Category: Guest bloggers

Tattooed Blogger: Shanice Willoughby

23-year-old Shanice Willoughby, is a blogger, barista and florist in training from Surrey. We chat to Shanice about her blog, love for flowers and bohemian style…

When did you start blogging? How did you get into it? I started blogging last year on the first of January! I’d been wanting to do it for ages but lacked the confidence and fear of people not being that interested on what I had to post, but in the end decided to take the plunge regardless of that!

What can readers expect to see on your blog? Readers can expect a range of fashion, lifestyle, mental health and plant posts!

What influences your blog posts? Anything and everything really, whether it’s bits I’ve brought fashion wise, a location spot that I have to tell people about, coffee spots, traveling to lovely new places, or ups and downs in my mental health!

How does your job and running the blog go together? Does one help the other or do they clash? It is very difficult to work a 40+ hour full time job and run a blog along side it, some weeks I won’t have the time to post and it does bother me but it’s very hard to divide time/find the time to shoot new outfit posts, etc.

How would you describe your style? A modern day young Stevie Nicks- I am obsessed with seventies-bohemian style, think embroidery, fringe and flowy fabrics with delightful prints.

Do your tattoos reflect this? Can you tell us about your collection I think they do in a way yes, I absolutely adore flowers and have a fair few pieces now on my body which I love and want more of! I have the element symbols on my fingers (a true bohemian child) along with a few moons dotted around my body. I have a old sailor’s chant scripted on my arm about a mermaid, and other bits linked to the sea! I think my tattoos definitely reflect my wild spirit side.

Do you have any future tattoo plans or a wish list? More flowers, a lot more! (I have a very good friend who does wonderful flower work and she’s done all my new pieces!) And i’d love to get some mandala/henna style work done for sure!

Ally Sparham: Tattooed Freelance Administrative Assistant

32-year-old Ally Sparham is a administrative assistant to writers, bloggers, authors and editors based in Essex. We chatted to Ally to find out more about her freelance work and tattoo collection…

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When did you get your first tattoo, what was it and do you still love it? I was 19, my nan had died a few months before and I decided to have her last words to me tattooed in simple script on my hip. The lettering was very small and over time the ink has spread slightly, but I still love it because of the sentiment behind it. There’s nothing like the feeling of having your first tattoo, you feel like a new person and it always makes me smile.

What drew you to the world of tattoos? I have always been a bit of an outsider. I was a quiet loner throughout school and I loved art and reading. I started noticing others with tattoos and thought about having artwork on my own body. This drew me closer and closer to the world of tattoos and the tattooed community – I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to express myself differently to the majority of people around me, in my own quiet way.

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Do you consider yourself a collector? I do consider myself a collector now. A couple of years ago I travelled to Salon Serpent in Amsterdam to have a tattoo of a bee on my wrist as a reminder of being in one of my favourite cities. It was done by Roald van den Broek – I love his black and grey stippled style. I have been tattooed by a variety of female artists and have punctuated various stages of life with a tattoo. My right arm sleeve is nearly complete, and my plan is to continue with the left arm this year. I’m always thinking about my next tattoo.

When and why did you start your blog? What sorts of things did you feature? I started my  now-retired tattoo blog, Tattoo Carousel, back in 2015, I had been at a new office job in finance for a year and I felt really stunted. I was not enjoying my job and I needed an outlet to focus on which centred around something I was passionate about and loved dearly, so I started writing about tattoos. It gave me something to look forward to and think about during the day, other than my job! I wrote about various natural/homemade/vegan aftercare products that I had tried, I wrote about my favourite artists and why I loved them, I included an interview with a friend who loved tattoos but had not yet had any, and a long guide on all my top tips on how to make the most of a tattoo experience.

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What do you now? And how did this come about? How can people get involved? I was enjoying a fortnight off from my day job last year and I had a lightbulb moment while I was sitting by the beach one day. Everyone was out walking their dogs and I really wished I had a job where I could have the freedom to have a dog of my own and be in control of my time, and also to be free to have any part of my body tattooed – including my hands, which has always been a dream. I decided to start my own business which combined the skills I’d gained in my work history with my personal loves of writing and art and became a freelance administrative assistant to other bloggers/writers/authors and magazine editors. I have always enjoyed problem solving and am quite techy, so I thought, why not be on hand to help others be more productive with their creativity and be a kind of background cog in their creative machine.

People can get involved if they are writing or working on a creative project but have started to feel overwhelmed by all the time-consuming tasks that come with it – things like transcribing interviews, proofreading, scheduling posts or even scouring the internet for research. They can then go back to focusing on being creative. I know that self-care has become quite a hot topic in the last few years, and I do agree that reducing overwhelm and looking after ourselves, including with mental health, is important if we want to feel balanced.

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I would just like to say that I’m so pleased to have found Things&Ink – so many tattoo magazines feel a bit alienating and not very relatable to me, but Things&Ink was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. I love to celebrate how popular tattooing has become among women and how diverse the tattooed community has become. It focuses on art and the expression of ourselves on a deeper level, which as moved on from antiquated views that tattooing was a bit seedy and sinful.

Alice & Black Tulip Beauty

Alice is a 21-year-old singer and blogger from Bristol, we caught up with her to chat all things beauty, tattoos and music…

How long have you been blogging? Officially I’ve been blogging just over a year but not consistently, I started my blog in January 2017 and posted a few bits and bobs on it, but unfortunately got really unwell and diagnosed with a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease so it took a back seat for quite a while. I’ve been unable to work properly since my diagnosis, so my blog has been a great point of focus for me and something I love that I can do from home. I started blogging consistently in July 2017 and other than the odd small break due to health complications, I haven’t looked back!

How did you start and what inspired you to create your own blog? I’ve always been more of a creative person than anything else. I had quite a lot of people coming to me and asking about my makeup and my skincare, so I thought creating a blog would be a great way to share my favourite products and my progress. I also worked in The Body Shop for a year and a half so I learned a hell of a lot about the beauty industry, ingredients and benefits for the skin from working there.

What do you blog about? What can readers expect to see? If you want to check my site out, you can find me over at www.blacktulipbeauty.co.uk. I have focused mainly on beauty with the odd post about my life, my illness and holidays chucked in. I do hope to expand the topics I cover on my blog in the next few months and start writing about fashion, events, health and food. I would love to start raising more awareness for the illness I have too as I feel it’s misunderstood and undermined as to how much it really changes your life.

What is your must-have beauty item? What can’t you live without? Oh gosh those are two very different questions! My must have would be the Morphe 35F palette, it holds incredible shades and is SUCH amazing value for money, the pigment is incredible! But a product I couldn’t live without is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, it’s incredible and covers my eye bags a treat!

How would you describe your style? I always say it’s kinda gothic/punky mixed with a bit of girly glam?! I love doing all my makeup and hair nice but there’s nothing more personally empowering than wearing a leather dress and fishnets and big chunky boots.

How do your tattoos fit in with this? Can you tell us about your tattoos? I think my tattoos fit perfectly with my style, I’m a big wearer of black and red which is what my tattoos are. The first one I got was a skull and rose at the Bristol Tattoo Convention in 2015. I’ve wanted tattoos since I was 12 and I decided to just dive in with my first and not bother getting a tiny one to test the waters. The second was my Grim Reaper which I got done at Broad Street Studio in Bath by Jimmie, it took a few sketches to get the ideal Reaper I had in my head right but I absolutely love this guy and it’s probably the tattoo I’ve had the most compliments on! My mum absolutely hates it though, she tells me to get him covered up.

My third was a floral mandala on my shoulder, I saw someone with something quite similar and fell head over heels in love. I got home and emailed an artist I’d been obsessing over for ages and booked it straight in. This has been my most painful as it stretches slightly up onto my neck so that wasn’t the most pleasant feeling. This one and my Medusa were done by Iain Sellar from The Black Lodge in Portishead which I’d highly recommend. Such incredible artists in the studio and I’ve had amazing experiences both times I’ve been!

My most recent was my Medusa, she is probably my favourite. I LOVE how badass she is and I think Iain did such an amazing job designing her. I love how intricate the lines are and I’m so glad we chose to keep her eyes hollow aswell, I think it adds an awesome extra creepy vibe to it. These are all I have for now as the medication I’m currently on slows down my immune system which could cause complications with the healing of any new ones but I really want Iain to finish my sleeve when possible and then I want to start on a big back piece!

Do you consider yourself a collector? I collect skulls! (not real ones!) I have over 100 skull related things in my room and my collection is still growing. This week I managed to bag a skull lamp for £10 in Asda and I’m not going to lie it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I’ve been asked so many questions as to why I like skulls so much, I just think they’re quite fascinating! There is a post on my blog where I do a tour of my room and you can check out my collection on there if you’re interested.

Can you tell us about your singing? I discovered I wasn’t all that bad at singing and started having lessons around the age of 14 and went on to study it at college and then university. I realised the course I chose at university wasn’t for me and dropped out but still have a huge passion for singing. I’ve been in quite a few bands over the years and played all around Bristol and a few times in Bath and London. I don’t really feel like I’ve ever been in a band where I’ve been on the same wavelength with other members, in the sense of where we wanted to progress with the style of music we were creating unfortunately. I would really love to be able to find that in the near future as I really miss performing. I am currently working on a dance music project with two producers though which I’m really looking forward to as it’s a genre I’ve never done before!

Tattoo The World: Nick Romi

We chat to 21-year-old film director and editor, Nick Romi who is based in LA and Osaka, Japan about his vlog Tattoo the World, his tattoo collection and his love for adventure…

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What drew you to the world of tattoos? Ever since I was young I’ve always loved metal and punk music. Every singer or band I’ve ever looked up to or listened to has tattoos. It’s something that’s been planted in my mind from a young age. I identify with the punk and metal culture, and I always have. I guess part of that identification involves self expression and freedom, two things that mean a lot to me.

What inspired you to create a vlog series about tattoos? How did it come about? I’m always traveling around the world filming. I’ve done all kinds of stuff from documentaries, commercials, television mini-series, music videos, live events, etc. Whenever I travel somewhere new I try to get a tattoo as well. I want to get something done in all of the countries I visit. I’m not really the person or type that would start a YouTube vlog. At least I never thought I was the type. But a part of me felt I should document these tattoo sessions and shops I go to around the world. So I started filming my tattoo sessions and then talking about them in vlog form. Vlogs are very different from the line of work I do in film. It’s refreshing to be able to sit in front of the camera and just talk about the things I love.

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What message or values do you want to share? I want to share with people the excitement and sense of adventure in doing something different from everyone else. I think a lot of people have dreams and visions of what they really want to do but they never follow through. There is so much untapped greatness and uniqueness in everyone. We all have such an incredible story to tell. I tell my stories through my vlog and films that I make career wise. That’s my book. I want to hear other people’s stories. If my videos can inspire people to do what they love and share their adventures in life, then that’s the best reward.

What can people expect to see on the channel? What sorts of things do you film and feature? People can expect to see so many things! As I said before the vlog follows me around the world on all of my adventures. In past episodes, I’ve been to India, Japan and Taiwan. I talk in depth about my experiences and try to relate them back to tattoo artists and shops in the United States. People can always expect something unique in each episode. Not every episode is about a certain country either. There are also episodes that will cover keeping your tattoos clean, what tattoos I have, what future tattoos I plan on getting, where my favorite shops and artists are, etc. I want people to grow with me and see all of the tattoos that I will be getting as the series goes on. We also have tattoo features at the end of each episode. If a fan or tattoo artist, or shop wants to showcase their work, they can submit photos to us via email or social media and we will feature them at the end of each episode! It’s our fun way of trying to make Tattoo the World a community thing.

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What have you learned since beginning filming? What has surprised you the most? Something I learned from starting this vlog was not everyone is going to like you. Obviously I am not a tattoo expert, but I try to do the best research I can and educate myself. Some people get defensive or almost offended by what I say. I speak for myself on the vlog but as it is with many things these days, there’s always someone you’re going to offend. I learned not to take it personally and just continue on with the vlog as it is. You’re going to get flack and crap from people in life regardless of what you do, so it’s important to keep your head up and stay true to yourself.

Something that constantly surprises me is the amount of positive feedback and interest I get from the series. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in watching it, but I’ve grown a few followers. It’s a great feeling when someone finds entertainment in your craft.

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What is your most meaningful tattoo? My most meaningful tattoo is my shovel tattoo. The idea of this is from the singer of Boston hardcore band Vanna, Davey Muise. His inspirational message is to “find your shovel” and dig yourself out of any problem or situation or negativity in your life. For Davey his shovel was music and being in a band. My shovel is film and being a director and editor. I carry this tattoo with me on my skin in ink, everywhere forever, as well as in my heart.

We’re official sponsors of Nick and his blogs, so head to Tattoo The World see more!

Tattoos in the workplace: A guide to your rights and discrimination awareness

Hands up if you’ve ever been advised not to get a tattoo in an overtly visible area in case it affects employment opportunities?
Chances are that’s a fair few of you.

But despite the forewarnings from our elders, tattoos are very much an integral fabric of society today, particularly amongst young people. In fact, it’s suggested that nearly a fifth of UK adults have had tattoos, with those under the age of 40 more likely to have them.

Tattoos in the workplace is not a new topic of discussion. However, it’s important that those with tattoos are familiar with their rights in the workplace and the discrimination that can arise during the recruitment process.

Here’s everything you need to know about body art at work.

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Recruitment

The UK Equality Act 2010 protects job hunters from a large range of diversity prejudice, from age and gender, to nationality and disability.

However, body art is not a characteristic that is protected by workplace equality law. As a result, prospective employers can make their hiring decisions based on tattoos if they wish.

However, job opportunities are improving for those with body art.

While once upon a time many customer-facing organisations were not open to hiring those with tattoos, many have now adopted a no-visible-inking policy. Some of these organisations include airlines, the police and even McDonalds.

This means that it’s now possible for those with easily concealed tattoos to apply for a greater range of roles, although if a no-visible-inking policy is in place, candidates are likely to be asked to provide photographs of all inkings with a visible measure for scale.

In the workplace

Businesses are within their rights to have rules in place around appearances in the workplace. This is because dress codes can help maintain professionalism, company branding, and even company atmosphere.

However, it’s important that the standards are appropriate for the business, staff and company culture and are not solely based on personal preference.

We’ve all seen the headlines about heels at work…

If your tattoos go against company policy, then your employer can dismiss you and you are not protected by the law. Therefore, make sure you are aware of the dress code in your place of work so you know where you stand.

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How to make tattoos work for you

Despite the statistics, policies and general perception of tattoos, they don’t necessarily have to be a hindrance for you at work.

Here’s what you need to bear in mind.

Show your dedication to the industry

While many employers are missing out on the top talent for jobs due to tattoo policies, body art could make you more employable in some instances. You may be more employable within the creative industries if your skin exudes your artistry and innovation.

What’s more, if your tattoo pays homage to your favourite brand or company you want to join, like these inkings, you might increase your chances of securing an interview since your dedication game is strong.

Go with your gut

If you’re looking for work and are not sure how well your tattoos will be perceived in an interview or in the company’s culture, it’s important to trust your instincts.

Try and make a fair evaluation based on the organisation’s environment and industry before you show off your tattoos.

For example, if you’re applying for a client-facing finance role in a corporate firm, revealing your creative sleeve may not go down so well. However, if you’re applying for a position in a tech startup, where suits are a rarity, your tattoos may not be an issue at all.

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Be aware of stereotypes

We’re all familiar with the stereotypes surrounding heavily tattooed people. But no matter what your opinion on tattoos is, you must try to keep an open mind and remain aware of how others may perceive you in the workplace.

Ultimately, you may want be known for your professional ability, you may not want to be known as “the one with the giant Batman tattoo”. While it’s great to be unique, try not to let your artwork define you or upstage your professionalism or it may do more harm than good.

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

Interview With Prof. Nicholas York

Our guest writer, digital marketing executive and traditional tattoo fan 21-year-old Poppy Ingham, talks to Nicholas York about his humble beginnings and the work he does out of Dark Age Tattoo in Denton, Texas…

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21-year-old Nicholas York is customarily cited as Professor York, in a nod to the likes of Samuel O’Reilly, the dubbed King of the Bowery tattooers, who adopted the “professor” epithet. He has been tattooing since he was 15 and although this might not be the licit way of entering the tattoo world, Nick received his first tattoo machines two months before starting high school. Coupled with a power supply purchased with his earnings from a part-time job, Nick began tattooing classmates and anyone who was willing. 

Fast forward five years, give or take, Nick is now embodying the definition of “world class electric tattooing”, producing nostalgic tattoos and paintings that ring true to the early 1900s. 

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What first inspired you to take on tattooing, especially at such a young age? I was in eighth grade at a school for kids with behavioural problems, and I started seeing some of the kids in my class get small tattoos. After I saw that you could get tattooed underage, I got my first tattoo at 14. The tattooist who did it was different from the guy who was tattooing the other kids, he approached me at the public library and asked if I wanted to get tattooed. Just a of couple days later I was in his apartment after school getting a tribal design that I had drawn.

I started tattooing a couple months after my first tattoo. In between the time of my first tattoo and the first tattoo I did, I had gotten my neck and my chest tattooed and started working on my arms. I was 15 when I got my throat tattooed. The throat tattoo was what made me start thinking about pursuing a career in tattooing. I knew I had found the job for me, when I found out that all you had to do was buy a kit online and do it out of your house. I started getting good and I was starting to feel hopeful about my choice.

My mom always knew about my tattooing and watched me do my first couple the day I got my kit. She was always supportive, because my dad was a tattooist, although I didn’t grow up with him (he went to prison when I was two). Over the years, he’d send drawings and paintings, but at the time, I was too young to realise they were tattoo designs that he had tattooed on people in prison.

My dad tattooed before he went to prison in the 1990s in downtown Dallas. He painted cars before he was a tattooist so it was a natural transition. Then he met my mom and stopped tattooing for a bit. He picked it back up when he went to prison a couple years later. I’ve seen a lot of his work and I hold onto all the paintings he sends me now. He is, in my honest opinion, one of the best black and grey tattooers out there. He does extremely smooth tattooing with a 90s twist. He really hasn’t gotten to see just how much tattooing has evolved since he has been locked away, except for the tattoos that he sees on me when I visit him.

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Have you always wanted to tattoo in the traditional style, or did you experiment with a number of styles before settling on it? When I first started tattooing, I was doing a very new school style and everything was extremely colourful and cartoony. I was hanging around with an old tattooist named Sneaker and he had a big influence on my style and technical application. Over the years, my tattooing evolved into a more neo-traditional style thanks to a guy I worked with named Rene. He did some of the best neo-traditional tattoos I had ever seen up until that point. Rene told me I needed to simplify my designs and stop using so many colours. He told me I couldn’t do traditional tattoos because I always complicated my tattoos so much, so to challenge him, I did a traditional tattoo. From that one tattoo I realised that I was missing out on what I was meant to be doing.

Thinking along the lines of Rock Of Ages, Belle Of The Plains etc, what are some iconic pieces of art that you never get tired of recreating? Easily one of my favourite iconic images is the Rose of No Man’s Land. I always love seeing renditions of it. I also really enjoy dragons; they’re always big and impressive. And, of course, the Rock of Ages is always a classic.

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Do you find that younger people (our age) are aware and appreciative of traditional tattooing, or do you feel like there is more demand for other styles? I think young people really dig the designs of classic traditional tattooing, but I don’t think they care for the history. The history posts I make [on Instagram] never get as many likes as the flash posts. I understand, though – not everyone has the attention span or appreciation for history.

Who, in particular from the past, do you admire and why? I’m a big fan of George Burchett. He encompasses everything I love about turn-of-the-century tattooing and has some of the best paintings I’ve ever seen! When I started tattooing in the style I do now, George Burchett was a big influence. My stuff doesn’t look like his that much, but if you know your stuff you can see small hints of it. I’m also interested in the early Bowery tattooers of New York. Samuel O’Reilly and his contemporaries have a certain mystery about them. We only understand a small fraction of their life, while we have a decent amount of George Burchett’s history.

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Where do you gather information and history on the tattooists of the past? I get all my knowledge of tattoo history from books I buy, websites like http://www.buzzworthytattoo.com and just speaking to and being friends with as many tattoo historians as I can. I am no historian myself, and I don’t add any unknown insight and I have not made any new discoveries, like some of the other historians that I look up to, I’m just a big fan of history and love to learn as much as I can about my craft. I do happen to have a good eye and have found many great bits of history in photographs that have been looked over before.

For people wanting to explore authentic traditional tattoos in 2017 and beyond, can you recommend any modern-day tattooers who you applaud? There are too many to name but those are just a few that come to my mind and I think they each are very true to the essence of traditional tattooing. I’m extremely proud I can call all of these tattooers my friends and contemporaries:

Six Snake Tattoos We Love

Our guest writer Katie Houghton shares a nest of snake tattoos…

Some may be ferocious. Some may be poisonous. Some may be the stuff of nightmares. And some may be a two-headed force of freaky nature. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that snakes look great as tattoos. I never thought I ever wanted one before, but the fluidity of the lines and the eccentric patterns have made me go full circle this year, and I’m hoping I can get a little bit of blue blood before 2017. With that in mind, I went on the hunt for six of my favourite snake tattoos, from the delicate to the deep.

Illegal Bodies, Germany

This guy might be the smallest on the list, but he’s ultimately the cutest. Brought to you by Germany’s Illegal Bodies (a handpoke and henna artist), I love how delicate and plotted the design is alongside the dainty star additions.

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Jess Brown, Salem MA

This is the most colourful addition to the list, but it’s one with the most depth. Hailing from Massachusetts, Jess Brown uses deep tones and rich shading to add an almost cutesy appeal to this sword creeper.

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Matilde Masi, Italy

Snakes are intricate animals, and not just because of their ability to trick you into biting through the apples of Eden. Brought to you by Italy’s Matilde Masi, I not only love the position of this piece, but the attention to lines and spacing are second to none.

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Martín Funcasta, Barcelona

If you didn’t know you needed a tattoo of a smoking snake before, you do now. Courtesy of Barcelona’s Martín Funcasta, the cutthroat lines, harsh edges and thick shading add a stark originality to the design.

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Mirkosata, Milan

One of the biggest names on this list, Mirkosata is no stranger to snake designs, as they’re practically all he tattoos. Clearly detailed to the extreme, his work is clean, it’s elegant, and it’s putting these blue blooded babes at the forefront of everything.

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Cheyenne Gauthier, Montreal

The final tattoo on this scaly list- Cheyenne has blackwork that will have you scrolling his Instagram for hours. With depth and almost a sad tone to the work, this snake piece is elevated by the shading and the coffee branch.

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Careers: Tattooed Art Director & Blogger

We chat to 28-year-old Ayden Millar an art director and lifestyle blogger from Glasgow, about the projects she has worked on, running her blog and her tattoo collection…

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Can you tell us about your freelance work for film and TV? I’ve worked freelance in the film and television industry for around seven years now! I’m self employed, and literally every day is different. I could be on a job for six days or six months, and go from making props and designing fake graphics one day, to arranging special effects and dressing sets the next.

How did you get your current role or previous roles? Did you study or did you fall into it? What sorts of things have you been involved in? The past seven years have absolutely flown, and although I still feel quite new to the industry, when I look back on my CV I’ve definitely accumulated a whole load of different jobs over the years. From kids telly to sketch and comedy shows, feature films and adverts, music videos, and quite a lot of horror/murder dramas (I seem to end up working on a lot of them, worryingly). The designer who employs me on a regular basis was the production designer for some really great British films, including This Is England, Neds, and The Magdalene Sisters. So I do always get really excited when he calls me up with details of a job, because I know the script will always be something really good and gritty we can get our design teeth into!

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What do you enjoy the most about your job?I love the fact that every day is different. I love the buzz of working with and meeting loads of people from different walks of life. And I really love seeing all of our hard work up on the big screen. It’s scary at times being your own boss and not knowing where or when the next job will be, and I suffer from extremely bad anxiety which I’ve been on medication for for a numbers of year now. But despite the fear of the unknown, my work brings out the best in me and makes me thrive. I work with the most open minded and supportive people! And although it’s stressful at times, my confidence has gone from strength to strength over the years, and I hope that can continue.

How does this coincide with your blog, or the other way around? I can sometimes have days or weeks off between jobs, so during this time I’m really able to focus on my blog and get writing and planning lots of new content. Sometimes it does suffer when I’m on a long TV job, working 8am-7pm can often frazzle my brain by the weekend and I don’t have time to write as much as I’d like to. I rely on Instagram and Twitter lots to keep in touch with my readers, let them know what I’m up to, and also keep up to date with reading some of my favourite blogs too.

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What sorts of things do you blog about, what inspires you? What can people expect to see? My blog is essentially a grown up diary, a mish mash of thoughts and photos and general gal chat! Some weeks I’ll write about cruelty free beauty, and others I could be visiting a new food place in town or exploring the outdoors in Scotland. I tend to just write about whatever is going on in my life at that moment in time, and one time a reader said that my posts felt like sitting down with a girlfriend on the phone or over a cup of coffee and having a good old catch up and laugh about life. That meant so much to me, and I do hope it’s the way I come across. There are so many beautiful, polished blogs out there these days – all gorgeously curated and edited with flawless professional photography. Pretty much like magazines! I think they’re amazing, but I must admit my blog doesn’t really fall under that category. If you’re down for a giggle and some honest life musings (with the odd selfie and puppy/cat picture thrown in for good measure) then I’m your gal.

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How would you describe your style, how do your tattoos fit in with this? I have quite an eclectic sense of style, I like to be fun, colourful and comfortable! I pretty much dress the same was I did when I was a moody 16 year old emo kid, but with a bit of added sass. My tattoos are probably a fashionista’s nightmare, they clash with anything and everything that’s colourful and/or patterned. But I don’t care in the slightest, I’ve never been one for the minimalist look. Plus, glitter and a few sequins go with everything, right?

Do your tattoos make you feel more confident, or help you to see your body differently? I definitely feel more comfortable with my body now than what I did 10 years ago, pre tattoos. They feel like a part of me. To the point that I often forget I have any until somebody mentions them or asks me a tattoo related question! They make me feel empowered and illustrate the story of my life, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way. Well, some of them do – a lot of my tattoos I got ‘just cause’. Just because I like biscuits is a good enough reason to get a Jammy Dodger tattooed… surely!?

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Any future plans either tattoos, work or blog posts? Tattoo wise, my arms are full now so I’d like to continue adding to my legs (especially my feet which I KEEP putting off). I’ve not had any new tattoo ideas in a while, so I won’t get something for the sake of it, I’ll wait until a little bit of unexpected inspiration hits me one day and then I’ll get booked in for something. I’m currently on the last week of filming a six part crime drama for the BBC called Shetland, so after this I’m gonna take a month or so off. I’m going on holiday to Ibiza, have some plans to redecorate my flat, and look forward to spending time catching up with friends and family. I’ve got a few blog post ideas up my sleeve too, so I’m excited to have some more free time over the next couple of weeks to get typing to my heart’s content.

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The Best Botanical Tattoos on Instagram

Our guest writer Katie Houghton shares her favourite botanical tattoos…

It’s been scientifically proven that being around plants improves happiness, lowers anxiety, enhances your perception of space and positively adapts the air around you, so getting tattoos of plants must make you almost goddamn invincible, right? Botanical tattoos are peaking in popularity right now, and I wanted to create a list of some of the best trailing their way across Instagram.

Joanna Świrska 

The work of Poland’s Joanna Swirska almost feels like the art of screen-printing meeting skin. Layered and beautifully toned, I love how she’s blended the shape of snaisl and snippets of foliage into something solid yet sweet.

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Kate Scully

The tone of her client’s hair in contrast to the blackwork. The perfect alignment of the tattoo. The soft botany alongside the dauntless lines and thick shading. The fern. The fern. The fern. Yes, this is a love letter to Kate Scully.

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Britt

If you’re tattooing monstera deliciosa you’re probably already catching my eye in some capacity, but it was the shell and the dotwork that meant Britt’s botanical work found its way onto this list. From the blanketing of leaves to the stippling of tone, this is an undeniably pretty piece.

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Nomi Chi

Resident at Gastown Tattoo Parlour in Canada, Nomi Chi makes no apologies for her work, going big and certainly not going home. Catching my eye for all the right reasons, this is a stunning example of torso tattooing, giving botany the domination it deserves.

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Alexis Hepburn

A Sydney kid, Alexis Hepburn does botanical tattoos in a distinct, bold and unafraid fashion. Clearly inspired by the lines of 50s sailor tattoos, Alexis has taken this classic style and switched it up, giving the flora an ornamental and pretty edge.

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Pastilliam

Sticking it out in Stockholm, this work by Instagram name Pastilliam is as distinct as they come. With those thick lines juxtaposing the lushness of leaf, I love how this artist has pieces that you’d be able to spot a mile off.

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Lilly Anchor

Fine, I’m biased. Having been tattooed by Lilly already, it’s pretty easy for me to champion her work, but you only have to catch her on Instagram to see that she’s the queen of clean botany, with some of the most polished lines in the business.

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The Limerick International Tattoo Convention 2017

Guest writer Harry Casey-Woodward (who is still a tattoo virgin) recently attended the Limerick Tattoo Convention on 25th March with his wife, this is what they got up to…

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Tattooist @marcinchtattoo working at the convention

The convention I went to in Limerick, Ireland, is the second tattoo event I’ve ever been to. My first was last year’s convention at Brighton (read my thoughts here). Last Saturday, I was accompanying my wife to Limerick, as she was getting her first convention tattoo done by Magda Hanke, a tattooist she’s admired and stalked on Instagram for some time.

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Outside the convention

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Electric Soul Tattoo Shop from Cork had some cool art work on sale

The convention was at the South Court Hotel from 25th to 26th March. After spending a day in Limerick, it certainly didn’t feel like a centre for alternative culture. As lovely as the town is, on the surface there’s museums, pubs, a castle, and not much else.

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@Astintattoo creating a realism portrait

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The bagpipe player

The event itself was about a quarter of the size of the Brighton event (although after learning that Brighton is one the biggest tattoo conventions in the world, I realised every event is going to be smaller). There were just four rows of stalls packed in to one big room, but there was lots to see.

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Keelin Cor getting ready for her next client

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I loved all the different designs on these skateboards

There were a hundred artists, all with impressive and varying styles. Entertainments included a bagpipe player (who tested my wife’s patience while she was under the needle). My favourite performer was Sideshow Ramone, a magician who knew how to amuse his audience while jumping on glass, sword swallowing and struggling out of a straitjacket. The show was hosted by alternative model Bernadette Macias, from LA, who was roped into helping Ramone with a scary trick involving flowers and a whip.

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There were so many talented artists everywhere

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My favourite performer Sideshow Ramone

What I liked best about the event (apart from the food) was its warm, friendly atmosphere. All ages were welcome from ink veterans to families with kids, even though people were getting their bare skin stabbed with needles left, right and centre.

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There was even a barber at the convention

There was face painting and even a stall for Limerick’s suicide watch. Whether they thought people with tattoos were likely suicide cases, I don’t know. There was even a barber. This fun and friendly event surely confirmed that tattoos aren’t the devil! All in all we had a wonderful time, my wife got a tattoo that she loves and I got to see another side to Limerick.

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My wife’s tattoo by @magda_hanke