Category: News

Issue 10 – The Anatomy Issue cover star reveal… Cally-Jo

We are SO excited to announce that the cover star for issue 10 – The Anatomy Issue – is the insanely talented tattoo artist CALLY-JO… get your hands on a copy now… thingsandink.com

We love collaborating with tattoo artists to create interesting and innovative photo shoots, and this one is simply divine… the cover looks like a modern-day Death and the Maiden… order the latest issue now to see the full photo feature and read an exclusive in-depth interview in which Cally-Jo reveals all about her move to New York, how she has grown artistically as a tattooist and what it was like creating this stunning cover…

The new issue can be purchased from Newsstand… plus the first 100 people to order will receive a free treat on us from our friends at Sun Jellies

Photography and Art Direction by Philip Rhys Matthews
Hair, Make-up and Styling by Adrianna Veal

 

Tattooed Dad who wears his son’s drawings on his skin…

The Telegraph recently shared a photograph of a dad who wears his young son’s drawings tattooed on his skin… hailing him ”The World’s Most Supportive Father“… we absolutely love the photograph, but why do you think people criticised it so much?

Some comments read from Telegraph readers: “The World’s Weirdest Dad” and “He’s just an idiot.” But what do you think?

keith-anderson-tattooed dad 2

We think these photos are beautifully captured… and we can’t believe people criticised him so much.

The images of Dad, Keith, were taken by photographer Chance Faulkner.

Each one of these tattoos on my right arm my son has drawn over the years. The first tattoo is from when he was four – he is now 11. We add once a year from his drawings… We will keep going until he doesn’t want to do it anymore. At this pace he is still very excited about it, so we’ll keep going. People ask me what will happen if I run out of space; I guess I’ll just get him to draw smaller pictures.

Says Keith of his tattoos.

 

My Marathon Diary Part Three – my first ever half marathon (and it was hilly)

Things&Ink editor Alice Snape is currently in training for the London Marathon 2015, she’s running for Sarcoma UK. Read more in her first Marathon diary entry and Part Two – an early morning run. Here’s part three of her marathon diary – The Watford Half Marathon.  

 

 

Saturday 31 January – the day before…

“It’s the day before my first ever half marathon race and I don’t feel (too) scared (yet). I am more excited than nervous at the moment… I have trained as much as I can. I have been running four times a week, including one long run a week. The farthest distance so far being 13.7 miles (the half marathon is 13.1), and last Saturday I ran 10 miles. I have practised what runners call ‘hydration and nutrition’ on long runs. I have used gels (strange, gloopy things to give you energy while running) and swigged bits of water from a teeny tiny running bottle that fits in my pocket…

“I start my pre-race day with an 8am hot yoga class, to stretch out my limbs. And I work on the latest issue of Things&Ink all day (The Anatomy Issue, which is due out at the end of February, it goes to print next week eek)… eating healthy meals along the way. For lunch, my sister (Things&Ink stylist) Olivia makes us a cauliflower and tuna bake… this involves cutting up broccoli, cauliflower, red onions, tomatoes, tuna and feta, and baking it all together in the oven – delish. My best friend (and Things&Ink makeup artist) Keely is also running the half marathon, so we have a pre-race dinner together and I stay over at her house, so we can go together in the morning (and calm each other’s nerves). Over our salmon fishcakes, sweet potato wedges (good pre-race carbs) and broccoli, we chat about how much our lives have changed – a Saturday night of last summer would have consisted of (a lot of) wine and possibly a cheeky couple of ciggies (I haven’t smoked now since last July). Oh how we’ve changed. We go to bed at 11pm, after watching repeats of Dinner Date (rock ‘n’ Roll).”

The Watford Half Marathon Course – looking at the course before you race is so nerve-wracking… it looks so far!

 

Sunday 1 February 2015 – The Watford Half Marathon. RACE DAY!

“Alarm goes off at 6.45am, we have to leave at 7.30am to get to race HQ at 9am to collect our numbers and timing chips. I don’t want to get out of bed, and curse myself for this crazy, healthy new lifestyle (it’s sooooo early for a Sunday, surely most sane people are in bed?!). Breakfast consists of gluten free granola, almond milk, blueberries, banana, a coconut water and a coffee. And Keely and I plan our route to Watford and make sure we have everything we need – gels, TomTom Runner watch, ear warmers and gloves… Of course we’re already dressed in our running gear.

Gotta rock the faux fur, even just before a half marathon. At race HQ they called us the “furry runners”

 

“When we arrive, we’re overwhelmed by all the professional looking runners – this definitely isn’t a fun charity run… there’s leggings and teeny shorts everywhere, and some seriously fit-looking people. Keely and I are wearing our faux furs when we arrive, and we can feel people starring at us. We seem a little out of place against all the sports gear – like (tattooed, faux furry) fish out of water. We collect our timing chips and numbers and settle into race HQ (a tent in the park with chairs). We decide we don’t want to check our handbags and faux furs into the baggage store until the last minute (it’s FREEZING and all the runners in shorts and vests are making us feel even colder). While we’re waiting for the 10.30am start, we chat to an interesting lady (who we guessed was around 80) who tells us of her many marathons, and how we shouldn’t concentrate too much on how fast we’re running, just how we feel and to enjoy it – running as fast as feels comfortable on the day. We agree, and decide it’s time to head to the start line (with a quick stop off at the porta-loos), the nerves are really starting to set in.

“The gun sounds, and we’re pretty far back from the start line, we must cross it around two and a half minutes into the race. We start jogging at a slow-ish pace, it’s pretty crowded (there’s 1,700 people running). The first couple of miles we’re all so close to each other, and it feels strange running with so many people. I miss the solitariness of my early morning runs. By mile four, the crowds are clearing a little as everyone gets into their own pace. Keely and I split then too and decide we want to run our own races.

“The Watford course is unexpectedly beautiful, and we wind around country roads. But what I totally hadn’t bargained for was the hills. The course is intensely hilly, and it feels like it’s more up than down. People were walking all around me and I was trying to stay motivated and keep on running, but it was so hard. I was running so slowly up each hill (there may have been some swearing too, sorry Mum). And the hills just kept on coming… even when the race marshalls said it was the last difficult hill, I didn’t believe them. (They definitely lied to keep us motivated).  For the most part, I really didn’t enjoy it. It was a really tough challenge. But there were some simple pleasures along the way. I tried to take in the countryside and enjoy the (what felt like very few) downhill stretches (although even these were a little scary as one was so steep it felt like I was on a rollercoaster and I might topple over at any moment.) I also enjoyed some of the signs people made to cheer us on, my favourite reading: Toenails are overrated. I thought of my battered and bruised tootsies. I also enjoyed a fellow runner telling me I had “good form”. I felt some light relief at the end when the marshalls said there were just 500 metres remaining and I could see the finish line, but I just had no power left in my legs. I normally try and speed up at the end, but I had nothing left to give.

 

Crossing the finish line and trying to smile…

 

“As I crossed the finish line, the girl next to me said: “That was the worst two hours of my life, and I didn’t enjoy any of it.” I didn’t totally disagree, but I knew secretly that I wouldn’t feel this way later. I collected my medal, finisher t-shirt and gulped down some water. And went to try and find Keely. We hugged and high-fived: we did it. I managed to complete the course in two hours 15 mins, five minutes slower than I had wanted, but I blame the hills.”

Over the finish line and still smiling in our medals and runner tees… makeup artist Keely and editor Alice.

 

“Later, we had Sunday lunch (which tasted amazing), nothing tastes better after a tough and long run. And later that night, over a glass of wine, we mulled over our achievement. Even though straight after the race we vowed we would never, ever, run that course again, we’re already changing our minds and talking about beating our own times next year… and I guess that’s why we love running, the pain is short lived, and we soon forget the hills. We just bathe in the after-glow of our own personal little victories (remembering that this time last year 5k was  a struggle and I never really dreamed I could run for over two hours without stopping!)… and start planning the next chunk of our marathon training, next week 16 miles? Well, we’ll see how it goes… There’s a long way to go.”

Please donate as little or as much as you can on my justgiving page (justgiving.com/alicesnapemarathon), and read more about why I am running for Sarcoma UK.

Keely is also running the London Marathon 2015 for Cure Parkinson’s her justgiving page is justgiving.com/keelyr.

Toenails are overrated – tattooed post-race tootsies in the bath

LondonEdge: The New Alternative

Lifestyle trade show for fashion with an edge!
1st-3rd February
The West Hall, Olympia, London W14

Underground lifetsyle and fashion take centre stage at this exciting trade show. Don’t miss out on exclusive new season fashion and accessories from some awesome brands, including: IronFist, Collectif, Manic Panic, Killstar Clothing and many many more! Discover new designers and the latest trends while watching the faashion show or having your hair styled.

LondonEdge is known for its jam packed after parties and this year is no exception!

The night is full of an explosive array of live acts including Lounge Kittens, a trio of soulful ladies reinventing rock anthems into harmonies full of humour and sass. Dee Christopher will astound you with his mind bending magic and Burlesque performer Miss Betsy Rose will tantalise you with her sultry moves. The Sinisters will mesmorise you with their dark perfomances and East London’s finest club DJs SHOREBITCH will have dancing til the sun comes up. All of this is hosted by none other than Meth, a true star of drag with her sky high heels and cutting wit you won’t want to miss the party of the season!

If you would like to attend the LondonEdge SS15 party, please RSVP with your contact details to nicola@londonedge.com. You can also use your LondonEdge show badge to gain entry.

 

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.”

One year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

A year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

The first issue of 2014, was The Modification Issue, issue 6 of Things&Ink. And we shot our amazing cover with space elf Grace Neutral in January 2014 at the London Film Museum. The magazine was released at Brighton Tattoo Convention in February 2014.

Here’s some behind the scenes footage of the shoot, which really gives a feel of how impressive the photo shoot venue was and how beautiful Grace is. 

The Modification Issue also featured one of our most moving shoots to date. Therapist and model Laurence Moniasse tells the story of her tattoos and scarification, and how they link to her past and her family. During the emotionally charged photo shoot where old family photos were projected onto the background, Laurence shed tears as she remembered her grandmother. It was a beautiful moment and a stunning editorial feature.

In February 2014, our most popular blog posts were: SHORT FRENCH FILM REVERSING GENDER ROLES and CELEBS WITH TATTOOS #SHOPPEDTATTOOS

Issue 7, The Identity Issue, was launched in May 2014, and starred Wendy Pham on what is – surprisingly – our most controversial cover to date. She looks strong and powerful in the image we chose for the cover, however some readers commented that it was too “sexual” and were shocked that it wasn’t a “typical” Things&Ink cover. We like to divide opinion, and get people talking. But it also reminded us that all our covers are collaborations between us and the artist who is featured – they choose how they are portrayed too. Their personality is represented and so is the ethos of Things&Ink… what do you think of the Wendy Pham cover? We would love to know.

Things and Ink identity Wendy Pham

In June 2014, our most popular blog posts were: WOMAN TRANSFORMS HER FACIAL SCARS WITH TATTOO INK and MUM TATTOOS HER 12 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.

September 2014 saw the launch of The Illustration Issue, starring tattoo artist Danielle Rose. On the cover she becomes one with her artwork – the artist becomes artwork, the illustrator becomes the illustrated. This cover was one of our most collaborative and the results are simply breathtaking. This issue also marked a change in our identity, instead of our tagline: Embracing Female Tattoo Culture, it was Independent | Tattoo | Lifestyle that was printed underneath our logo on issue 8. We had occasionally been criticised for being a “female-only” magazine (which we actually never have been, we set up Things&Ink as way to portray art and not objectify the person wearing it), so we wanted to clear this up in our strapline and allow as many readers as possible to enjoy reading the magazine.

In September, we also celebrated our two-year birthday with a charity exhibition of post card sized artwork by over 100 of the world’s leading tattooists. The opening of ‘Miniature Ink’ was electric – readers even queued outside Atomica Gallery from 3pm in the afternoon (the exhibition opened at 6) to get their hands on a tiny piece of art. We were even lucky enough to get a special guest appearance from tattoo artist Cally-Jo and her friend, supermodel Cara Delevingne. The night was incredible and the exhibition ran throughout September and during the London Tattoo Convention, with all profits from sales going to the charity Sarcoma UK.

Supermodel Cara Delevingne, tattoo artist Cally-Jo and editor Alice Snape at the launch of the Miniature Ink exhibition

 

Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice at London Tattoo Convention September 2014 – we LOVE conventions and hope to do even more in 2015

 

Throughout September and October 2014, we also worked really hard on issue 9, as it was the last issue of the year, we wanted to do something extra special. S0 we created three extra special covers for you to choose from – including a woman, a man (for the first time ever) and a couple. Flo Nuttall, Brian Wilson, and Yann Brenyak and Delphine Noiztoy were all a pleasure to photograph and each of their personalties shines through.

 

2014 has been an incredible year for Things&Ink and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible: readers, writers, contributors, photographers…  – we are sure 2015 will be as full of surprises… we can’t wait to share it with you. What has been your highlight of 2014?

“stripped back” beauty photo shoot starring El Wood

“I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a faery’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.”

– from La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats 

Full “stripped back” beauty photo shoot in issue 9, Things&Ink.

Art Director – Marina De Salis
Photographer – Philip Rhys Matthews
Makeup, Hair & Styling - Adrianna Veal
Model – Elena Wood

 

Permission to use image granted from MyBKK: http://www.mybkk.com/dont-buy-or-sell-buddha/

The Buddha Tattoo: Sacrilege?

Permission to use image granted from MyBKK, click image for original article.

 

The above billboard is located on Bangkok’s main highway between Suvarnabhumi airport and the city. Confronting travellers entering the city, it condemns any decorative use of the Buddha, including, specifically, tattoos. On their eponymous website, 5000s.org, the organisation that commissioned the public message further elaborate on their position, which is worth quoting in full:

“Buddha is the Father religion of more than 500 million Buddhists around the world. His images and statues are not meant to be used for decoration or tattoo under any circumstance. Those who create the object with Buddha images intend to inspire people to think of Buddha, his teachings. If you feel that Buddha images help you feel peace and harmony please place a Buddha statue properly with respect, by placing the statue or image, at a high level from the floor and not using his symbols as decoration. The human body is dirty. Buddha’s image should not be displayed on something so unclean as the human body, like with a tattoo.”

At this point, it might be important to explore a little further the significance that Buddhist iconography holds within Buddhism. As religious studies academic Patrick S. O’Donnell explains, “The religious meaning of the sundry iconographic representations and symbols are meant to resonate with the practitioner’s psychological, philosophical, and spiritual dispositions and further develop her capacities, which should widen and deepen over time. This iconography is an integral feature of a ‘living tradition’ and not merely ‘art’ in the conventional sense nor solely of historical or antiquarian interest or curiosity.”

Today, however, the Buddha’s image and associated icons have become empty symbols of fashionable spirituality, or further commodified into purely ornamental merchandise and apparel. Recently, North American chain store Urban Outfitters caused controversy for another religion with the release of their US$8 socks featuring the Hindu deity Ganesh (all have since sold out, although US$49 Ganesha tapestries are still available), prompting the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, to release a statement decrying the use of the religious symbol: “Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be wrapped around one’s foot.”

For many it may seem like common sense to respect sacred religious iconography, but for others the idea of adapting one’s personal attire to fit within the morally acceptable realm of another’s religion is preposterous; someone taking offence to a picture of an eight-armed elephant on a sock may be valid cause for derision. An investment in exploring the boundaries of cultural appropriation is beyond the scope of this piece, but it is important to keep in mind that the rampant cultural appropriation exhibited by western corporations is their unique way of effacing the world of anything sacred. For the people of historically colonized countries such as India and Sri Lanka, however, who hold continue to revere their religious icons, it’s Colonization 2.0.

In April of this year, the Sri Lankan government arrested and deported a British woman, Naomi Coleman, because of a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm, with a police spokesperson citing the crime of “hurting others’ religious feelings”. And, only last week in Myanmar, the BBC reported that a New Zealander and two locals pleaded “not guilty” to charges of insulting the Buddha by depicting him with headphones (Sri Lanka and Myanmar are deeply religious countries; Burmese law makes it illegal to insult any religion).

Unless your intention is to make a political or social statement—in which case your motivation in visiting a host country is well beyond that of casual tourist or temporary ex-pat—it’s a generally held norm to respect the laws and moral standards of a country in which you are a guest. For instance, as absurd as not driving while female may sound, maybe don’t go to Saudi Arabia while in full possession of female reproductive organs (this sentence could plausibly end here) and drive a car. Unless, of course, you’re prepared to face the consequences both for yourself—recently ranging from 10 to 150 lashes—and for diplomatic relations between the Sunni nation and your country of citizenship.

The Knowing Buddha Organization (KBO), which operates 5000.org, is a self-proclaimed custodian of the Buddha, dedicated to raising awareness about appropriate and inappropriate uses of Buddhist symbols and imagery. It receives numerous complaints of “devastation” at the sacrilegious use of the Buddha’s image, like statues decorating toilets. The KBO tell me they’re currently working with the Thai Committee on Religions as well as the Thai Senate to “help solve this ongoing problem that has distorted Buddhism worldwide” and to campaign for legislation that will not only focus on tattoos, furnishings, and apparel, but to set a “righteous standard” in public consciousness as a whole.

I entered this foreign discourse with the Knowing Buddha Organization using Buddhist teachings, pointing out that on its website it shares the wisdom that, “In order to purify the mind Buddha taught us to stop reacting emotionally. It means to just acknowledge without reacting, which requires a certain knowledge”. I questioned whether it thought that in the recent case of Naomi Coleman, a practicing Buddhist visiting Sri Lanka, the authorities had acted appropriately and in line with those teachings? I felt it appropriate to remind it that, in western culture, tattoos are often acquired to remind the wearer of a significant event or emotion, and wonder whether—especially when its website states that “Buddha statues have become a key element for most Buddhists around the world”, through which religionists are “reminded of his compassion, kindness and his teachings and feel the highest regard for him”—couldn’t a tattoo play this important role in lieu of a statue?

“To the devoted Buddhists, tattoos are not the means to salvation. They are nothing but unnecessary surplus to life if one wants to detach his mind. For strict regulated Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, it is unacceptable to see Buddha and his image in any impur[e context,] including on the body. It is not about reacting emotionally or overacting, but it is about setting the righteous consci[ousness] and good public example. [The Sri Lankan authorities] merely took their stand of demonstrating that such action is disrespectful.”

When I asked the KBO to elaborate on their objection to the depiction of the Buddha in tattoos, it described to me how our bodies are unclean and impure owing to alcohol, defecation, and intercourse. For us to then tattoo a Buddha image on to this vessel of scum (I’m paraphrasing) is to attach the “most sacred symbol of purity to something that is not” and to abase the otherworldly to that which is worldly. Because the Buddha has taught us to “isolate our minds from body and ultimately detach the mind from our mind, to be the mind with no mind,” the KBO questions the impulse to “put his image in such a low and unclean place or [on] something as impermanent as our bodies.”

The pain of seeing the Buddha’s image on an impermanent, dirty material, the KBO explains, is akin to an ardent patriot watching her national flag being trampled or burnt. “Buddha was the purest mind. He is so pure that even his images should be [reverently] treated and placed only [in] high[-up][positions],” commensurate, it suggests, with the spiritual altitude of his righteous deeds.

Although the KBO may believe that the Buddha’s image is too eminent for the likes of our decaying, unclean bodies, I offered the perspective of appreciating a tattoo’s artistic worth—devoid of divine subservience—that much sacred iconography can offer the nonbeliever.

“The idea of appreciating art from Buddha images is false to the sole purpose and hence is inappropriate. One should consider the true purpose and respect the real meaning.”*

Once again, it boils down to whether or not you’re willing to respect the beliefs of someone else to the point of influencing your own choices. It’s always affirming to see people with such firm beliefs lead by example, so I was confused as to how Sak Yank tattoos and the Buddhists that wear and tattoo them fit in to this seemingly inflexible equation.

KBO acknowledges Sak Yant as one of the many misunderstandings of their religion—even among Buddhists—claiming that their charm is misleading.

“As we [delve] deeper toward the core of Buddha’s teaching, we see the inevitable knowledge that real Dharma is to detach the mind from all. Sak Yant is another bond that binds us to our bodies and binds our mind to desire to possess and hope for any expected, extraordinary result. Many genuine Buddhists have Sak Yant, yet they no longer [value] the import of tattoos or their magical claims. They hold only Buddha and his teachings and Dharma as their [salvation].”

It would have been interesting to posit this to a Sak Yant decorated Buddhist, but maybe that’s something I’ll do another time: challenge the intentions of a tattooed monk.

 

* According to the KBO, “the true purpose” is: “Buddha and his teachings”.

The Things&Ink Wedding Competition Finalists – The Engagement Shoot

Are you linked by ink?

Back in December 2013 (issue 5, The Celebration Issue), we launched a competition to win wedding photography for your big day. The best, tattooed love story would win… And the entrants were amazing  – so amazing that we have picked three finalists (they’re so cute).  The engagement shoots in this blog post, by photographer Heather Shuker, of Brighton-Photo, will help us pick the ultimate winner. Who is your favourite couple? Let us know on Instagram @thingsandink.com or facebook.com/thingsandink

The final winner will be announced on Christmas Day! Watch this space…

Vicky Morgan & Lee Withey – 31 and 27 from Nottingham

Where did you meet? Vicky: ‘He bought me a drink to congratulate me on getting a receptionist job at the studio he worked at, that was 10 years ago.’

 

How were tattoos involved? Vicky: ‘We worked together for over 10 years in a tattoo studio, and he also played a big part in helping me learn to tattoo.’

Have you already planned your day?  Vicky: ‘We are getting married in Phuket, Thailand, on the 4th of February 2015.’

How do you see your wedding day? What are you most excited about? Vicky: ‘I want it to be magical. We got engaged in Phuket under a full moon and it will be the same for our wedding, but with our closest friends and family, a baby elephant and fireworks. Every Disney princess needs fireworks!’ 

ROXANNE DONOVAN & GREG FURBER, 28 AND 31, FROM LONDON 

 

Where did you meet? Roxanne: ‘On a film set. My first job was on Fantastic Mr Fox and Greg was one of the assistant directors on the film.’

How were tattoos involved? Roxanne: ‘On my first day, Greg was asking me my interests and at the time I was reading this book about dragons (which I thought was a bit dorky). A bit embarrassed, I told him about the book, to which he replied: “I have two large dragon tattoos on my back.” Call me weird but, SWOON! We also have matching tattoos that we got while in Coney Island, NYC. It was Halloween and we were a bit tipsy (read: drunk as a skunk). We ended up in a bar called Tattoos and Shots, you can see where this story goes… Needless to say the next morning we woke up with two matching skull tattoos on our wrists with no recollection of getting them. The weekend after that Greg proposed!’

 

Have you already planned your day? Roxanne: ‘We are getting married on 28/08/2015 at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London. The wedding has snippets of Romany Gypsy traditions in memory of my granddad. Also Spanish Culture as we are travelling South America for our honeymoon and we love everything Spanish.’

How do you see your wedding day? Roxanne: ‘Our wedding is all about partying and rum. On the morning of our wedding we’ll meet at a tattoo parlour and have our wedding bands tattooed onto us. We wanted to make sure in all of the wedding crazy, we had a moment to be together and really make a mark on our day.’ 

 

TANYA MAYOR & CHRIS BAKER, BOTH 26, FROM STOKE-ON-TRENT AND BARNSLEY

 

Where did you meet? Tanya: ‘We met on Instagram.’

How were tattoos involved?  Tanya: ‘Chris had been asked to draw a pin-up burlesque dancer (he’s a tattooist), so he searched for reference on Instagram and I popped up in the results. He contacted me and asked if he could draw me for a tattoo on a client. Since that moment, barely a day has gone by that we haven’t spoken to each other. Chris even came to live with me while I nursed my sick nan and he worked at a studio in Stoke-on-Trent to support me. After this, we began to look for our own studio, so that we could grow artistically as a couple. It has been the biggest struggle of our lives, but we now run a studio together. Tattoos are what brought us together.’

 

How do you see your wedding day? What are you most excited about?  Tanya: ‘We would love to get married in a low-key ceremony with a few select close friends and family. We want to custom make most things for the wedding, including the outfits and wedding favours, and we want candles and fairy lights. It’ll be romantic and based around a twisted theme, taking influence from Tim Burton and Sailor Jerry. We are most excited about getting married and making the further commitment to each other.’ 

Let us know your favourite couple… and the winner will be announced on Christmas Day.