Category: Products

Shaded: Pot Yer Tits Away Luv

‘Shaded’ is an ongoing interview series created by 23-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people who wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Emma Low is a Leeds-based ceramic artist who creates pots that represent the human-form in all of its wonderful shapes, sizes and colours. At first gifts for those closest to her, Emma’s pots were soon in-demand, and the Glasgow-native found herself starting up her pottery business ‘Pot Yer Tits Away Luv’. Here, Emma speaks about her “inclusive brand”, tattoo tributes to her cat Trouble and how her work aims to celebrate differences and liberate women. “Tits don’t mean sex.”

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Tell us about ‘Pot Yer Tits Away Luv’?
 Pot Yer Tits Away Luv is a pottery business that I started in February 2017. My main inspiration is a realistic representation of the female form, but I also do some work with the male form as well. It all started with a Christmas present that I made for my boyfriend. I wanted to give him something that was personal so I made him a pot with my tits on it. It was okay for a first attempt, but it looked nothing like mine – regardless of that fact, he loved it. People saw it and wanted me to create pots that represented them, and then from there it’s just snowballed. I never expected that it would eventually become my full-time job. I now spend five days a week crafting pots with tits on them, which is pretty mad.

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What first attracted you to working with clay? My boyfriend had done a short course and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d try it out! It was really difficult to figure out in the beginning, but like everything else, practise makes perfect. I then enrolled in a night class and learned more about the craft. I never made any tit-related items, though. It was all really basic, and most of it wasn’t actually that great.

As well as creating works that celebrate the human body, you also share the work of painters, illustrators and photographers that aim to do the same thing. Can you speak about your on-going relationship with the subject? I’ve always been fascinated by form. It’s amazing how we all have bodies that essentially do the same thing, yet they vary drastically in relation to what they look like. I grew up in a very body positive environment. To me, naked bodies were never deemed as sexual. I like to try and express that in my work – especially when it comes to the female form. Tits don’t mean sex. I think a lot of people misunderstand what my work is about. It’s supposed to be liberating, not about sexualising women. I always love to share other artist’s work because I think it’s important to express gratitude towards the people who inspire you. Social media can be such a useful tool when it comes to finding out about new artists or being exposed to new ideas. There are so many amazing artists who share similar views to me when it comes to feminism, and I like to promote those ideas.

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What’s your relationship with tattooing? I started getting tattooed quite late in comparison to most of my friends. I think I was 24. My first tattoo was done by my friend’s boyfriend when I went to visit them on holiday in Berlin. It’s a black heart with ‘Trouble’ running through it. Trouble was my cat, he passed away last summer but I’d had him for around eight years. The last tattoo I got was by Olivia Chloe Lewis, and it’s a vase! I think regardless of whether your tattoos have a specific meaning you can tell a lot about a person from their tattoos and that’s what’s always drawn me to them. I’ve only ever had my thighs tattooed, I wouldn’t want to move on to anywhere else on my body until my legs are completely covered.

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Your pots represent the human body in so many different ways – large and small, and sometimes tattooed. What is it you feel you are addressing with your all-embracing work, and how do you feel tattooing is part of that conversation? I just want to have an inclusive brand where everyone feels like they are represented. People who have tattoos usually want me to incorporate them into custom pieces, and I really like drawing them on because it can sometimes be challenging! Just like anything else; scars, piercings, moles, third nipples, freckles. Regardless of whether it was a choice, like a tattoo, or a mole you were born with, it all makes you the individual person that you are and that’s what my work is all about: celebrating differences.

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Who influences you? My boyfriend, Archer. He’s very creative, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without him. My best friend, Tammy, has built her own nail empire (NAF! Salon). She has shown me that it’s not at all about getting lucky, it’s about hard work, dedication and endless passion. When it comes to artists I absolutely love, the work of Sally Hewett. She is unapologetically honest. Her work is so well thought out and the end product is always so beautiful even if to society the subject might be seen as “ugly”. I have a massive girl-crush on Jen Gotch, founder of Ban.do. Her personal Instagram is so refreshing. She talks openly about her struggles with mental health, is a huge babe, dresses like a crazy old lady, and pulls it off, and somehow also manages to run a very successful business.

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What’s next for you? I have a few collaborations in the pipeline! The only one I can really talk about at the moment is a jewellery collaboration with Lou Clarke. We’re doing earrings! It’s such an exciting time for me. I feel like there are endless possibilities when it comes to doing fun things, but at the moment I haven’t really got a clear path. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and see where it takes me. I’m not really one for planning – plans stress me out! So yeah, to be honest I have no idea, but for now I’m happy just living in the moment.

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Forever More The New Tattoo

Modern-day passion, tangible tradition, and striking creativity: trace how tattooing continues to evolve in the follow up to Forever.  

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Art on the body is painful to acquire, arduous to own, and intimate to produce, and as such may be the best refection we have of the soul of modern life.

Matt Lodder, Preface

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Forever More covers the best of the ever-changing contemporary tattoo underground. Bold tribal motifs and gritty stick and pokes bask in a resurgence alongside the fluidity of watercolours and the deviance of Art Brut. From traditional sessions in parlors to traveling artists, Forever More celebrates tattooing’s unsung heroes and contemporary celebrities.

Forever More tracks the scene’s inventiveness and originality as tattoos continue to emerge from subculture obscurity. Just as the needle infuses the skin with ink, the artists profiled infuse life into current tattoo culture. In a scene where artists travel the world, often organizing appointments exclusively via social media, tattooing can be a lifestyle and a way of life. Featuring Miriam Frank, Duncan X, David Schiesser, Grace Neutral, Fidjit, Isaiah Toothtaker, and many others, Forever More explores their unique stories and iconic work whilst creating a comprehensive narrative of this dynamic and enduring scene.

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Emily Malice & PETA

Our babe tattoo artist Emily has collaborated with PETA to create a ‘No Fur’ enamel pin, and we love it! 

Mixing a fierce fox design and her signature barbed wire, Emily is spreading the ‘no fur’ message. If you’re a cruelty-free fashion love you can now wear your heart on your collar with the fox and wire pin, modelled by Anaïs Gallagher.

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photographer, Chloe Sheppard

“Fur belongs on the animals who are born with it, and I’m proud to rock my fur-free status with this pin,” says Gallagher. “Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for animals – they need us to be their champions.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – notes that animals on fur farms are confined to cramped, filthy cages before they’re drowned, beaten, strangled, electrocuted, or even skinned alive for fur coats, collars, and cuffs. Animals caught in the wild in steel-jaw traps can languish for days – facing blood loss, dehydration, and attacks by predators – before being suffocated or bludgeoned to death.

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The pin is available to buy here. For more information, visit PETA.org.uk.

Give Away & Interview: Stuart Gardiner Design

We chat to Stuart and Sam, a husband and wife duo producing design-led, British made home-wares and founders of Stuart Gardiner Design. Check out our Instagram for details of our giveaway (you could win the oven gloves in this photo!)

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When did you set up your business? What did you do before? I set up on my own in 2008 leaving behind a job in the music industry designing album covers etc, which after a few years seemed to be a dying business. Going alone seemed like the only option for me, and after that and I had lots of ideas. Sam is a textile designer by trade and she worked at Laura Ashley HQ for 14 years, designing fabrics and wallpapers, but has always had a hand in the business. I used her colour skills from the beginning.

What inspired you to do so? How did it all come about? My degree course was in Graphic Information Design, so this was the info graphic direction was the format my first designs took.

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How long have you and Sam been together? How did you meet? Why did you decide to work together? Who is more creative?! We met at school about 25 years ago! We went off to different colleges/universities (me to Falmouth, Sam to Huddersfield). I got my first job in Bristol and Sam in London, so it was a few years before we lived in the same city again. By 2011 the business was growing, we’d had our first child and so after maternity leave Sam joined me in our studio in East London. We made the move out of London two years ago and Sam now works with me three days a week researching and developing new ideas, doing our social media and sales. I wouldn’t dare say who is more creative but it would have been handy if one of us was more business minded – we just have to wing that side of things!

What influences your designs? I grew up heavily into music and skateboarding, and still am, so the rich visual culture of both have had a massive influence on my design work. I’m very drawn to typography and graphic images/illustration in general which I think comes across in my work.

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You create a host of tattoo inspired products, do you have tattoos? What draws you to tattoo artwork? We don’t have any ourselves – as a designer I could never commit to having a permanent image etched onto myself – I change my mind too much. I also remember desperately wanting a Celtic band tattooed on my bicep when I was about 18. If I’d had it done, I would never get my arm out now! Saying that, I am very drawn to the graphic styles of tattoos, and I really love the work of tattoo artists like Mike Giant. Someone has had one of our designs tattooed on their leg though (see below)!

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What types of things do you sell? Do you design the illustrations? How are pieces created, what is the process? I never intended the business to be so focused on tea towels and oven gloves, that’s just how it’s happened! My first design ‘A Seasonal Guide to British Fruit and Vegetables’ was originally going to be a print to frame and hang on the wall. But I then thought a tea towel would be handier and always in the kitchen.  The design side is just down to me at the moment. We generally pick a food or drink related subject, research the hell out of it, and then begin an appropriate design solution. It can often take a long time as we try to be as thorough as possible, and we often don’t know much about the subject matter.

Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your products? We do occasionally work on commission and have done projects for Liberty London, the V&A, Selfridges, Friends or the Earth and Lurpak. We have just finished a commission for a new shop called Naiise, a print all about gin. Our products are sold all over the country from gift shops to delis and vineyards, but you can buy the whole range from our website and we ship all over the world.

Head to our Instagram to find out how you can enter our give away to win a whole host of tattooed oven mitts and gloves!

The Tattoo Flash Colouring Book and Interview with MEGAMUNDEN

The Tattoo Flash Colouring Book created by MEGAMUNDEN, and published by Laurence King, is filled with a vibrant and varied collection of tattoo flash for you to colour in. Inspired by  traditional style flash sheets and tattoo imagery, it’s a celebration of the tattoo world and its history. It’s perfect for tattoo lovers who love to unwind by exploring their creativity. 

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We chat to 35-year-old Brighton-based illustrator and creator of The Tattoo Flash Colouring Book Oliver Munden, AKA MEGAMUNDEN, to find out more about his book and what originally drew him to tattoo art…

Do you have a background in art? I followed the fairly typical route of doing art and design at school, then a foundation course at college, and a graphic design course at university. This gave me a really broad understanding of design and my first job was at a graphic design studio. It was here I realised I wanted to follow a career that focused on illustration. I’d drawn all the time from a very young age, so it made sense that I came back around to focusing on that.

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What kinds of things do you create? As a lead designer at Ilovedust, I create anything from tequila bottle labels to graphics for restaurant interiors, book covers to huge murals and everything in between! As MEGAMUNDEN, I focus generally on tattoo inspired artwork but that changes from project to project. I get bored doing one style all the time, although I do always come back to a tattoo-inspired aesthetic.

I’ve created two colouring books with Laurence King Publishing, both with a tattoo theme. I’m currently working on a deck of Tarot cards with them too, these have a tattoo theme and we have other projects under discussion, so watch this space.

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What inspires you and what inspired the book?  I took a trip to the States before making the second book and I collected tons of photographs and various other trinkets to inspire me.

The first book was a 50/50 split between Japanese and Western inspired tattoo style artwork. I wanted the second book to be more Western focused in its source of inspiration. I wanted it to be decorative yet bold and graphic. I wanted patterns to be woven into the visuals. I’m really into the old sailor style tattoos, and they’re a big trend right now. I looked at many recognisable tattoo icons, including vases, flowers, anchors, gypsy girls, ships, snakes, tigers, and tried to give them all my own spin.

What medium do you prefer to work in? I hand-drew most of my first book but at the moment I tend to work digitally using a Cintiq drawing tablet. It allows me to draw more complex things quickly, although the second book took even longer than the first despite having less pages! It’s just that much more complex in design and I like to think it’s a much more consistent and considered collection of tattoo flash. All there for people to colour if they wish!

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What drew you to the world of tattoos? The way designs impact you when you see them, like when you see a amazing tiger head tattoo and it stays with you. So many fields take influence from the world of tattoos, for example snowboard riders want their design to be easy to see when their board is flipping, so bold tattoo inspired visuals work nicely for that.

Skulls, snakes, spiders and flowers all resonate with me. My father has been keen on keeping reptiles and amphibians all his life, and that definitely rubbed off on me. I think all of that has a lot to do with the icons within tattooing it’s just so inspiring.

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Can you tell us about your tattoos ? I have a full Japanese sleeve on my left arm and my right arm is a collection of more sailor style pieces that I’ve got on my many travels and work trips. I’ve been to the USA a lot and had stuff done there, but I’ve also got a couple of pieces from Lisbon and Barcelona. Dan Frye does a lot of my tattoos when I’m at home in Brighton – he’s ace!

The Tattoo Flash Colouring Book created by MEGAMUNDEN and published by Laurence King is a must for tattoo lovers and available to buy here.

Crafters and the ink on their skin

Ahead of Sunday’s BUST Craftacular in London’s East End, our editor Alice Snape interviews three vendors about their creations, why they love crafting and the ink they wear on their skin. With over 70 independent designer-makers featuring at ‘London’s coolest craft fair’ (Time Out) we knew there had to be some awesome tattooed folk in there too.

Sarah Corbett, 32, Founding Director, Craftivist Collective, London based, works worldwide.

sarah“All of my tattoos help me on my journey to be the best version of myself. They are a mix of craft related tattoos, nature and music. I have scissors to remind me to help shape the future, thread to encourage me to thread my values through all that I do and jigsaw pieces to remind me to see where I can be part of a positive world and where it’s best to prioritise my time and energy. I also have Bjork ducks because she is such an inspiring innovator, quotes like ‘tough mind tender heart’ which is a Martin Luther King quote and reminds me to always be kind to people but always work as strategically as possible too and never get complacent. They might look fun to viewers but they all have big meanings for me and some of those meanings I keep secret.

“There are so many links between crafts and tattoos! Handicrafts are naturally a slow process and so is tattooing because you need to work carefully and often with courage. The physical results of both are permanent so people really take ownership of their tattoos or completed craft object because so much love and care has gone into them. They are both often very personal for the creators and intimate things to do.”

“I call myself a “craftivist”, which is someone who uses craft (mostly handicrafts) as a tool to deliver activism. Protesting against systems and structures of injustice using objects to help do in different ways from encouraging us to be the change we wish to see in the world, giving gifts to power holders to become critical friends rather than aggressive enemies and work together to leave small pieces of provocative street art to provoke passersby on particular injustice issues.

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“I started creating my own craftivism projects with my ‘gentle protest’ approach in 2008. Within a few months people asked to join me in my projects and the Collective was born as a small group of people in the British Library cafe meeting up monthly in London. Now groups and individuals around the world take part in our projects and use our DIY kits and tools. I will be at BUST Craftacular with some of our lovely craftivists from the collective in our ‘Craftivism corner’ where you can join us anytime 11am-5pm to rest and take part in some slow, gentle, positive activism alone or with friends. Every single one of us has gifts and talents we can use to be the change we wish to see in the world and our activity area hopes to help remind us of that. We will also have our own stall with other craftivism projects and tools people can buy and be inspired and empowered by.”

Check out how you can become a Craftivist at their BUST Craftacular workshops here craftivist-collective.com

Lucian, 29, Cambridge, artist, Vapvla leatherworker and Real Wizard

lucian-profile“All my tattoos are artwork that I’ve drawn up myself specifically for my body and its shape. I endeavour to portray, through my tattoos, inner workings of my mind, creative process and spirituality that would otherwise be invisible. These days, I am sufficiently covered that I think I could explain my religion just by rotating, naked and silent, before an audience – but I’m not finished yet! I had my first tattoo – my favourite David Bowie lyric – when I was 22. I wanted it to encompass as much of my hidden self as possible just in case I hated the process and wouldn’t want another. It turned out to be completely fine. People have said that I must be addicted – but when I receive a tattoo, the whole process – from idea genesis, to body painting, to drawing up, to needle, to clingfilm, to healing – leaves me with such an immediate positive effect upon my self esteem that I see no real reason to stop!

“I will be at BUST Craftacular with my exciting “new” endeavour – my leather company VAPVLA, which I founded last year. I love harnesses and leather, but always found the world of harnessry disappointing in that it assumes that, if you want to wear a harness, you must be either a cis woman who wants to appear vulnerable or a cis man who wants to appear powerful. Drawing lines across the body with a hard, restrictive (but supple) material like leather (or our vegan-friendly heavy vinyl) is inherently a neutral action. Bodies are wildly variable, much like gender and power presentation. I didn’t want to be prescriptive. I like to think our harnesses will do anything, or nothing, for anyone. The name, VAPVLA, is a stylisation of the name of a Goetic demon that I came across in 2014 when I produced an illustrated edition of the Ars Goetia – a demonology grimoire from the 17th century.

“My future plans are to render my body both more explanatory of my inner self and more baffling through tattooing and surgery, and to be number one in What Wizard! magazine, should such a thing exist.”

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VAPVLA is available at etsy.com/shop/vapvla, and Lucian’s artwork is available through misterlucian.bigcartel.com and you can buy in person at BUST Craftacular of course too!

Ella Masters, 28, Freelance illustrator

ella-masters-portrait-ink“My first tattoo was of a swallow and stars with music notes on my left wrist, I’ve also got a siren’s head on my thigh that I got at Brighton Tattoo Convention on a whim a few years ago. I have a large skull and kewpie on the back of my right arm done by Hugh Sheldon – I love his work. I recently got two that mean the world to me. I had a sentence tattooed near my heart on my side, it’s for my mum, we lost her suddenly and it’s been devastating, but we had a strong bond. I have “always be by your side” and, just last week, I got the Joy Division lyrics “love will tear us apart” in a heart. It’s by Luke Jinks, he took my illustration and did his own twist on it, which I’m in love with. I have eight hand poked tattoos on my ankles, which I did myself, and seven others dotted around my body, they all mean a little something, a moment I want to remember. I feel more me the more tattoos I get.

“I find inspiration in most places, and I love nature. I trained as a fine artist so I carry my sketchbook wherever I go. I will be doing live portraits of customers at BUST Craftacular! And I can’t wait to draw you all, so come see me!

“As far as the future goes, I’m hoping to just keep creating art, I’m currently writing and illustrating my own book about life, dating, tattoos and loss – a real mix of things. I’m working with some great companies at the moment illustrating for them and just creating great commissions for people. My blog is doing really well and collaborating with some big brands has given me a real boost, so hopefully just going with whatever feels right.”

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Visit ellamasters.co.uk and for a chance to be drawn by Ella, tattoos and all, visit her stall on Sunday at BUST Craftacular

43T Clothing

The love child of a culture crazed couple, London based fashion brand 43T Clothing was created by Oli and Steph who pride themselves on their quirky and unconventional hand-printed apparel. We chatted to the pair to find out more about their eco-friendly fashion line, cool product illustrations and what inspired their collections

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What inspired you to set up the brand? The main reason we wanted to start our brand is because we both love fashion and always have growing up! We also like to think of ourselves as green people so we thought why not try and combine two of our passions?
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What inspires your designs? They tend to come from things that we love or just ideas that sprout out of our head. The characters are all based on friends of ours and now they feel immortalised by the sketches.

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We love your interesting sketch style product shots, what motivated you to create these? Right at the start we decided to combine our love of tattoos and art, that’s what inspired us to draw the doodles of our ’43T Characters’. We’ve chosen to use them instead of conventional models, as we both feel this aesthetically looks great and stands us out fro  the crowd! We will eventually plan to use real human models but for the moment we like what the ’43T Characters’ give us and how we can keep adding more to the site.

What are your plans for the future, any new products in the pipeline? We have lots of new products coming out over the next three months and we have already started our new range. We feel it’s important to give people more variety so every Friday we release a new item onto the website and have done this for the past four weeks. This is going to be continued right up until Christmas so there is plenty to get excited about if you’re a 43T Customer! Finally our aim moving forward is to grow and grow, but not in terms of owning a million shops but grow our idea that eco and fashion can mix! Also that we should all support small businesses, creativity, individuality, music and the arts.

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Why is being eco-friendly so important to you? Well being eco-friendly is important to us for a few reasons, the obvious being is we kinda frickin love this planet! Also we don’t see that many ecological brands out there so we wanted to show that it can still be fashionable to wear eco-friendly garments. Another big  reason we wanted to go eco was because we feel there is no reason, in this day and age, that everyone shouldn’t produce eco or fair-trade clothing. Everyone that has tried on one of our famous Bamboo T-shirts can’t believe how super soft they are and what amazing quality they are!

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Check out the website at 43tclothing.com

Shaded: Rich Wells

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 22-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people that wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Rich Wells is a 29-year-old tattoo artist, clothing designer and co-owner of Dock Street Tattoos, who is currently living and working in Leeds. As part of Things & Ink’s ongoing interview series ‘Shaded’, the documentary enthusiast sheds light on his love of C-list celebrities, his relationship with simplicity and how he sees his Louis Theroux inspired clothing range, Jiggle Apparel, evolving.

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What is Jiggle ApparelJiggle Apparel is a Louis Theroux influenced clothing range that’s mainly centred around his infamous rap episode. I design the t-shirts and my friend John, who runs the operation with me, screen prints them and looks after all the online stuff. It’s a Louis Theroux obsession that’s gone a bit too far.

Can you speak about your relationship with Louis Theroux? I’m an old-school Louis Theroux fan. His ‘Weird Weekends’ series is definitely my favourite thing that he’s done. I’ve watched them hundreds of times and they never get old! It’s the only reason I have Netflix.

What influenced you to design and print the first t-shirt that eventually led Jiggle Jiggle Apparel to come together? The first Jiggle Apparel design was originally drawn up as a tattoo design for a flash sheet. I hadn’t thought about putting it on a t-shirt until I uploaded the design to my Instagram account. It got way more attention than I thought it would, so for a bit if fun I decided to print it. People were really into it and Jiggle Apparel was born!

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What do you do when you’re not thinking about Louis Theroux? A good 80% percent of my day is spent thinking about Louis. You know, working out how I could meet him, or maybe just brush past him at a UFO convention or a swingers party. The other 20% I spend tattooing at Dock Street Tattoos Leeds. I co-own the place.

What inspires you artistically? I’m really into documentaries and I draw a lot of inspiration from the strange side of human nature: cults, conspiracies – all that type of stuff. I also like to design things around words, like, quotes or songs. I find it’s a really good foundation for a solid idea.

What do you admire in other people’s work? Simplicity is one of the things I admire in other people’s work. I can appreciate tattoos with incredible detail, but I personally get more out of simplistic, bold, powerful designs. The ability to create something effective using only simple techniques really appeals to me.

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Can you tell me about your own tattoos? I have a photo-realistic black and grey portrait of Ross Kemp on the back of my calf. I got it done as a bit of a joke really. Rather than getting an A-list celebrity tattooed on body, I thought I’d go a little more C list with Kemp, as I was watching a lot of ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’ at the time. I ended up going to one of his book signings that he held at ASDA a few months after having it done. I told him I had a little something to show him, pulled down my jeans and presented him with the portrait. He was totally freaked out by it. I think he thought I was going to stick a potato sack over his head and stick him in the boot of my Corsa. I haven’t seen him since.

What attracted you to tattoos in the first place? No one in my family really has any. The influence came from seeing the bands I was into at the time with them. I thought they were really cool! My first tattoo was done in a street shop that was next to my old school. I got the tiny sunflower that’s on that girl’s t-shirt on the cover of Green Day’s album Kerplunk. It’s really small, but I thought it was the best thing ever at the time.

Most tattoo artists have no space left on their body for additional work, but do you have any plans for more tattoos in the future? Yeah, I still have some space to get some more work. I’m not totally covered yet. I’d like to get some more single-hit traditional pieces. I guess a Louis Theroux tattoo is on the cards as well.

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Since you have now found yourself bridging clothing and tattoo art with Jiggle Apparel, can you speak about the relationship between the world of fashion and the world of body modification? I really like the crossover! The high end world of fashion collaborates with tattoo artists all the time. I think company’s like RSI Apparel who commission tattoo artists and illustrators to work on designs for them offer artists a whole new platform for their work to be seen which is really great. However, I could definitely live without Ed Hardy’s diamond studded jeans…

How do you see Jiggle Jiggle Apparel evolving? We’re looking at getting some more merchandise; hats, hoodies, patches. Maybe our own brand of red, red wine would be nice! The ultimate goal though would be for Louis to actually see what we do, stick one of our t-shirts on and possibly take us out to dinner. If he could be there when we open our first store that would also be pretty great.

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions – The Complete Guide

You’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money on your new tattoo and you want to make sure it looks as good as it does now for a long time, right? Don’t forget that proper tattoo aftercare is crucial to the healing process and will ensure that your tattoo looks fresh for years to come. Follow these surefire steps from Monster Steel to properly take care of your tattoo, then sit back and enjoy your new art…

 

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Monster Steel – #tiarchive sponsors

For our recent exhibition, #tiarchive, we were kindly sponsored by the tattoo supplies and wholesale company, Monster Steel.  We caught up with company owner Gustavo Mitchell to discuss what it is like to own a tattoo supply company and how he ended up getting in the business when he is yet to go under the needle!

How did you get into the tattoo supply industry?

As much as I would like to sit here and type up an exciting story of how I rose to prominence in the tattoo industry as a supplier, the truth is that I fell into this industry by chance. I’ve always admired tattoos and their symbolic nature but I never imagined myself involved in any facet of the industry. My initial introduction into the business was in 2001 when I started as an e-retailer for body piercing jewellery. Over time, as business grew, I became a wholesaler and started to form business relationships with several tattoo / piercing shops.  It was a conversation with one of these shop owners that led me to the concept that is now Monster Steel.

What I found out was that as a shop owner it was an annoyance to have to purchase from two different sources when purchasing tattoo and piercing supplies.  At the time companies like Monster Steel did not exist and sellers would specialise in either market but never both. Another key element to the company’s growth was the fact that we were an online company. Nervousness and doubt are common when taking any risk but thanks to the support of family, friends and customers I was able to take the leap and form what is now Monster Steel.  I am involved in one of the most exciting industries I could think of and working alongside some of the most creative, dedicated and inspiring people I have ever met.

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Do you have any tattoos?

I get this question all the time and people are always surprised when they meet me because I don’t have a single one. As I’ve continued to grow in this industry I have met some incredibly talented and passionate artists. I’ve become so enamoured with tattoo designs and the artistry that social media has allowed me to admire the work of several artists around the world. I enjoy their art so much that I’ve always said that I would get one if I ever found a design that truly inspired me or embodied an important experience in my life. I simply never found that inspiration and envy all of the individuals that have and were able to take that next step.

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How do you see the future of the tattoo industry evolving?

We all know that the tattoo industry constantly changes and evolves. The cultural significance and meanings of tattoos have also changed over time.  I remember during my youth that tattoos were taboo but fast forward to today and they have become mainstream. From stay-at-home mums to business professionals, tattoos have become a norm and an experience shared by everyone. In that transition from sub culture to mainstream I have also witnessed changes in designs and techniques, but because this is an art form I know that the tattoo industry will never stop evolving. As a supplier I am happy to see that the industry is being pushed towards stricter health requirements. As a major supplier I am disheartened when I see that over 50% of needles on the market are marketed as sterile but in fact are not sterilised.  These types of poor business practices endanger customers as well as the industry’s reputation.

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What advice would you give someone who wanted to launch their own career in the tattoo supply business?

Go for it and don’t hesitate. This is an enormous market and an industry that is not going anywhere. It’s also an exciting market where you’ll have the chance to work alongside creative minds as well as meet with some amazing people. I will add this. You have to be ready to work as hard as possible.  It’s a large market but also a competitive one, so my biggest piece of business advice is to listen to the customer. If you’re loyal to them then they will be loyal to you.  Don’t ever ignore that aspect of the process regardless of how much the business grows.

organicsOrganic wood body jewellery available from Monster Steel.

What future plans do you have for Monster Steel?

Our number one objective as a business is to stay relevant to our customers by rolling out innovative products and ensuring that our supplies are always the safest and most reliable. I am excited about many of the upcoming projects we have planned as well as several new products that we have live on the site. We want to make sure that our customers trust us to provide not only the best supplies, but also the newest technology that allows them to grow as an artist.

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Do you own any other brands?

I own several other brands that I take a lot of pride in, such as our line of Ruthless needles and grips, our Mag Lock cartridge needles, Ringmaster Irons machines and other brands that our customers enjoy like Gorilla Grips, Black Buddha Ink, Monster Point and our newest creation – Strype Power.  As I mentioned before, customers are always looking for quality products and that their source keep up with trends, so that is what we’re here to do and will continue to do thanks to all of our loyal and supportive customers.

Monster Steel can be found at www.monstersteel.com or their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Monstersteel and Instagram: www.instagram.com/themonstersteel