Mark Leaver is a third year student studying commercial photography at the Arts University Bournemouth. Portraits are his thing. And his photography project has been created to show the beauty of facial tattoos and dispel some of the myths surrounding them.Jack Denny
“Facial tattoos have a lot of taboos around them, due to their confrontational nature,” says Mark Leaver on why he started this project. “Unfortunately none of these views are positive, facial tattoos are associated with suicide rates, unemployment, depression and anti-social behaviour. And I can happily report that’s all dated buillshit”.
“Tattoos have recently become incredibly popular and are more accepted by society than ever before. There are many reasons for this, one being their endorsement through celebrity culture. There are countless people with tattooed sleeves and other bits and pieces but that was too broad and mainstream to base a project around. What makes facial tattoos so distinctive is that they are still confrontational, there’s no hiding them. There are only a select few people who make that kind of commitment and it was those people that I wanted to meet and photograph,” says Mark Leaver, about his project.
Mark interviewed each of the subjects of this portrait photographs, to find out a little more about them. These interviews have not yet been published.
“I feel that with documentary work it’s an oversight not to talk to the people being photographed, especially if they are posed portraits,” says Mark. “Candid work isn’t my thing. I try to meet people and set up a portrait in a way that naturally and authentically reveals the person’s character. I prefer the shoots where I get to know the subject a bit better because everyone has interesting stories and backgrounds. Obviously, there are some things that are impossible to communicate with an image, so the text adds to the portrait without changing it. During Touka Voodoo’s interview he told me he had a sex change operation to become a man and that the tattooing on his face, which he did in the mirror himself, represented both his masculinity and femininity.”Touka Voodoo
Also look out for issue #7 of Things&Ink, which will feature brand new portraits and accompanying interviews from this project.
Read the story behind therapist and model Laurence Moniasse Sessou’s tattoos and scarification in ‘The Modification Issue’ #6, thingsandink.com. The feature includes Laurence’s story in her own words, a stunning eight-page emotionally-charged photo shoot and also comments from her body modification artist Iestyn Flye and her tattoo artist Touka Voodoo, both work at Divine Canvas.
Here’s some unpublished images from the shoot, and the illustrations by Katerina Samoilis that were based around Laurence’s story and used as projections in the background of the photo shoot.The beautiful Laurence Moniasse
Illustrations based around the story of Laurence’s scarification and tattoos
Photography and Art Direction – Josh Brandao
Model – Laurence Moniasse Sessou
Words/Story – Laurence Moniasse Sessou and Alice Snape. Thanks to India Ame ‘Ye’ for the title
Illustrations and Set Dressing – Katerina Samoilis
Styling – Olivia Snape
Make-up and Hair – Anna Wild using Nars
Septum Ring – Studio Lil Art and Design
Earrings – Manaka Handmade
More information at thingsandink.com.
Food is essential fuel, enabling us to move, function – think.
“The idea behind ‘Food for Thought’ was to shoot a series of images, which explore the desk as environment. Mixing real stationery items with stationery made from food, specifically from icing and cheese, we created a deceptive image, requiring closer inspection and greater thought in order to identify which items are real and which have been crafted from food.” Kristy Noble
Photographer: Lydia Rayner
Assisted by Chris Morgan and Rebecca Hall
Hair and make-up: Keely Reichardt
Styling: Olivia Snape
Cape by Holly Lloyd
Headdress by Gypsy East
Front cover design: Hustler Squad
The official launch of ‘The Modification Issue’ will be at Brighton Tattoo Convention, this weekend – Valentine’s Weekend. Make sure you come see us, or order your copy from our website, thingsandink.com, or Newsstand.The Front…
Saturnalia – celebrating beauty with colour
Unpublished images from beauty photo shoot for Things&Ink magazine. Full shoot can can be viewed in the celebration issue, which can be purchased from thingsandink.com.Celebrating beauty with colour
Photography by Josh Brandao
Make-up by Ellie Yermakova
Hair and Styling by Katerina Samoilis
Modelled by Beatrix Carlotta, Marina De Salis and Ellie Yermakova
Special thanks to Nicolai Kornum and Rory Skrebowski
BEATRIX CARLOTTA | Performer/Designer
ELLIE YERMAKOVA | Make-up Artist
Behind the scenes film from a shoot created by Gypsy East for the celebration issue, buy your copy from thingsandink.com.
East meets West: A Behind the scenes film starring Brazilian Tattoo Artist El Bernardes for Things&Ink magazine. ✞
Film: River Hately-Richards
Editing: Julian Michael Cooper
Photography: Ryan Warner
Art Direction: Olivia Snape | Emily-Louise McGuinness | Sylvie Gianella
Hair: Nuriye ‘Naz’ Sonmez
Makeup: Anna Wild
Clothing: Embellished Crop by Gypsy East | Trousers & Cape by BLITZ | Jewellery by Gypsy East | Body by AQ/AQ
El Bernardes takes a break on shoot <3
Black Tattoo Art II
Modern Expressions of the Tribal
As a lover of traditional and colourful tattoos, I approached Marisa Kakoulas’ (editor of needlesandsins.com) hefty coffee table book Black Tattoo Art, feeling like I was about to step onto unknown soil. My sense of unease was unwarranted, though, and as I delved into the pages of the book, I was transported into a monotone world of pure beauty. I was introduced to the work of masters – Roxx, Delphine Noiztoy, Loic aka Xoil and Simone Pfaff – each artist converting me to the dark side, my colourful collection of tattoos may have some black additions soon.Tattoo by Loic aka Xoil
I wanted to get a sense of the history of this unique and iconic book, so I got in touch with author Marisa, who also edits tattoo blog needlesandsins.com, this is what she had to say:
Tattoo by Simone Pfaff
‘When Edition Reuss Publishing approached me back in 2008, I told them I wanted to create a book on blackwork tattooing – work just in black ink – because it had not been done before. I believe that it’s tattooing in its purest form, continuing the traditions of indigenous tattoo cultures, even if the patterns and compositions are contemporary. So, the first Black Tattoo Art book came out in 2009, and continues to be popular because there still isn’t anything on the market that specifically pays tribute to this tattoo genre. Since the first edition’s release, the number of artists and the outcropping of different styles has grown exponentially, and so it was time to do a second volume.
‘There are many more artists in edition two, 75 of the best in black from around the world. There is also a new chapter on Celtic and Nordic inspired tattooing, curated by renowned tattooer Colin Dale. This chapter features stunning ancient designs, and in his introduction to the chapter, Colin offers some of the myths and lore behind the art. We also expanded the Art Brut/Abstract chapter, which gets the strongest reaction. I think that the work in this chapter is wild and fearless, and redefines what a tattoo can be.
‘But really, I love every work in this book, as if they were my own children. I believe blackwork is timeless – it doesn’t follow any trends, its ornamentation follows the lines of the body and enhances, rather than overwhelms, it. Personally, I’ve been getting tattooed primarily in blackwork for almost 20 years, and it has aged beautifully. I love my tattoos!’
Marisa also states that her ultimate goal, in all of the books that she has authored, is to present tattooing as a fine art form, to show the endless possibilities of body adornment, and inspire other amazing tattoos. Marisa, mission accomplished. This compendium of tattoos is stunning and truly the perfect addition to any art lover’s coffee table – whether a tattoo collector or not.Tattoo by Delphine Noiztoy
If you like what you see, Lucy has offered T&I readers a 10% discount code, simply enter BMMLOVESTHINGS&INK at the check out… we know what we’ve got our eyes on (Bone Wrap and Defend Blaze rings, oh yeah)
PHOTOS: Grace Isobel
How did you become a jeweller? I started an apprenticeship with Phil Orton, with a view to creating my own company, eventually. I seemed to pick things up fast and loved being creative. I was soon taking wax blocks home with me at night to carve my own designs. I kept at it, until I had my own mini-range and then Phil allowed me to cast them into silver. The reaction to my designs was pretty awesome, and a girl in New York bought two of my first designs straight away. I continued designing and creating, and over the last few months things have really taken off. I can already see the growth in Bloody Mary Metal (BMM), from the start back in March (2012) up to now. I’ve got so much to learn, I don’t think the learning curve will ever stop, but I’m loving working with my hands, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with the brand so far.1oz Bone
What inspires you? I’m lucky that I love my work, and I’m in control of it. So the things that inspire me in day-to-day life are often the things that inspire my designs. My love of heavy metal is a massive influence in my work, and I’d say that in general, “the darker, macabre side of life” is fascinating. Our history, bones, weapons, religion are all really interesting to me. I’m Cornish, so the sea is a massive love in my life – there’s lots of nautical- and pirate-themed pieces in my collections.
What draws you to jewellery? I’ve always loved jewels, I’m a bit of magpie. I love statement pieces, but I also love layering up lots of smaller pieces. I’m really into mixing metals – silver and gold, high shine and matt. Combining colour and texture can look decadent and interesting.Antler
Is your work inspired by tattoos? To an extent. I spent a long time working with some amazing tattoo artists before BMM, so their artistic approaches are bound to be rattling around in my brain when I’m designing. A lot of my designs are, as I mentioned, nautically-themed, which is obviously a hugely popular theme in tattooing too. Anchors from Sailor Jerry through to new-school designs are popular. So there are definitely likenesses to my collections.Hope and Anchor
What is your favourite piece you have created? I love the Hope
& Anchor pendant. I designed it as a tribute to my dad, who I lost to Pancreatic Cancer. I donate all of the profit from the Hope & Anchor to Macmillan Cancer Support, so every time I sell one, we’re helping another family. It’s amazing the stories people send me when they buy it, their own personal battles. I feel honoured that people are so touched by my design. I also love the 1oz bone – it was my first design and I am so proud of it. The thing about BMM is that it’s basically the jewellery I want, but can’t ever find in stores, so I wear most of it.
What did you do before BMM? I guess selling tomatoes on the London farmers markets was a pretty big part of my life. I did a degree at drama college too, and slaved for a few fashion brands. Right before BMM, I worked at Jolie Rouge Tattoo in London. It was the best thing I did. I met some of my best friends and it inspired me to get creative, to do my own thing, and make things happen. All of the artists who work there are amazing. They all have such a distinctive personal style, and they all work so hard. They took me under their wings and encouraged and supported me.
Can you tell me a bit about your tattoos? Well, apart from the usual tiny “didn’t really think that through” stars, my first big piece was down my back, by Dave Bryant. It’s a feather and birds, and I had it done when I lost my dad. A lot of my tattoos are tributes to my family, and most of them signify big steps in my life. I have a full sleeve by Charissa at the Jolie Rouge, which is all linked to my home in Cornwall. My tattoos are fun and bright and will always remind me of people and places I love.Lucy’s back by Dave Bryant
Do you think there is a relationship between fashion and tattoos? Unfortunately, yes. Working in a studio opened my eyes to the whole “scene” and how predictable it is. I think you should have tattoos of what you love, by artists you love, and have them done for you – not because some pop star has “a owl” tattoo, or whatever. It’s also really obvious when people have just Googled “tattoo design”. The amount of times I saw the same rose vine reference in a year was unbelievable. ❦
Tattoo artist Tracy D works at King’s Cross Tattoo in London, UK. Here’s an extract from her interview in The Art Issue of Things&Ink magazine. To buy a copy and see the full interview, go to thingsandink.com
How would you describe your style?
I do a lot of, what I guess would be described as, traditional and neo-traditional work. But I am eager to expand and learn as much as I can about different ways and styles of tattooing. I am just really enjoying what I am getting asked to tattoo at the moment – art nouveau-style tattoos and beautiful feminine pieces. That could always change though, you just never know what the future holds.
What is your favourite tattoo you’ve worked on?
When Things&Ink editor, Alice, asked me to create her a tattoo to mark a celebration of this issue and also the first year of the magazine, I was thrilled. She gave me the freedom to create a piece just for her and it was a dream come true. She didn’t limit me with space or colour, or anything at all, so I was excited to take parts of three of my favourite Rossetti paintings, ‘A Sea Spell’ (1875-7), ‘A Roman Widow’ (1874) and ‘Sibylla Palmifera’ (1865 70). My main influences were the use of colour, the extravagance of flowers, poppies denoting sleep, butterflies referring to the soul, the use of musical instruments, as well as the strength and beauty of the women depicted in each painting – just heavenly. Each piece is just divinely perfect, in my opinion. I don’t think I have ever been more in my element when working on a piece, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to do more designs influenced by my favourite movement.