Category: Guest bloggers

Is it mine? Who owns my tattoo?

Tattoo artist Lain Freefall, 31, asks who owns the tattoos on your body… first published in The Identity Issue of Things&Ink.

Words by Lain Freefall / Photo of Lain by Marco Ferrari

“I was 15 when I got my first tattoo. Of course I’m not actually supposed to admit that, but it’s the truth. I walked into the small tattoo studio and picked the first one I liked from the flash sheet on the wall and off I went. I loved it. My first tattoo. At that time I’d known nothing about tattooing, where it came from or how it all came about. Never in my life did I think I was going to be in a studio 15 years later working with such amazing and talented friends and colleagues and never imagined I’d look the way I do today either.”

“We are now in a day and age where tattoos are incredibly accepted and highly fashionable. The age of “fuck you! I do what I want! I’m going to be a rock star.” We are so highly knowledgeable of “the rules” of tattooing yet fail to abide by them. Everyone “wants what he’s got” or “she has her hand tattooed! Why can’t I?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really complaining (why on earth would I complain about work?) just merely stating, in brief, where we stand amongst the vast amount of tattoo TV shows, books and magazines. We all, as artists, want to offer something unique, fresh and new, whether it’s through our work or our own aesthetic. It’s a tough world out there and it’s dog-eat-dog, but where do we draw the line?

“We are so lucky that we have evolved to the days where we now stand. Every tattooist and artist can draw from everything around us, past and present. The internet never ceases to amaze me with so much information to offer – even the things you don’t want the world to see, the internet will find a way to show it.

“In the very recent months, to the last few years, there has been more and more media coverage involving tattoos, including posters and commercials of celebrities, athletes or “alternative” models. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I saw a tattooed model in advertising on the underground or in a magazine – and modelling for huge brands. I had often looked at these models and wondered how much of their bodies were really covered and who tattooed them (especially if they were bloody awful!) Do they get tattooed to become models? Or are they models who made enough money to not care about being tattooed? What were their plans after tattoos if they really did  go out of style? More importantly I’d like to know how they felt about their bodies from time to time. It seems empowering to be tattooed. Even making the decision (it’s yours to make) so surely once you’ve sat down with your tattooist, discussed and agreed on the design (whether it be your idea as a customer, or you completely trust your tattoo artist) the process begins, and in time you’ll be leaving with a tattoo on your body.  A beautiful piece of art that’s been marked on you for life.

“So we get to the nitty-gritty. Who owns this tattoo? You, the customer and wearer of the tattoo? Or the artist, the person who put the idea onto the skin? This is what has recently been playing on a lot of people’s minds. In no less than a few months, I’ve heard, on several separate occasions, about law suits concerning compensation, ownership and royalties. With the uprising of tattoos and rock star lifestyles, comes money, fame and greed. What I found more deeply heartbreaking was the act of such selfishness towards our own tradesmen. Now as an artist, I’ve always seen the business/money part of my job as straightforward (even though I hate talking money). Once I’ve tattooed you, this tattoo belongs to you. This is what you have sought me out for, to basically buy an art piece from me. With all the media involved I can understand if there are general legalities that need to be signed, but as far as I’m concerned, if you’re the wearer of my tattoos, kindly mention that I was the artist of said tattoo – a credit is all I need. After all, you’re helping me along the way.

“With today’s social media, we are constantly being photographed, by photographers, people in the street and friends. It is spread across the world through Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr etc. We sign away agreements on iTunes and YouTube without even a thought as to what the fine print says, so long as we get to share what we want to – show the world as soon as possible.

“So what happens when you get a letter through the post one day telling you you’re being sued on the grounds of copyright ownership? (Yep this is happening to me right now). “What ownership? How does that work? It’s my body right?” I’m here to tell you in UK law, this might not be entirely true.

“A copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or “works.” Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. Does copyright law extend to tattoo artwork? It would appear to (1) contravene privacy and image rights; (2) prevent freedom of expression under article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – receiving and wearing a tattoo is akin to a choice of wearing a particular hat or having a particular hair colour; and (3) be inconsistent with the trade practice and customs of the UK tattoo industry. All UK legislation must be read to give effect to the rights established under the HRA.

“I have seen the latter first hand on paper from a lovely legal team. Things have now been settled out of court and all in the name of greed, unfortunately. This will now be a case that can arise again and, if it does, I’m here to spread the word of Human Rights. No one owns your tattoo, but you do own your body. We as artists have a right to be proud of what we have created and will want to share this with the world – same as you! However the art piece we have personally drawn up is owned by the artist, but when we bring into question the ownership of an actual tattoo, custom made or otherwise, that is when the lines are blurred and the law has no solid legislation.

“Unfortunately I don’t have a real conclusion in this article. All I can say is we are very lucky to be in an era of tattooing where we can request custom work. There will always be amazing artists with something unique to offer, a personal touch of style along with amazing all rounder tattooers (I’m still blown away by these people), but we are also now in a time where there is nothing new. We are inspired by the forefathers of tattooing and everything around us.” ❦

Part Three – Mindful Wanderlust Vegan Travel Diary

Our guest blogger is Giselle, creator of Mindful Wanderlust – a travel blog about responsible travel, tattoos, and following a vegan lifestyle. This is the third of many posts to appear on th-ink, telling of her and her husband Cody’s travelling tales. If you have missed their previous travel posts catch up and read Part Two and Part One

 

We made it to Tokyo! Before we even booked our flights to Japan I knew it was a country I really wanted to get tattooed in, so I spent some time back in Canada researching different artists.

After taking a look at their consistently beautiful bold artwork, I decided on American traditional for the design, I chose to go with the guys at Inkrat Tattoo in Tokyo. Rei is the owner of Inkrat Tattoo, and has been tattooing for over 22 years.  His shop is covered in art, new and old, and original flash from the 1950s hangs on the walls.

  I couldn’t stop picking out all of the pieces I wanted.

Prior to arriving at Inkrat I decided on a geisha and left the design up to Rei. I thought, “Other than a Sumo wrestler, what’s more Japanese than a geisha?” It’s the perfect souvenir from Japan.

I learned something very interesting and new about Japanese tattoo etiquette (or at least Rei’s tattoo etiquette) at the shop that day. Before arriving for my tattoo appointment, I was asked where I wanted the tattoo, and I said on the outside bottom of my left leg.

On the day of, Rei walked over to me to fit the design on my leg and it didn’t quite fit properly. I said “it’s ok, we can do it on my other leg” But Rei didn’t really respond, he just told me he would make it a little smaller so it would fit. A regular customer sitting across from me said that where I asked for the tattoo is where I am going to get it. The reason for this, is that the artist doesn’t want to inconvenience me, as I already chose the placement and he wants to respect that.

That came as a little bit of a surprise to me. I would have been perfectly fine with the tattoo on my right leg, but just hearing that he refused to put it on my other leg out of respect made me smile a little.

Respect – and integrity – seems to be an extremely important thing in the tattoo world among tattoo artists. It is something that really resonates with me, as integrity is hard to come by these days. I have a lot of respect for people who have a lot of respect for people. Go figure.

On top of my excitement over visiting and getting tattooed in Japan, arriving in Tokyo was a sensory overload. My senses were pulling me everywhere. The colours, the lights, the droves of people, and the, sometimes, disapproving stares from some of the locals.

Although tattoo shops are legal in Japan, the long history and mentality of tattoos being only for criminals and misfits has not yet dissipated.

The earliest signs of the Japanese getting tattooed date back to 5,000 BC. By the 7th century the Japanese adopted much of the same mentality that the Chinese had for tattoos, seeing them as barbaric and using them as a punishment for crimes committed.

In the middle of the 18th century Japanese tattooing was popularised by a Chinese novel with several of its heroes covered in tattoos. This novel influenced all Japanese culture and arts, but the yakuza also became interested in tattooing, further making it a tasteless form of art and self expression to many. The yakuza felt that because tattooing was painful, it was proof of courage, and because it was illegal, it made them outlaws forever.

Finally, tattooing in Japan was legalised in the 20th century, but to this day it is still taboo. People with tattoos cannot enter into any hot baths, so unfortunately we will not be visiting any onsen (hot springs) in Japan.

Thankfully the mentality of tattoos being only for criminals is dying out with the old generation and new generations are embracing their rich culture of the art of irezumi.

 It is an ancient craft that should be appreciated and respected for what it is, not looked down upon, because it is misunderstood.

As Japan tries to reclaim all of the beauty and positivity of this ancient art of expression; I feel honoured to be able to collect an original piece from a country so steeped in the tradition of tattooing.

Follow Giselle and Cody’s travels on their blog and Instagram

My tattooed body

In issue 9, stripped back, we asked the Things&Ink team how they feel about their naked bodies, now that they’re tattooed…

We got in touch with blogger Rachel Bradford, creator of Illustrated Teacup, to discuss how she feels about her body now that it is beginning to be covered by tattoos…

“You don’t have to go far on the internet or on social media to find a debate of body positivity or body confidence. A particular area of contention is tattooed people, especially women, and even more so, anyone who has an extensive collection of tattoos.”

“Apparently it isn’t attractive to have lots of beautiful images on your body. It takes away from your ‘natural beauty’. It isn’t ‘ladylike’. It’s not ‘pretty’.”

Green lady  by Dani Green at Dragstrip Tattoo, Southampton

“Obviously this isn’t everyone’s feelings, or no one would have tattoos, but I’m here to explain why I think tattoos are a good thing for body positivity.”

 

“Take a look at Things&Ink Issue 9 for some examples:”

 ”I see my colourful tattoos before I see the shape of my body, and then I notice the gaps. I get lost in the ideas of what would fit where and the work I could collect from other tattooists. With tattoos you are never truly naked, they are one thing you can never take off, and I love that!”

Editorial Assistant Rosalie Woodward (Page 5)

“I like to think of my tattoos as ‘permanent accessories’ and they make me feel very glamorous when I’m in the nude”

Beauty Editor Marina De Salis (Page 5)

“I feel like I’ve created my own body, rather than just being stuck with the one I was given”

Columnist Reeree Rockette (Page 5)

 

“Three talented, smart ladies, with tattoos, who feel better about themselves and their naked bodies because of their tattoos. And quite frankly, what is wrong with modifying your body if it makes you happier? That is what we all want isn’t it? To be happy with our bodies?”

Cat and compass by Saranna Blair at Urban Image Tattoo, Bournemouth

“Personally, my tattoos have boosted my confidence no end. My confidence and happiness with my own body, comfort on my own body, grows with every tattoo. It’s an experience in itself. My tattoos distract from the things I dislike about my body. And fill me with happiness every time I see them. They catalogue my life so far, and remind me of my journey. I feel like I wear my life on my body, miniature pieces of artwork carried around with me all the time.”

“To me, I am enhancing what I was given, and making my body my own, rather than it just being borrowed for a little while.  I think that is the most important part of body confidence. Being comfortable in your body, making it your own.”

 Belle by Dani Green at Dragstrip Tattoo, Southampton

 

 

Can you be friends with your tattooist? A reader’s response…

When we asked the question, Can You Be Friends With Your Tattooist?, reader Sarah K got in touch to say, yes you can. Sarah is 31, a heavily tattooed human rights lawyer and law professor, living between Brussels and Brooklyn… 

Tattoo by Drew Linden“This tattoo is the first one on my right leg, the only limb left to be inked. I got it done this June by Drew Linden who had started at East Side Ink in NYC. Initially, it was supposed to be much smaller and a filler on my left leg. Leave it to Drew  to expand and make it more amazing.

“It is now the fourth tattoo I’ve gotten from her, it started from a wonderful lady gypsy / sugar skull combo in 2011. We hit it off right away, we’re about the same age, she’s stunning, a life force, yet so sweet and kind. She has a strong identity, a refined and unique personality, traits I look for in a person. We had friends in common and we spent the duration of the tattoo talking about them. I knew I’d come see her again.

Photo from June 2012, when Drew first tattooed Sarah.

 

“The friendship developed quickly, we kept in touch via text and social media. She was always extremely supportive of me – 2011 / 2012 were years during which I got a lot of work done while processing a lot of personal stuff. My work had been put on hold after an accident, and I was struggling to gain control of my body as well as of my life. The tattoo process, led by two key artists, helped immensely – and Drew was the second female artist that redefined how I saw my own body.

Gypsy by Drew Linden Gypsy by Drew Linden

 

“In 2012, I wanted to get my chest tattooed. On the day of the appointment, Drew had actually redesigned it entirely so it would not be vertical and along my sternum, but across my chest. She added flowers and dot work, to make it “less aggressive.”

“But Drew, I *am* aggressive.”

“Not just.”

“But-”

“Sarah, you’re a woman, too. And you can be lovely. And this is a very feminine part of your body. And it’s a huge deal, working from limbs to chest. You’ll be *heavily* tattooed, all in black and grey. I know you’re not girly. But you deserve something that shows you can be a lady, and there are parts of you that are not lawyer-soldier.”

Sarah's chest piece Sarah’s chest piece

“Five and a half hours later, and a bonus cup on my bra due to the swelling, my chest piece was done. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My globe tattoo signals the fact that as of May 2014, I will have been a lawyer for 10 years. In June 2014, I told Drew I wanted a globe, with the phrase “jus cogens” – a Latin phrasing that refers to the peremptory norm, which is to say, the most fundamental, unalienable of human rights. As a human rights lawyer, working internationally and in war zones, this sounded perfect. She started on my right leg, the way she started my left one three years before. Her best friend sat next to me and held my hand during the session – that she belted in under an hour. The hands and flower are of her own making.

“I thought we’d have the hands over the globe, you know, protecting it.”

“Ah, but design wise it doesn’t work, and this is the old school symbol of friendship, love and fraternity. With the globe, it’s the fraternity of all peoples.”

“Equality and protection.”

“Yes. That. Like you.”

“The arrow is pointing straight forward on my leg that was once injured.

“Drew is not just my friend and my tattoo artist. In many ways, she is also a therapist, a healer, a psychic, a drinking enabler, someone I once flew all the way to San Diego to see, literally on the other side of the globe. She made my world manageable again.

“She and Jessica Mascitti, one of the first artists to work on me, made me a woman. I transitioned from prodigal lawyer girl to full fledged woman of the law because of them; they inspired me and blew confidence beneath my skin. I became stronger, and more focused as a result. And I stand proud.”

Interview with tattoo artist Gia Rose

Sofia from Geeked Magazine talked to tattoo artist Gia Rose for us about tattoos, being a female artist and her battle with cancer. Read her interview below and don’t forget to check out more of Gia Rose’s work on her Instagram 

 

Sofia: “Having been diagnosed with a chronic illness – even though not dangerous/deadly – it affects my everyday life, I draw a lot of strength from the artist Frida Kahlo who suffered for more than 30 years, but has never let her health deter her from doing her art. When I decided on getting Frida tattooed on me I knew I wanted a woman to do it. I remembered seeing the awesome portfolio of tattoo artist Gia Rose from Art Machine Productions in Philadelphia, so I decided to look her up. Sadly she was off work on medical leave due to cervical cancer, but hopefully she would survive it, get better and come back to work as soon as she had recovered. Thankfully that happened and today I have the most wonderful tattoo I could have ever asked for, full of meaning, passion and female strength. Here are some questions I asked Gia about her amazing turbulent and brave journey.” 

Tell us a little bit about your background, how did you come to be a tattoo artist? I consider myself an accidental tattooist. I pretty much stumbled into my apprenticeship with all the excitability and ignorance that youth offers!  After a few years of being a general misfit and vagabond I landed myself in Asheville North Carolina. I always drew and never fancied myself an artist but liked the idea of learning a trade, so I hastily put together a portfolio of sketches and drawings and threw myself at Miss Kitty, who owned Sky People Tattoo (a private tattoo studio that no longer exists), but she still tattoos in Asheville! I know now that getting an apprenticeship like that is not the norm and pretty difficult these days! I did my apprenticeship for a year, then left to work in a street shop in New Orleans. After that I pursued a degree in Illustration in Portland, Oregon. That’s the short of the long. It’s been a long journey!

What’s it like being a female artist in the tattoo industry? To be frank, it’s awesome. In the beginning, I definitely felt the differences in what being a woman meant. It meant I had to work harder, push harder, strive for more and be very careful about who I dated. We live in a patriarchal world that still subjugates women and uses them as a commodity. So we face these challenges in our daily lives in all fields. So in all actuality, I would argue that the tattoo industry may offer more benefits to women, mainly the fact that I make the same amount of money as my male co-workers. Getting into tattooing is hard for anyone at first. But once past those gates and once you establish your skills and place in the industry, there’s a whole world there to support you.

I did my apprenticeship in 2003 and I’ve seen girls explode into the tattoo industry with such awesome creativity and skills, it’s been so cool. I’m very proud to be a female artist and I feel very supported by the guys. Yes, there is the “sex sells” aspect to this industry, but that’s in ANY industry, tattooing just has no shame in it. So it’s hard at times, we do indeed have to work harder, but I think it’s just hard being a girl in this world sometimes.
Which is why I love Things&Ink magazine, us ladies gotta stick together and celebrate what we bring to the table.

 

Where do you get your inspiration? Other female artists, and a lot from fashion  collections and jewellery artists, as well as artisans and crafts people. I find so much inspiration from Instagram! I like pulling things from life and peeking into people’s personal curating of the world around them. Sometimes I’ll design a tattoo completely around a piece of jewellery I saw.

Your life has been brutally interrupted and affected recently by cancer, how did this affect your work, your life as an artist and as a woman?

Holy hell. Cancer blows. But it’s also a really great gift once you find your centre. You don’t just learn about yourself, you learn what you’re fucking made of!

I was diagnosed in January 2014 with an aggressive cervical cancer. Uninsured like most American artists, I found myself very alone and very afraid. I refused to wait to even see someone, so I did something I will never ever regret doing. Via social media I went public and reached out to my tattoo community for help. We also had a fundraiser that raised over 30K to help me in my fight.  Through Tattoos Cure Cancer and tattoo artists all over the country I was able to get the best care possible. I had a radical hysterectomy in February 2014 and found out in May that at this time, due to fast acting and early detection, no further treatment is necessary. I’m 100% convinced my industry saved my life.  I will never have children but in a way, I feel like this gives me more drive to push myself as an artist and reach out to other women survivors and continue to add my efforts to making people feel beautiful and strong.

Every January (cervical cancer awareness month) starting this year, I will be donating proceeds from my tattoos to someone battling cervical cancer like I was. This has been the most humbling experience in my life. The tattoo industry has made me so proud.  Tattoo artists are some of the most generous people on the planet.

It’s definitely made me a stronger artist and person. Life’s too short to fuck around.

 

 

How did you feel about tattooing Frida Kahlo on me? I LOVED it. This was seriously a bucket list tattoo for me. Frida Kahlo is one of my personal artist heroes and I find her radiating such beauty and strength!  I hope I captured it well. It was also very empowering to get the opportunity! This is my second colour portrait so it was challenging, which I like and I’m very happy with it.  My stuff is usually very illustrative, which I think this tattoo is, but it works.

I love it. Hands down one of my favourites.

Mindful Wanderlust – The vegan travel diary

Our guest blogger is Giselle the creator of Mindful Wanderlust a travel blog about tattoos and following a vegan lifestyle. This is the first of many posts to appear on th-ink, telling of her and her husband Cody’s travelling tales.

 

 My name is Giselle, and I am a tattoo and travel addict. And an extreme animal lover.

I started travelling at the tender age of five, caravanning with my father and other family members to places like the Maritimes, Orlando Florida, Boston Massachusetts, and several different camp grounds throughout Canada.

When I was twelve my mom took me to Cuba; and by the time I was twenty, I had been to England, Venezuela, Peru, Egypt, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Mauritius, and Madagascar.

For me, the road is life.

I was fifteen when I received my first tattoo. It is now resting under a better thought out piece of work. When I first started getting tattooed, every piece had to mean something to me. Like so much in my life, that has changed. I view tattooing as an art form. It helps many people through difficult times, and that is a wonderful thing, but it can also be fun and spontaneous, which can then turn into a piece of meaning.

Prior to our nomadic lifestyle, I was quite happy tending bar at home, and doing make-up on the side, but the road was calling. I have always been pretty unconventional in thought, and so the next step was to live unconventionally.

Two and a half years ago, my husband Cody and I set off on an incredible round the world adventure. We saved our pennies, sold a lot of our belongings, put the rest in storage, started up a little website, and off we went.

Egypt, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Indonesia, England.

We loved Thailand so much that we ended up staying for eighteen months. Cody and I spent seven out of the eighteen months at Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary in the jungles of Northern Thailand. not only did we work with elephants, but several dogs as well. It was magic.

We can’t get enough of the lifestyle.

We are now in Saskatchewan, Canada visiting friends and family, and getting tattooed. This September we are heading to Cuba for the 9th time; and in January we are travelling to Japan for two weeks, and then back to Thailand for thirty days.

We have been tattooed in Nepal, Thailand, and of course Canada, and I look forward to getting something done by Ichibay when we are in Japan.

Our plans always involve travel, tattoos, and animals; and to us, that is our kind of freedom and happiness.

There’s no telling when or if we’ll ever get tired of gallivanting around the world, but either way, we’ll be covered in memories.

 Follow their  journey on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and of course their Blog!

Sailor Jerry’s tattooed Ambassador EmmaLi

EmmaLi Stenhouse, 29, from Hastings, UK, talks rum, Sailor Jerry and shows us her tattoo collection

What do you do for a living? I am currently the UK Ambassador for Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.

Fly Lightly My Heart by Ben Davies

 

Fly Lightly My Heart by Ben Davies

 

 

How did you get into being an Ambassador and what exactly does it entail? Are tattoos a part of this? 

I guess it was all down to being at the right place at the time and maybe a little luck. I went from managing bars in Hastings to setting up my own Tiki Bar, Huny Lu Lu’s. One day, completely on the off chance, someone from Sailor Jerry came into the bar and said that they were looking for an Ambassador and thought it would be worth me applying. I thought I’d be brave and give it a go as there was nothing to lose, so sent in my CV, got an interview and to cut a long story short, got the job. They wanted someone who was into rum and tattoos, which sums me up as I’ve always been genuinely passionate about both. My time is split between talking to bartenders, organising events and trying to educate people about Sailor Jerry.

On EmmaLi's legs by  Alexis Camburn-Cox On EmmaLi’s legs by Alexis Camburn-Cox

 

How different was being a bartender that to what you do now? 

I travel a lot more now and am rarely at home – my days are completely varied. One day I could be at a tattoo convention or throwing a party, and the next I’m in the office planning the next event or doing a training session at a bar. The variety means I’ve had the chance to meet some amazing people and travel about a lot. I do love bartending and I still miss it loads, so it is nice to still be involved in the industry without having to be on the front line, which, trust me, can be really hard. I don’t think we really appreciate how hard bartenders work or what we have to put up with – anyone who’s ever worked in a bar will know what I’m talking about. Saying that, I still get the chance to stay pretty close to the bartending side of things, as Sailor Jerry is always keen to find a way to support bartenders. For example, we’re currently running a campaign to get “Bartender Appreciation Day” recognised as a national holiday within the UK. It’s nice to have the opportunity to reward those hardworking guys and gals who make our good nights out possible whilst dealing with all the bad and the ugly!

By Madame Butterfly

 

Can you give us a bit of a rundown of your tattoo collection?

 I was 18 when I got my first tattoo at Madame Butterfly’s in Hastings. I started with my ankles, and then moved onto the “True Love” roses on my feet.  I worked my way up to the backs of my legs and hips, then my ribs and stomach.  I accidentally got most of my painful bits out of the way early, which I’m now pretty glad about. I wanted to save space for the places that would be more on show until I found the right pieces. I’m slowly but surely adding to my collection, and now that I’m 29 I know what I like, and I’m confident my mind won’t change too drastically. I’ve recently started getting serious on my arms and adding to my back.

I’ve always loved traditional tattoos and was probably influenced by Sailor Jerry before I even knew who Norman Collins was. I love the romanticism and hope that his tattoos portray. The messaging behind them evokes a strong sense of telling a story and holding on to a memory which I love. For me, Sailor Jerry tattoos are as timeless and relevant today as they were back in the day.

Love it or leave it by Alexis Camburn-Cox

 

Ladies and lower butterflies by Rebecca Butterfly – Neck by Alexis Camburn-Cox

 

What are your favourite pieces and why?

 My arms are definitely my favourite pieces at the moment because I’m still excited about adding to them. The peacock is one I particularly love and is done by Caleb Kilby at Shangri-La, someone who I have known for a long time and despite it not being my usual style, means a lot to me. I love his style. Some of my other arm was done by Alex Bage, whose style I adore so I was lucky enough to catch him twice. Other pieces I’ll always love are probably my feet and my ribs, which I love as much now as when they were new, in fact I don’t regret any of my tattoos. I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing artists doing what I do, so I’m trying to build up my collection on my travels.  

Peacock by Caleb Kilby

 

Fat Panda by Alex Bage

 

What do you think your tattoos say about you? 

I dread to think! Personally, I think they bring out the hopeless romantic in me. I love tattoos on women, but for me, keeping them classic and feminine softens the edginess of having quite a lot of tattoos.

By Alex Bage

 

What else is in the pipeline for you this year? Work and tattoo wise.

 I will be busy running the campaign for Bartender Appreciation Day, so get voting! We’ve got a few big events coming up which are definitely keeping me busy, and I’ll no doubt be hanging around in bars across the city! With regards to tattoos, I’ll definitely be getting some more work done on my arms and I’m planning on getting to work on my shoulders next.

By Aracelli 4Eva

 

Last but not least, a quick cocktail our readers can make at home? 

Heavy Punch – it’s a great summer cocktail which is refreshingly fruity and easy to mix at home.

HEAVY PUNCH RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 ½ parts Sailor Jerry Spiced
1 part pineapple juice
½ part port
½ part simple syrup
½ part fresh lime juice
4 dashes of bitters

Method: Combine ingredients, shake and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.

Respect his legacy, drink responsibly  

 

 

 

Interview with Céline, who runs Inspired Tattoo Portraits

Céline, 26, Paris.

What first drew you to the tattoo world? When did you decide you wanted to become a tattooed person? This is such a difficult question. I couldn’t really explain what really drew me to the tattoo world. In 2009, while I was in Albuquerque New Mexico to study, I met Steve Truitt a renowned body modification artist. I quickly became friends with him and the guys at his shop and I started to spend a lot of time there. So I would say that I was firstly introduced to the world of body modifications. At the time, seeing Steve’s tattoos was quite a visual shock. That was the first time I saw blacked-out arms, face tattoos and almost a complete tattooed body. I slowly started getting small tattoos until I eventually considered getting a full body suit.

What is your job? I have never been able to do one thing at the time, so I’m currently working several jobs. I’m in charge of the advertising for a magazine, I’m also managing a tattoo artist working at Sang Bleu London and, last but not least, I’m part of the Paris Tattoo Convention staff, Le Mondial du Tatouage organized by Tin-Tin, where I’m in charge of the sponsoring.

Tell us a little more about your project Inspired Tattoo Portraits? When did you start it? Inspired Tattoo Portraits is an artistic and journalistic project that I started in April 2013, which focuses on heavily tattooed people wearing quality art. I aim to create beautiful images and provide content that opens the door to new ideas. Each portrait is made of an interview, a set of analog pictures and a video. I never read tattoo magazines, so it came from a personal need to see something different. For each portrait, I try to find interesting and strong personalities and to shoot them in visually rich environments in order to create unique atmospheres. On one hand, it’s a way for me to broadcast an aspect of the tattoo culture I love and on the other hand to understand myself better thanks to the people involved in the portraits.

Do you find that you often get comments about your tattoos from the public when you’re out? Do you mind this? People are generally surprised, but not in a bad way and I actually get pretty good comments. I guess they can appreciate the artistic value of my tattoos. But having people staring at me in the street and on the subway is not something I always felt comfortable with. When I first started getting tattooed my tattoos were not visible, so as they began becoming more visible I had to adapt to the way people were looking at me. Now I try not to care anymore.

Tell me a little about the work on your body. Who did it? How does it make you feel as a person? The list would be too long to name everyone, I’m a collector. I get work by very different artists: black & grey portraits, neo-traditional, ornamental… So far I have been tattooed by Cokney, Mikael de Poissy, Jean-Philippe Burton, Matthew Gordon, Antony Flemming, etc. I just enjoy being surrounded by art on a daily basis. My tattoos don’t change me as a person. Also it is a big commitment and it’s definitely not a neutral choice…

Thigh tattoos by Mikael de Poissy

 

We have been watching the progress of your stomach piece on Instagram. Where did the inspiration for this come from?  Many women are nervous about using their entire front as a canvas, did you have any apprehensions? I have been looking at Matthew Gordon’s work and I noticed he was super-good at large-scale tattoos and I wanted a big piece for my torso. As I’m working on a body suit project it made sense to go big. I just gave him a few ideas and he nailed it. The placement and size were pretty audacious but I guess I was crazy enough to do it. Of course I had apprehensions. It’s a pretty big commitment. I was scared it would affect my femininity, but it didn’t. In fact feminity really depends on who you are as a person. So I feel pretty good about it.

You recently added a flower below the piece by Matthew, what inspired this? Honestly, it wasn’t really part of my plan but after finishing my torso this little area was left untattooed and blank spots just annoy me. That’s the problem when you’re getting a lot of work done, you tend to only notice the non tattooed areas! Also I wanted someone special for this piece and therefore I asked Japanese artist Gotch to do it.

Do you enjoy working on big tattoo projects? What are you planning next? I think bigger is better, but it’s also pretty hard to work on big projects. It takes a lot of time and commitment, plus it’s usually really painful. Working on my torso piece was challenging and I sometimes felt discouraged. Going through long sessions and having to catch a flight back home to Pares the day after to go back to work is something difficult. But I experienced amazing things as well. It made me realise how strong I am. My next big project is my back piece with Guy le Tatooer, which I’m pretty excited about…

Who else would you like to get tattooed by? Too many! Haha. But to name a few: Claudia de Sabe, Valerie Vargas and the guys at Sacred Electric.

Where do you seek tattoo inspiration? My inspiration mainly comes from artists’ work. I like to pick artists with a strong artistic personality and I only give them a few ideas. I just want them to enjoy the piece and do what they think is good.

Any advice for first timers thinking about getting tattooed? Have a look at artists’ portfolios and choose them regarding their style and most importantly trust them!

 

Below are some of the portraits from the Inspired Tattoo Portraits series, check out the project in its entirety at www.inspiredtattooportraits.com

Boob jobs and tattoos. An interview with Emily Vine, by Kelli Savill

Emily Vine is tattooist Kodie Smith’s girlfriend, she runs jewellery company With Love Treasures and is a qualified make-up artist. We met up with her to her to chat about her boob job, tattoos, and how they have made her a more confident woman.

Emily Vine Emily Vine

 

What made you decide to get your boob job?

From around the age of 17 I’d always thought about having a boob job as I was never  really happy with them. I started going to various cosmetic groups for consultations when I was 18 years old to get more of an insight into the surgery and see what each company had to offer. Overall I must have had consultations with about eight different companies until last year I went to MYA for a consultation and immediately knew they were the company for me. I’m only a month post surgery so they still have a lot of changing to do but I can honestly say it is one the best decisions I have made.

by Gemma B (helfire)

 

Was it a hard decision? 

Being 100% sure on the company and surgeon was a pretty difficult decision but the actual surgery itself I was adamant I wanted. The build up to the actual procedure was so exciting that I am a little gutted its over but now I have the results I’ve always wanted.

 

You already had a chest piece prior to your surgery, has the tattoo changed at all?

As I knew I wanted a breast augmentation since I was 17, it was something I took into careful consideration before getting the tattoo done. I was worried it might distort the tattoo and that was something I didn’t want to happen. I got my chest piece done last January and I told my artist that I was going to have my boobs done sometime in the near future and she said that it would be fine. I trusted her opinion and went ahead with my tattoo. Just as she said, my tattoo hasn’t changed at all even though when I put my sports bra on, the pendant that sits in between my boobs vanishes but that isn’t something that bothers me.

Chestpiece by Gemma B (helfire)

 

Do you plan on any other kind of cosmetic surgery? 

We all have imperfections that we wouldn’t mind changing, which is completely natural, but I don’t hate anything else enough to put myself through surgery again. A while back I was considering getting my nose done but the recovery doesn’t look like too much fun so I think I’ll avoid that. I might have lip fillers in the future, as it’s something I have been looking into, but that’s a simple procedure that doesn’t involve going under the knife so to speak.

 

Do you think cosmetic surgery changes the way you see yourself?

Most definitely. It’s such a life-changing experience going from living with something that bothered you everyday to finally being happy with how it looks. I feel like there’s a lot of stigma surrounding cosmetic surgery, and granted sometimes it’s taken a little too far, but everyone should have the chance to improve something about themselves if they want to. It’s all about how you feel in yourself, not what anyone else thinks.

Tattoo by Amy Savage

 

Are you confident because you’re tattooed? 

Personally, yes. They have made me a lot more confident. My tattoos are one of my favourite things about myself and make me focus a lot less on silly minor flaws. I feel so grateful to have some absolutely beautiful work on my skin from the likes of Gemma B (Helfire), Amy Savage, Kodie Smith, Anthony Cole, Rose Whittaker and so on. I will definitely feel amazing once my Eckel sleeve is in progress too.

 

How do you feel about your boyfriend Kodie (Smith) tattooing you? 

I feel honoured to have his work on my skin. I’m such a proud girlfriend of how far he has come in such a short space of time and I love how modest he is about it. We are currently in the process of planning my foot tattoos which I’m excited but nervous about.

Tattoo by Emily’s boyfriend Kodie Smith

 

What is your favourite tattoo? 

This is such a difficult one to answer because I have a lot of tattoos I adore but if I had to pick just one, my chest piece is definitely a favourite. It came out better than I expected and it’s such a solid piece. The artist behind quite a lot of my work including my chest piece is Gemma B (Helfire). She is such a talented artist who I feel doesn’t get enough recognition for her work.

Tattoo by Rose Whittaker

 

 

Interview by Kelli Savill

Tattooed on the Job – the Perks of being a Things&Ink Intern

I took the train to visit Lucy O’Connell and Ruth Rollin, both from Red Tattoo and Piercing in Leeds who were doing a guest spot at Painted Lady Tattoo Parlour in Northfield, Birmingham.

The studio is absolutely beautiful, like no other I have ever been in. Forget sterile white and tiled floors Painted Lady is like stepping into your much loved eccentric Auntie’s house. Instead imagine ornate frames, muted green walls and bare wooden floor in what was once a living room. The collection of art and taxidermy is incredible and the homey feel is so relaxing, this is how I want my house to be like! There was so much to look at while Lucy tattooed my forearm for three hours with her practically silent tattoo machine.

Owner of the Painted Lady, Dawnii Fantana, one of Lucy’s inspirations, was so welcoming with cups of peach tea and cake! What more could you want? Other inspirations of Lucy’s include; Xam (who she’s planning to get tattooed by when he guests in Leeds), Emily Rose Murray, Valerie Vargas, Jason Minauro and Claudia de Sabe (who is tattooing Lucy’s hands very soon) – Lucky thing!

Lucy had drawn the Chinese lantern design with a cute bird a while ago and I had to snap it up for the start of my sleeve, I love everything she does! I’m a real Instagram stalker, even recognising the fruit fillers that Amy Savage had tattooed as belonging to Lucy. We chatted and laughed the whole way through the tattoo swapping stories about not crying at films, university courses, her love for Robert Downey Jr, (we were watching the new Sherlock Holmes) and other nonsensical things!

Lucy has been tattooing for only two years, yet her style is so distinctive; with women and flowers featuring heavily, as she could tattoo these all day. ‘I do try to turn everything into a woman! I try to get away with as much as I can!’ Fine by me, I especially love her flowers with women faces, perfect.

At first when she started out in the industry Lucy thought she’d specialise in realism but her imagination ran away with her, although ‘it is nice to be given some direction’, creating your own art is more enjoyable.

I can’t wait to get stuck into my sleeve, having already spied on Lucy’s Instagram a gorgeous Indian inspired lady face, which I hope she can recreate for my own collection. My arm will be filled with Indian goddesses, tigers and fans at The Femaletattoo Show, in Leamington Spa where Lucy is working at on 14th September.

Lucy also has numerous guest spots planned:
One Day Gallery, Manchester 28th-29th May
Loaded Forty Four, Manchester 10th-12th July
As well as exhibiting originals of her work at The Old Bones Emporium in Edinburgh 6th-12th  June

I also got my first ever hand-poked tattoo by Ruth Rollins. I picked a little wishbone from her sheet of cute small dot work flash, to bring me luck. I found being tattooed in this way so relaxing and part from a few points it was pretty painless. I could have lain on the table for hours… I asked Ruth which method of tattooing she preferred: ‘it’s too hard to say which I prefer, they are too different and you’re not comparing like for like’. While tattooing with a machine allows Ruth to create larger tattoos, she, like the person being tattooed, finds hand-poking therapeutic. Ruth is also working at the Femaletattoo Show in September and I’ll be popping down to have another little relaxing hand-poked piece of art!

Having these lovely northern lasses tattoo me yesterday was only made possible by Dawnii Fantana (have a look at her beautiful gypsies), Ruth explains that ‘as relative newbies to the tattooing industry it is brilliant having people like Dawnii who help and encourage you’, Hurrah! To Dawnii, her gorgeous shop and supportive nature! Definitely on my growing to-be-tattooed-by list! I hope I don’t run out of space first!