Category: Get your tattoos out

Street Spotting in London

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


Have you spotted anyone out and about with tattoos?




Girly, pink and colourful – Keely Rutherford

Things&Ink chatted to Keely Rutherford, 29, of East Side Tattoo in london, about her tattoo world…

Keely Rutherford tattoo

Interview by Kelli Savill

How long ago did you start tattooing, and why? I started my apprenticeship in Essex in early 2010. I was lucky enough to be taken on in a studio where I met a lovely hunk of man who taught me all he knew – Jethro Wood (love of my life). He let me do a couple of wobbly tattoos on him, and his lovely punk friends didn’t mind a shaky line or two either! I moved studios in early 2011 to work with Giselle Stock who gave me my wings. Drawing has always been a passion from an early age. My Dad and I used to sit and draw together, he is an amazing artist and inspiration. Dad and Mum always tried to encourage me to do something with Art. But after Art College, I had a party girl inside me begging to get out. It wasn’t until I started to waitress, that I had more time to draw and spend my tips on hair dye and tattoos. It was then that I built up a portfolio and was given the opportunity to learn this amazing trade.

Cat Hand

What influenced this career-turn? Starting to get tattooed and hanging around studios like a green-eyed monster, wishing I could be in such an awesome creative environment, with such talented people. I was 26 when I started my apprenticeship, so I really wanted to make something of myself, as I had pretty much hated all the other jobs I had done. I knew when I was given that golden ticket that I had to grab it with both hands and work my bloody arse off.


How would you describe your style? I hate this question, I get asked it quite a lot and I have no idea what to answer. Its either girly/pink/colourful or if it’s on a boy I get the black out. I’ve yet to discover a hashtag on Instagram that defines it. So until then, who knows!

What kind of customers do you attract? Mainly girls between 18 and 30ish, but saying that people from all ages and genders. I do tend to tattoo more women than men, I think because I find working in a feminine style a lot more natural.

What is your favourite part of the body to tattoo, and why? Legs, legs, legs! This skin is generally tight and I do a lot of symmetrical tattoos, so the placement normally works well.

Have you created a favourite tattoo? What is it? In every tattoo I complete, I can pick faults – we are all only as good as our last tattoo. I think it is important to criticise my work, as I would never want to become complacent. I am so lucky to be in a place in my career where I can create and push the boundaries in my own style. I’m very grateful everyday that people like my work and want to wear in on their skin.

Hat Face

If you could tattoo anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Brian Cox. I find him fascinating and he could definitely teach me loads about our universe. I think a nice cosmic kitty would suit him.

If you weren’t a tattoo artist what would you be? Well. There used to be a programme called McCallum with John Hannah as a Forensic Pathologist back in the late 90s. At the time I thought, “Yeh I’d be up for doing a bit of that”. But at the end of school, when the results were given out and I got a double E in Science, all my dreams where shattered.


Do the tattoos on your body take on any kind of theme? My tattoos tell my story, they start a bit shit and get better as the time has gone on…

What do you look for in a tattoo artist for your personal collection? People who inspire me. I choose an artist who I like and give them a vague idea of what I’m after, the space I have and let them have full artistic licence on the design. To me, that is my favourite part of tattooing. It’s their work I am choosing for many different reasons, so I put my trust in what they will create for me. I recently got tattooed by the amazingly talented Davee Blows, I told him I like cats and fruit. I ended up with a Saber-tooth tiger and a pineapple. I love it.


Do you have a favourite tattoo on your body? Going to sound a bit soppy, but my knuckles say Amor Loco – Crazy Love in Spanish. It sums up my relationship with Jethro, he’s a bit special.



Kelli’s e.e. cummings tattoo.


Name: Kelli. Age: 23.
Location: Essex. Occupation: writer.

Kelli!What got you into tattoos? I’ve always been really fascinated by them, as I grew up all my friends were older than me, and I remember them all rushing out to get them. Mostly regretting them after. But since I was about 16, there’s been a folder of tattoo inspiration and a growing list of artists  I love on my computer. Now it’s Pinterest! I guess I really enjoy how permanent they are. I don’t believe they have to be something that means the world to you – they usually just remind me of a good time.

Where did your inspiration come from for this tattoo? I always say that this tattoo is a way of saying “haters to the left”, without actually saying it. E.E. Cummings is a beautiful poet, and I am all about words. It just seemed like he said what I needed him to, but more eloquently. I am very much in love with this tattoo – the font blows my mind and it came out better than I’d ever have expected.

EE Cummings tattoo

Who did it and where? It was done by Victor at Self Sacrifice, London. Sadly, the shop closed down mysteriously last year. It really is a shame, they were really chilled and I felt totally comfortable with them.

Poetry tattooHow would you describe your style? I definitely like a bit of everything. I don’t think I’d want words on me again – I think there’s such a thing as too much font. A picture says a thousand words, you know. I do aim towards the more traditional style, but recently I am finding myself reaching for the more fluid styles of artists like Amanda Wachob.

Are you planning more? Definitely. Aren’t we always? I’m aiming to start my inner bicep soon I think, but I realise this’ll probably spread to cover the top of my arm. I’m okay with that, although my parents will probably have something to say.

Is there any artists you would like to get tattooed by? I’d love one of Annie Frenzel’s women one day – it would mean a trip to Berlin, too, which would be lovely. I just find her style beautiful. I also love Rachel Jamie Baldwin’s work and Guen Douglas – another nice little European trip to Amsterdam there, too (Guen is moving from Brighton to Amsterdam in September). As always, Valerie Vargas is on the list as well as the aforementioned Amanda Wachob. I guess I really like female artists.

Literary thigh tattoo

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
e.e. cummings

Get your tats out – Ruby Confusing


Name: Amber
(Ruby Confusing blog, @Ruby_confusing twitter)
Age: 29
Occupation: Manger of hairdressing academy
Location: Norwich, UK

Totally tattoo perving on Amber

I had my first tattoo aged 17 and it was on my hand! It was tiny a little butterfly from Bambi, which has since been covered. I always found them fascinating and knew that I wanted at least one – it has now turned into quite a lot. I can’t say I remember seeing many on other people, and it was a good few years until they became more mainstream.  I suppose it was when I started to meet friends who worked in the tattoo industry and who had a lot of tattoos that I started to collect more and more. I think this is due to feeling more comfortable in my own skin and finding good artists that I trusted. I’m pretty lucky that with my job in the hairdressing industry, I’m allowed to have them in visible places, although I think in general employers are becoming slightly more relaxed about tattoos.

Amber tattoo hand
Amber tattoo hand

My first experience with a really good artist was Wink Evans, in Norwich, who is amazing and responsible for a considerable amount of my tattoos – pretty much all of my right arm and a flamingo piece on my left calf.  He works at Factotum.

Amber rose tattoo
Amber rose tattoo

I guess I prefer being tattooed by people who are local to me, as it is easier to make appointments and get work done. Norwich has some brilliant artists, so  I don’t need to go further afield. I do have pieces from other artists – Eric Michalovicand Dawnii Fantana, but this was at Norwich Body Art Festival or guest spots.

Doll legs and sandals
Doll legs and sandals
Russian doll tattoo legs
Russian doll tattoo legs

I’m currently being tattooed by Brad Ward from Factotum, who did the Russian dolls on my shins and the man and lady with animals on their heads and J’adore on my lower fingers.  I really like his style and have been super happy with all my work by him and plan on more.

The fact I had tattoos before I knew much about it has left me with a few that I’m not so keen on… I have had one covered up by Mike Boyd at Indigo in Norwich and it’s amazing and no one ever notices the cherries that were there before! I plan on dealing with the rest at some point in the future.

My style is colour, the brighter the better! I get inspiration from all around me, sometimes it is things I see, tattoos on other people or even things I read! I’m not one of these people who really think about what they want and research it – I just have an idea and then want it done as soon as possible.

I get asked if my tattoos have meanings quite a lot and they don’t really, I like them and that’s why I get them.

I have lots more planned for the future! The main thing being a back piece which will cover up some horrible pink tribal I had when I was 19. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now, but know it is something I’m going to have to  commit to, and before that I have lots of smaller projects I’d like to get finished.

Pair of tattoos
Pair of animal heads

My favourite tattoo is whichever one is my latest one, so right now the man with the fox on his head.

Tattoo collector – Christina Owen


Name: Christina Owen
Age: 28
Location: south London
Occupation: student paramedic

Christina Owen

My name is Christina Owen, I’m 28, I live in south London and I’m a student paramedic and photographer. I could write a book about my tattoos. I have 24 at the moment. I collect them – they are mostly very bright and very bold and I’m hoping that over time I will collect enough small pieces to be built up into bigger sleeves. I prefer getting them done bit by bit, as they tell a story of my life. I’m about to start a photography project about tattoos and the stories they tell.

I’m also training to be a Paramedic and so many of my patients want to talk about my tattoos all the time – it’s a great conversation starter and seems to take their mind off the reasons why they’re in the ambulance! Amazing how many people you wouldn’t expect find them interesting, like little old ladies and children.

Inspired by patterns - tattoo by Bee Cole


Where did you get your tattoos done? All over the place! My favourite tattoo shop in the UK is Frith Street in London, but I’ve had some done in Brighton, some at other places in London, one in New York and one in Copenhagen. At Frith Street I’ve had a few tattoos by Valerie Vargas, who’s an absolutely amazing artist, and one by Frank Carter – who rendered me so starstruck that I couldn’t speak to him.

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo? My first tattoo was a Chinese symbol on my stomach that means ‘fish’ (apparently!). I got it when I was 18 at my local tattoo shop because everyone else was doing it. A couple of years later I discovered SuicideGirls and couldn’t believe that tattoos could be so beautiful and so much like art. Up until then my experience was of tiny black and grey shapes that you would pick off a wall and have slapped somewhere on you, so you could say you’d done it. I thought the women on this site were wonderful and their tattoos completely captivated me.

Are you planning any more tattoos? Oh yes! I have about seven on my to-do list at the moment, but beyond a great idea for a tattoo, it’s also about finding the right artist to do it, and having the time and money to get it done. I’m impatient but I don’t want to rush – they need to be done properly, in the right place, at the right time. I’m quite picky about when the right time is to get a tattoo! I need to be in a good mood, things going well, the sun needs to be in the 5th house and the day needs to have a Y in it etc etc. It’s quite annoying…

Where did your inspiration come from? I mainly find inspiration in patterns and shapes that surround me. The stars on my chest come from part of a windchime that I got for my 20th birthday. It fell apart, and the stained glass star shape was all that was left. I stuck it on my bedroom wall in every place I lived, and fell in love with the design to the point where I wanted it on me forever! Sailors would get swallows tattooed on each side of their chest when they had travelled a certain distance away from home and I got stars, because of the star that I took with me everywhere I went.

I recently got the design from a pot that belonged to my grandmother on my arm, and I have this ancient biscuit tin that has yellow flowers on it that belonged to my Mum – I want the flowers tattooed on me somewhere.

I collect patterns from things that I have grown up with. Apart from that, I love traditional sailor flash designs and also pop art. I have a traditional arm and a contemporary arm to reflect both.

Lighthouse tattoo
Lighthouse tattoo by Valerie Vargas

How would you describe your style? Bright! And nothing matches! But hopefully everything will somehow go together in the end. Like a living room where none of the furniture matches, but it looks good anyway.

Is there anyone you would like to get tattooed by? I’m going to Nashville next month and I’d like to get a tattoo by Amanda Leadman at Black13 Tattoo, but whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. There’s also a female tattoo artist who’s photographs I follow on Flickr and her tattoos and art are amazing. She works somewhere in America – it frustrates me that artists live in places you can’t just nip to on your day off! And I would love an entire sleeve by Miss Led, but she doesn’t tattoo as far as I know.

Do you have a favourite tattoo? People ask me this a lot and I don’t want to pick a favourite because it’s like picking a favourite child…but the stars on my chest are the best thing I’ve ever done. Also, the words on my feet – 2nd best thing I’ve ever done (they say Didi and Gogo which are the nicknames of the characters in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett).

Didi and Gogo tattoo
Waiting for Godot tattoo

Do your tattoos have meanings? Yes – they have surface meanings and some have deeper meanings too, and those meanings don’t get told when people ask. But the surface meanings do. And some of them only have surface meanings. I got a black cat tattooed on my wrist when I was 20 purely to impress a boy (it didn’t) and I had an anchor tattooed on my arm at the oldest functioning tattoo shop in the world, which is Tattoo Ole in Copenhagen, only because I wanted to be like a sailor and walk in off the docks and pick a design off the wall. The quality isn’t great, but I love it because of where it’s from.

Cassettes by Woody, Into You Brighton


Celebrating sisterly love – sister tattoos

Last weekend my sister Olivia moved to Australia. Before she left, we decided to get matching sister tattoos, so that no matter how far we are apart, we will always have something to remind us of each other.

Alice and Olivia Snape
Shoreditch sisters - we were cool from a very young age. Always trend setting...

We chose a design that represents our home – a traditional English rose – and keeping in touch – an envelope. Our appointment was booked with Cassandra Frances for 14th February, not intentionally, but it seemed like the perfect way to spend Valentine’s day…

We travelled up to End Times in Leeds from our hometown in Leicestershire – and we took our dad along for the ride, too.

Pop reading the paper
Here he is chilling with a paper in the tattoo studio.

We both fell in love with the design as soon as we saw it.

Sister tattoo stencil
Sister tattoo stencil - incorporating the rose and the envelope idea.

Getting tattooed at End Times was a lovely experience and we spent the day chatting to Cassandra – who told us some very interesting tales about how she got into tattooing.

Olivia under the needle
Here is Olivia under the needle - she went first.

And here is the final ink. I am so glad we both have a permanent reminder of our sisterly love.

Sister tattoos - rose and envelope
Sister tattoos - rose and envelope
Sister rose and envelope tattoos
The final sister ink
Love you sis
Saying goodbye at the airport last Saturday...
Bye Bye mama
Bye bye mama - a quick pic of us kissing our mama at the airport.


The final Saira Hunjan locket tattoo

I spotted this beautiful tattoo by Saira Hunjan at the Brighton Tattoo Convention in January.

Saira Hunjan chest piece
Unfinished Saira Hunjan chest piece

As beautiful as it is in this state, the tattoo was not quite finished. Today, I found the finished piece on Saira’s website and it’s even more stunning.

Locket tattoo for Jasmin
The piece was based on a locket and it was for Jasmine.

I would love an intricate tattoo like this in the future…

Interview with a tattoo apprentice – Rachel Halsey


Name: Rachel Halsey.
Age: 22.
Location: Harrow.
Occupation: Tattoo Apprentice.

This is a ‘get your tat out’ special, as Rachel talks about the tattoos on her own body and the tattoos she puts on other people’s…

Rachel Halsey

 What got you into tattoos? I think studying illustration at university really got me interested in tattoos. I’d never realised before that there was a whole artistic background to tattooing, past the crappy flash churned out from street shops back at home.  A few people in my class at university had some really interesting tattoos and it made me realise that I could put my artistic talents to good use. My first tattoo was a tiny heart on my wrist which I got on a whim during an unplanned night trip to Brighton with a friend.

A happy ending tattoo
A tattoo with a happy ending
Pretty dog tattoo
Pretty dog tattoo

Where did you get your tattoos done? I get my tattoos done in lots of places, usually I find an artist I like via Facebook or from previously tattooing my friends. I’ve had two done at The Family Business in London, my rib piece and leg by Rachel Cavalier at Tattoo Shed in Apsley and also my Russian doll by Jake X there. Simon Erl from Jayne Doe did a Shakespeare piece on my arm and I’ve had a few small ones done by Oli Christensen. I recently travelled up to Sheffield to get a Wizard of Oz tattoo done by the amazingly talented apprentice, Amy Williams. A few of my tattoos have also been done by my boss at the shop I work in, which is a bonus as they are done for free!

Russian doll tattoo
Russian doll tattoo by Jake X

Have you got any more planned? I’ve got lots more in the pipeline, but it’s just finding the time and money. I’d like to get lots more added to the Cinderella piece I have on my left arm, maybe a castle and the dress which she makes herself before her step sisters rip it apart. I’d like to get portraits of my parents on my back and more Victorian book illustration style pieces around my Fornasetti tattoo.

Where does your inspiration come from? Although cheesy, almost all of my tattoos have been inspired by Walt Disney films! I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic, so a few of my tattoos seem to be based around love and happy endings.

By Steve Vinall
By Steve Vinall

How would you describe your style?   I really like traditional tattoo art with a modern twist, I guess neo-traditional. Victoriana seems to be pretty ‘in’ at the moment, but I’ve loved imagery and art from the Victorian period and also renaissance for as long as I can remember.

Is there anyone you would like to get tattooed by? I’d love to get tattooed by Tiny Miss Becca, but from what I’ve heard she has a super-long waiting list! It would be awesome to get tattooed by any of the artists from Spider Murphy’s, my shop recently bought their book and every page of flash is incredible.

Do you have a favourite tattoo? My favourite tattoo is the face on my arm. It’s the famous face of the opera singer Lina Cavalieri, recreated by the Italian artist Fornasetti. He made thousands of different images using her face, and I decided to make my own version by adding the moth, kind of like the poster image for Silence of the Lambs. It was by my boss Antonis Galankis at The Grasshopper where I work.

 Fornasetti tattoo
Inspired by Fornasetti

Do your tattoos have meanings? I guess the majority of my tattoos have meanings, if I really think about why I got them. The Russian doll on my arm has ‘Mum’ written on it, because the big babushka dolls hold and protect all the smaller ones inside them.  I guess my Mum is like my protector. I have a large piece of Marie Antoinette on my ribs – I am fascinated by her life story and like the fact that she went against her heritage and lived her life the way she wanted to.

Disney tattoos
Many of Rachel's tattoos are inspired by Disney

What’s it like to be a tattoo apprentice? Being a tattoo apprentice is amazing! I was so lucky to get the job, I guess I was in the right place at the right time. I was in the last month of my degree and walked past a local tattoo parlour – The Grasshopper in Harrow – and they were advertising for a new apprentice. I brought my portfolio back in an hour later, and did a few initial designs for them and the boss decided to take me on the following week. It was unpaid for the first couple of months and the majority of the time I was just cleaning grips, dealing with customers, cleaning the studio and doing some design work for my boss. Now I’ve been there almost a year, I’ve started tattooing customers and I’m in my final stages before I get my licence. I guess it’s a very competitive industry, especially with social networking being such a big part of advertising yourself. There’s so many tattoo shops within a five mile radius of my shop so, with so much competition, it’s important to try and be the best you can be.

How would you describe your style of tattooing? I wouldn’t say my style was all neo-traditional, but it can be seen throughout most of my designs. I like using bright colours and lots of pretty imagery, too. I try to look at what a customer wants and add my own touch, instead of outright copying someone – I would hate for someone to do that to me. However, with neo-traditional tattooing so popular at the moment, I guess it’s hard to constantly come up with completely original ideas for pieces.

Which artists (tattoo or otherwise) are you inspired by? There’s so many artists who inspire me at the moment. I love Rachel McCarthy’s use of colour and cuteness in her designs – the same with Amy Savage from Jayne Doe. I get a lot of inspiration for my drawings from illustrators as well, such as Tara McPherson and Lucy Oldfield. And I like to go to museums and galleries to discover new ideas.

How do you learn? Who do you practice on? Initially, my boss got me to do lots of drawing and paintings to get a feel for tattoo design and technique. I’d watch him tattooing his customers and he’d explain to me what he was doing and why. Then I went on to tattooing potatoes, to try and get a feel of the machine and depth. I have to thank my friends for allowing me to practice on them too! We’d have lessons after hours – where I’d bring a friend along and my boss would shadow me and talk me through what I was doing.  Gradually, over several months, I became more confident and then started doing small simple pieces on paying customers. I’m really grateful for everything my boss has taught me, he’s a really good teacher and has an eye for all sorts of art and design – as well as different medias such as egg tempera painting and mosaics, which was really interesting for me as I come from a fine art background.

And here is selection of tattoos by Rachel – I love her girly style

Key tattoo

Gypsy lady

Russian doll and mouse tattoo

dreamcatcher tattoo
– she’s definitely my new tattoo crush and I think she is an amazing tattoo artist herself… Rachel I would love to get tattooed by you one day!

Tattoo crush – Megan Smith


“Tattoos are personal in meaning, but still provide pleasure for others”

Name: Megan Smith,
Age: 23
Location: Sheffield
Occupation: Social Worker

Megan portrait

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo? I think through college I thought a lot about my first tattoo, I was going to gigs and seeing people with sleeves and thought they looked amazing. When I moved to Sheffield, almost all of my friends had tattoos and it made me even more eager. My first tattoo was a horse shoe on my foot, it swelled up like a balloon and I couldn’t fit shoes on for days, but it was worth it.

Where did you get your tattoos done? Steve Byrne designed and tattooed my foot and my back when he was based in Leeds. Cassandra Frances (Cfb Tattooist), End Times Tattoo Studio in Leeds designed and tattooed my arm.

Megan's first tattoo
Megan's first tattoo by Steve Byrne


Russian doll by Cassandra Frances
Russian doll by Cassandra Frances

Are you planning any more tattoos? Not at the moment, I’m still too obsessed with my Russian doll, but I would love to have a tattoo of a women with amazing hair next… will leave it a year or two to figure out just what I want though.

Where did your inspiration come from? Well for my back, it was from looking at tattoos Steve had already done and picking out aspects that I liked, for example, he had done the falling heart-shaped petals on my friend.  For my others it was something significant to me that I wanted, I looked through the tattooists’ work to find parts I wanted to incorporate into the designs.

How would you describe your style? Traditional western style.

Is there anyone you would like to get tattooed by? I would like to go back to Cassie for another one.

Do you have a favourite tattoo? Definitely my arm, but I think thats just because it’s new.

Flowers by Steve Byrne
Flowers by Steve Byrne

Do your tattoos have meanings? Yeah definitely. For me it’s my life story and even something generic like flowers on my back is significant, as I can remember what was going on for me at the time I had it done. I like that the meaning is personal to me and nobody else has to understand what that is to enjoy them.

By Steve Byrne
By Steve Byrne