Which I’m very aware of doing! I’m amazing at shopping so I think that’s down to her! She was a great mum and devoted her life to me, she taught me so much. To be caring, kind and to love. I’ll always miss our chats about life and love.

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Cat & MIND Charity Day

10am, Saturday 12th August
Jolie Rouge
364 Caledonia Road

London, N1 1DU
Pre-drawn flash available on the day
First come first served basis

Tattooers taking part:
Keely Rutherford
Clara Sinclair
Manni K
Lord Montana Blue
Mark Ford
Antonio Gabriele
Matt Difa

Interview With Owen Paulls

28-year-old tattoo artist Owen Paulls is currently on the road, creating incredible black and grey realism. We chat to him about his love for Disney, the process behind his tattoos and his travel plans…

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How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing since around April 2014, so a little over three years now!

What drew you to the tattoo world? I was always into drawing and painting growing up. I was designing shirts and artwork for a band I was with before I got into tattooing. Coming from the music world, where everyone’s heavily tattooed, this probably sparked the idea of putting something permanently on the skin.

Has your style of tattooing changed? How has it developed? I think like most tattoo artists, I was drawn to classic designs and bold colours at first. I spent about a year putting together more traditional pieces, trying to make my work as clean as I could before really getting into realism at the end of that first year.

I did a few portraits on friends, to build my portfolio, and loved it! It felt a lot more natural to build pieces from the bottom up rather than lining everything first so I started switching my designs to have a realistic element. Recently I’ve developed more of a surrealism style I guess.

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What do you love to tattoo? You do a lot of Disney portraits, are you a Disney fan? Absolutely anything Disney or animated, I love tattooing it! I don’t know if that’s still the traditional artist in me trying make an appearance with a little throw to the old school – who knows! I’m a huge Disney fan, so getting to tattoo it all day is a lot of fun for me.

I love the whole process modern animation goes through while it’s being made, there’s so much behind the scenes that you don’t get to see when watching the movies. I’m just trying to pay homage to all the animation greats by replicating their creations on skin in my own way.

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You mainly work in black and grey, what do you love about this? How long does a  typical piece take, can you explain your process?  My art work outside of tattooing is mostly charcoal and pencil so I think that draws me to the black and grey side. Colour is a lot more challenging for me. I love getting to do it occasionally, as it keeps me on my toes, but black and grey is where I feel the most creative. Pieces usually take anywhere from eight to 10 hours.

I’m very meticulous with my work so I’ll spend at least a couple of hours adding details and highlights at the end with a small liner, apologising to my customers the whole time and periodically promising that we’re nearly done!

I usually start with an email or FaceTime consultation to get the over all idea of the tattoo before designing to save as much time as I can. I like to make my stencils on the day so I’m familiar with the shapes and concept before applying it to the skin. Due to the amount of time I spend in the skin, I always try to make sure I leave my stencil to dry for about 15-20 minutes before I start. I’m a detail lover, so having all my stencil hold for the whole day helps me to relax. I don’t line much so it’s nice to have that information there to use when I need it.

Would you like to do more colour pieces? Eventually, I’ll probably make the move to full colour work. I feel as an artist, I’m still growing and creating an identity within my tattoos. For the moment, black and grey is the perfect medium for me. People who can break stencil with their photo reference and use brave colour choices make a big impression on me, I’d like to have that affect on other artists.

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What inspires you? Are there any artists that influence your work? Animation plays a big part in how I design tattoos and my artwork. Also sculptures and modelers like Philippe Faraut or Lutsenko really push me to add more depth and dynamic. Tattoo wise there are too many to name. I’m a big fan of Ralf Nonnweiler and Megan Jean Morris for the way they put their own identity into their pieces. Any artist who is bringing something new and unique to the table is up there for me!

Can you tell us a little about your own tattoos, do they have to have a meaning?  I’d love to say I’m a collector, but it’s not strictly true! I have a collection, but it’s not the same! My tattoos have been mostly spur of the moment ideas when I’ve been working alongside someone that I admire or in a shop where a couple of us have a spare few hours to fill. I’ve got some crazy ones and some more meaningful ones from back in the music days. I have a Studio Ghibli half sleeve and I suppose that’s the most meaningful so far. Apart from one done by a friend when she was first starting out.

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Do you have any conventions or guest spots planned?  This year and the beginning of next has got a little crazy so far! Ive just done the Brighton and Manchester/Scarborough shows and have Bristol, York, Halloween Bash and Kustom Kulture coming up this year, alongside guest spots all over! It’ll be my first time in Switzerland in October and I’ll also be working with Sandry Riffard in December at his shop in France! I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has got or travelled to get a piece from me and to my little tattoo family including ‘Team Penny Black’ who have really looked out for me!

Slam Dunk North Street Spotter 2017

Every year Slam Dunk Festival seems to outdo itself. After our music writer Amber had such an amazing time meeting the crowd to create last year’s Slam Dunk Street Spotter we couldn’t wait for her to head back for the 2017 edition…

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Name: Raine (right)
Instagram: @raineisonfire
Job: Tattoo Artist
Tattoo: Arms by Dan Molloy, back of thigh by Emil Tramp
There to see: Casey

Name: Adelaide (left)
Instagram: @lxdle
Job: Student
Tattoo: Arm by Em Jay, leg by Hannah Clarke 
There to see: Cute is what we aim for

Name: Laura Rebecca
Instagram: @laurarebz
Job: Manager at Urban Outfitters
Tattoo:  Laura’s right arm by Mike Gibson, left arm by Aimee Spittlehouse, dino calf by Miles Welby Jenkins.
There to see: Enter Shikari and Don Broco

Name: Kirsty
Instagram: @kirstycee
Job: Fashion and print designer
Tattoos: Arm (top half) by  Jamie Eskdale, arm (bottom half) by James Walters, shin by Christine Davies, thigh by Danny Brown.
There to see: Bury Tomorrow, Don Broco, Beartooth, Enter Shikari

Name: Kate
Instagram: @deadthingsbykate
Job: Taxidermist
Tattoos: by Dale Sarok and Henbo Henning 
There to see: We caught Kate at the end of Cute Is What We Aim For‘s set before she ran off to Beartooth.

Name: Karla
Instagram: @karlafarrar 
Job: Everyman Cinema
Tattoos: Yorkshire rose by Judd Wrighton.
There to see: Stray From The Path, Don Broco, Beartooth, Enter Shikari

See you next year!

A rose is a rose is a rose

Our guest writer Katie Houghton shares five of her favourite rose inspired tattoos…

 While June may be home to ‘National Corn on the Cob Day’, and you’re god damn gutted that you missed out, June also happens to be the month of the rose, and we’re all over that. A natural emblem of love and passion, roses as tattoos have been one of the most constant designs since ink touched skin. While some signify death, some eternal love, some balance and some signify the relationship between a sailor and his favourite bird (mother dearest), we know that rose tattoos are an anything-kind-of-game, and we’ve decided to find five of our favourites.

 Harriet Heath/Lone Rose Tattoo

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I love the plump attitude behind all of Harriet Heath’s work and designs, and the name Lone Rose Tattoo was too good an opportunity to miss on a list of rose tattoos. The tattoo above has sass, it has slant, and the little rose touches on the head band give the whole piece a cute and continental pop that gives her portrait work a recognisable edge.

Tommy Oh!

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I don’t know a lot about Tommy Oh!, but I don’t think I need to. Provocative and full o’ spunk, his blackwork is bold, it’s brazen and now I want spider webs on all edges. Standing out due to the thickness of leaf, location and line work, Tommy’s work is unapologetic and pricks like a bloody thorn.

Emily Malice: Parliament Tattoo

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If you’re familiar with the work of the stunning Emily Malice, you’ll know that she’s both saint and sinner combined. Generating provocative work, and bold statement tattoos alongside simple custom designs, Emily’s able to add a firm pop to a botanical rose piece like above that remains feminine, but still has grit and chew.

 Jenna Hayes Tattoo: Hand and Dagger

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Give Jenna a rose and she’ll give you a snake. One of the more traditional artists on this list, I think it’s not only the subtle colour work on this piece that stoods out to me, but the blend of hard edge and soft flora. Clearly able to master thick lines with an honest consistency, Jenna Hayes has got me dreaming of pythons and bouquets.

Sophie C’est La Vie

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Sophie, you had me at origami. You also had me at elephant origami (with a rose shaped peony for kicks). A tattoo artist that knows colour craft and consistency like the back of her hand, not only does Sophie generate beautiful pieces (from fauna to flora) that fuse great tones, these origami pieces are creative, they’re pieced together perfectly, and can even be converted to koala should you fancy.

The Art of Alicia Rihko

27-year-old freelance illustrator and designer Alicia Rihko lives in Spain where she creates digital pieces focusing on neon pink and black line work…

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I create everything digitally with a graphic tablet, and my work changes according to my tastes, but there are many things that inspire me. When it comes to my work I always start looking for locations, and pictures of places that I would like to be or know more about. And so I start to collect ideas. Music influences me a lot too, I always work with music on. In the end everything is mixed together, and my work is the result. 

I can’t tell you which illustration is my favourite, usually once I have finished drawing, I stop liking it. But the one I did of Freddy Krueger, is very different from all the others. It’s the craziest idea I’ve ever had, as I’ve used an existing film character, with one of my girls. Yes, it’s my favourite!

I don’t like the pink at all, it is far from being a colour that I love. But I found that it fits very well with the aesthetics of my work, and that it gives even more personality to the piece along with the other colours.

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In Colourful Company Street Spotter

If you haven’t heard of In Colourful Company yet you may have spotted their colourful community walking around a city near you. The group is ‘an all inclusive community of kindness, encouragement and adventure’ that started out in Sheffield just over a year ago.

Their goal is to bring people together in fun and creative ways, and to encourage each other to take chances and make changes, all whilst grabbing their cameras and searching the streets of their favourite cities in search of colour.

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Our music writer Amber caught up with a few from this colourful lot during their Leeds walk to find out more about their creative careers, tattoos and their experience of In Colourful Company…

Name: Kayley Mills
Instagram: @Kayleymills
Job: Illustrator and etsy shop owner
Tattoos: Sleeve and forearm by Raychel Maughan at Northern Glory in Newcastle.

“In Colourful Company has brought me right out of my shell and has helped me meet so many awesome like-minded people.”

Name: Lisa Barlow
Instagram: @lisa__barlow @magicalthunderpress
Job: Illustrator and freelance designer
Tattoos: Sewing sleeve by Sway at Northside Tattoos now at Sacred Electric
Cactus, gypsy lady, castle and snow globe all by Bailey at Sacred Electric

“This is my first experience of In Colourful Company for the Leeds colour walk and it has been loads of fun meeting new people”

Name: Sarah Jane Smith
Instagram: @sj.sdsphotography
Job: Photographer
Tattoo: Rose by Polly at Cry Baby Tattoo

“It’s been a bunch of warm, welcoming, like-minded people who have been great fun to hang out with.”

Name: Alice Christina
Instagram: @awonderemporium
Job: Blogger & Photographer
Tattoo: Wildflower bouquet, by Lea Snoeflinga at Northside Tattoos

“This is my first walk and everyone is so friendly and colourful. It’s inspiring to see so many incredible women bossing it!”

Name: Katie Abey
Instagram: @katieabey
Job: Illustrator and company director
Tattoos: Hogwarts by Vicky Morgan, cat by Jody Dawber, WIP back piece by Ashley Luka, lemon grab by Paul Tipping.

“In Colourful Company has brought me so many new friends. It’s inspiring to go on adventures with amazing girl bosses!”

Name: Nicola Fernandes
Instagram: @fernandesmakes
Job: Illustrator
Tattoos: Lady by Adam Steel, Squirrel by Adam Cornish, Wasted Rita quote by Mike Boyd, Cat and Scribble by Rainey Harley.

“It’s like I’ve stepped inside of Instagram. It’s great to meet people in real life and make connections and hopefully BFF’s”


To find out more about In Colourful Company and how you can get involved head to their website.

You’re Not Ovaryacting…

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…That’s the message The Robin Cancer Trust is telling ladies in its latest campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. The Robin Cancer Trust was founded to increase awareness of germ cell cancers, including ovarian and testicular cancers, following the death of Robin Freeman, 24, of Wivenhoe, after his battle with germ cell cancer.

The charity teamed up with local companies including Flaming Gun Tattoo Studio, Racket Video and Joli Studies to create a social media campaign. Through the colourful use of tattoo-style imagery and video, they want to highlight the symptoms of ovarian cancer that should not be ignored.

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Claire Neal, Trustee of The Robin Cancer Trust, explained how she “wanted to do something different for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, in March this year and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get creative. We hope this fun and engaging campaign will raise awareness in young woman as ovarian cancer is not a silent killer if the symptoms can be recognised early.”

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We chatted to tattooist Julie Clarke who works at Flaming Gun Tattoo in Colchester to find out how she got involved with the project and what it meant to her…

When the opportunity came to get more involved with the ovarian cancer campaign myself and fellow tattooist Alex Bach jumped at the chance. I am now two years clear from my surgery, and I would not have been so lucky if I did not regularly go to my GP for smear tests or to question any abnormal symptoms, so I can not stress enough, if you’re concerned get it checked out!

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The “you’re not ovaryacting” campaign was such a wonderful way of promoting awareness of the possible symptoms.  In the studio, we tattoo some wonderful people who have survived cancer and their family members too. It is a real pleasure to be part of the recovery process, either through covering scars, nipple tattooing, or unfortunately creating memorial tattoos. Cancer affects so many people and every type is worth consideration.

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Specifically with this project, creating the artwork to coordinate with the symptoms was a challenge, but with my colleagues Alex Bach and Toby Freeman, we managed to create the images you now see on the models. The models Tiffany Leather, Natasha Connor, Danielle Robinson, Charlie Newell and Josie Rackley looked amazing, and Racket Video and Joli Studies did a wonderful job of super-imposing our artwork onto them. We can’t believe how realistic they look!

To find out more visit www.therobincancertrust.org.

Yoga with Nina

We chat to 26-year-old Nina Goks, a yoga teacher and naturopathic nutrition student from London, about her vegan journey, tattoo collection and living a yogi inspired life…

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When did your yoga and vegan journey begin? My yoga journey started before veganism! I began yoga over four years ago, I was trying to get healthier, eating a more conventionally healthy diet, running and doing HIIT training. I tried a yoga style workout and quickly began doing yoga more than any other exercise – I enjoyed the peace, strength, release and focus. Before yoga I was relatively mindless when I worked out, I’d just get through it to get it over with and yoga is precisely the opposite.

My awareness of healthier eating initiated thoughts about compassion. I cut out meat and was vegetarian for a few weeks, until I watched Earthlings – I haven’t looked at the world the same since. Compassion, non-harming, living a simple life and being conscious of your health, the wellbeing of the planet and all life are certainly aspects of both yoga and ethical veganism, so it was natural for them to come along hand in hand. Then they spilled out into every aspect of my life and I quit the career I’d been very unhappy in to indulge in yoga and nutrition!

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Sunmer rolls made by Nina

What drove you to make such a huge lifestyle change? I was inspired by several people on social media, I enjoyed following along with their journeys. I was really introduced to veganism on those platforms, it enticed me to do research for myself. I chose to actively pursue it because once you know better, you can do better! It was time to be proactive. I was also having a lot of health issues, some diagnosed, some unexplained and for the most part I’d just accepted them as part of my life. Now that seems wild to me, I didn’t ever associate eating so unhealthily with ill-health – bare in mind I was a total junk food addict prior to the few months before I went vegan.

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Smoothie bowl made by Nina

Has it made you think about your body and yourself differently? Of course! I began to view myself as someone worthy of mindful health, I saw my body as something capable rather than deteriorating. It’s not arrogant or selfish to acknowledge your worth, in fact it’s liberating.

What advice would you give to others wanting to make a change? Educate yourself, watch documentaries, reach out to the online community for support and inspiration. If it’s something you want, then be kind to yourself on the journey. It can have its trials and tribulations but nothing worth doing just falls into your lap, it’s OK to be fearful, to take criticism. If you give yourself the information you need then it’s a much more simple transition. Choosing a positive outlook on something really changes the outcome!

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Pina colada smoothie bowl made by Nina

What do you share in your YouTube videos, what can people expect to see? I didn’t have a specific intention in mind when I started my YouTube channel. I just wanted to document my travels and make videos around the relatively new and exciting lifestyle I am continuing to learn about. So you can expect veganism, yoga, travel, yogi/vegan lifestyle, natural health and minimalism and probably a lot of other totally random musings.

How has your style developed? You’ve started to take more of a minimalist direction, what inspired this? With tattoos, I used to be more into traditional, but I’ve definitely developed a love for neo-trad. Minimalism was sparked by aspects of a yogi life. Living simply and the understanding that you have enough and you are enough. My aim is to have what I need, buy from independent, conscious small businesses or second hand but still use what I have now until it needs to be replaced. We are such consumers, totally feeding into what’s sold to us, when you reign that in you start to appreciate what you do have and where it comes from. My style has definitely evolved to much more clean and simple, tropical and nature inspired, vegan and barefoot living!

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Can you tell us about your tattoos? Do you think tattoos have to have a meaning? My tattoos are largely collected from female artists, but not all, especially anything I got in the past two years. Something about the experience of getting tattooed can become ritualistic. My husband, Goks, is a tattoo artist and his passion for tattooing expanded my own ideas about tattoos, I’d always wanted them, even though for a short time I said I wouldn’t have any that were visible.

That changed quickly, especially once I saw all the unbelievable artists out there. If you feel a connection with an artist, their work and their vibe, it totally changes your appreciation for the tattoo. Mine are really just things I was/am into, I’m not anal about what I get tattooed and often have my own ideas of what I want. I think there is a happy medium as far as meaning goes. If every single tattoo has to be sacred and super personal it could be hard to actually have ideas or be open to artist interpretation.

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When did you start teaching classes? How can people get involved? I’ve been teaching privately for a few months now, since I completed the start of my training. I’m in the midst of organising classes but I am available for private classes in south east London or within local areas. Information about events and classes can be found on my website and Instagram – new classes coming soon!

Careers: Tattooed Make-Up Artist

We chat to 26-year-old Charlotte Amy Tompkins, Make-Up Artist at Urban Decay based in Chester, about her incredible tattoo collection and personal style…

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I was 17 when I got my first tattoo, a small red bow on the bottom of my back in Blackpool. God knows how I even managed go get it! I look so young now, think what I looked like at 17? Thankfully it’s since been covered by my on-going back piece – which I need to get finished! At the minute I’m filling my gaps pretty slowly, but I want to get started on a stomach piece soon too.

I’ve always loved tattoos, I never used to like colour tattoos for some reason, but now look at me! Having my tattoos is such a boost, I love having them on me as they are a part of me and will be forever. My tattoos are mainly of animals and roses – you can’t beat a good rose! I absolutely love animals and roses are my favourite flower.

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Tattoo by @gibb0o

I get a lot of mixed reactions from people when they see my tattoos, they either go one or two ways. I get stared at rudely, some people shake their head in disgust too. I was once on the bus back from work and behind me were two elderly ladies talking about how have I even got a job and I should be ashamed being a lady covered in tack!

But when I’m at work I get amazing compliments and most are from women aged 50 or over, who are so interested and just wowed by my look, which is amazing. Kids love them too, they’re attracted to the colours, I had a little girl who was shopping with her mum recently, who got her mum to tell me that she thought I was beautiful with my tattoos and hair. It’s the little things that make me smile, but some people really hate tattoos for no reason really. But I love my skin thanks to all the amazing tattooists out there!

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Chest and neck tattoos by Paula Castle, Ash Boss and Jody Dawber.

I landed my current position at Urban Decay out of pure tenacity, I just kept going back after handing in my CV and eventually I got through three stages of interviews. I worked in a coffee shop before, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t what I wanted to do career wise.

I’m really lucky that as a make-up artist and working for Urban Decay my job let’s me be myself. I would have gotten my more visible tattoos done eventually regardless, as they are a part of me now, but my job does help. I love how they look and how pretty they are. For those wanting to get more visible tattoos I would think really hard about what you want in the long run and think about how it will effect work first. As I said I’m lucky!

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I’m vegan, and I love that I work for a brand that is cruelty free, I love what they stand for. My typical day depends on my customers, I always sit them down to get to know them and find out what it is they want. At Urban Decay we love showing the off products and having a play, we want everyone to feel good about themselves and raring to come back and try more!

Urban Decay love people being themselves so hell yeah I dress how I want. My style is definitely different, a little quirky maybe a bit weird. I love black but I also liked having coloured hair, big earrings and platform shoes. Of course my tattoos are usually on show as they’re hard to hide!

Short documentary, Johny Midnight

Beautiful short documentary following Johny Midnight, a south London based artist, as he completes a painting, from start to finish, of Battersea Power Station.

Midnight

Johny’s gallery/studio is in Balham, south west London, gallerymidnight.com

Midnight from James Stittle on Vimeo.

Director: Andrew Grayshon
Cinematography: James Stittle, shot on Sony FS7 using Canon Lenses
Editor: Olli Abbott

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