31-year-old Chloe Candela, is a tattoo apprentice at Black Market Tattoos Leicester. We love Chloe’s recognisable watercolour style and beautiful ladies, so much so that our editor Rosalie had to get one of her own!
How long have you been an apprentice? I started officially as an apprentice in January 2017, but have been working at the studio on alongside my other job for three years.
You work with your husband, Alex, did he teach you? Yes he did! He encouraged me to get into tattooing, as it was a passion we shared when we met. He’s been really great and pushed me a lot in a good way. Everyone else at the studio has been so supportive, I learn a lot of from everyone.
Your styles are very different, yours reflects your watercolour paintings while Alex creates more traditional pieces. Was there a reason why you didn’t choose to do more traditional work? How did you find your own technique? I think it will take a long time to truly find my way of working as it does for everyone. I really love traditional work and what Alex does, and I’d definitely love to give it a try. But I think one of the reasons Alex encouraged me into tattooing was that I could hopefully bring my own style to it. I’ve been painting and selling work since I was in my teens, so it’s more instinctive for me to go for that style. I’ve been putting my work out there for a while, online, at fairs and art shows. I’m really lucky that now people who’ve supported my artwork in the past are coming to get tattooed and asking for my style, which is amazing. I’ve also been lucky to learn from Del (co owner at Black Market) who does realism, and I think the kind of tattoos I’d like to make sit in the middle of the two.
With your lady heads you blood line the stencil first, why is this? What effect does it create? For the first few tattoos I did, the style was solid colour, no outline, so I tried bloodlining to act as the line work for when the stencil disappears and to make sure the carbon doesn’t contaminate the edge. I’ve carried on doing it as a bit of a safety net for the stencil, and also because it kind of helps me get my head around the tattoo, the area and the clients skin before I start putting colour in. In terms of the effect I think it definitely helps with soft, watercoluryness, because there’s no bold edge.
What inspires your work and are there any artists that you admire? Also do you still have time for your paintings? At the moment I’m quite focussed on tattooing, but I will never abandon painting! I love portraiture and historical painting, and also movies and comics have always been a big influence for me. I love old shit, anything from the 30s through to the 70s. Claudia de Sabe was the first tattooist/painter I discovered who blew me away and has definitely been a major inspiration. My other faves at the moment are Miss Orange, Hannah Flowers, I always look out for them on my feed. Painting wise I adore James Jean, mind blowing painter.
What would you love to tattoo? And what styles would you like to try out? I’d love to tattoo anything! I’m just into trying anything right now. It would be really cool to try something more straight up traditional, and also to try completely translating one of my paintings into a tattoo.