Category: Art

Tattoo Me: Illma Gore

Illma Gore’s Tattoo Me project invites people to submit words that she will get tattooed onto her body.


Artist Illma Gore is raising money to launch her first art exhibition with a crowd-funding page, but this is no ordinary art show.

Illma is the canvas…

You can pay to have your name – or a few words of your choosing – tattooed onto Illma’s body. She will have anything tattooed on her as long as it isn’t hateful or discriminative. Her original goal was to raise 6K, but as it stands she has raised over $11,000 and she estimates that she will have room for 1700 names.


On her crowd-funding page she explains the inspiration behind her idea:

I want to be a singular tattoo for my latest art exhibition, and I want it to be your names. This is going to be an art exhibition in LA featuring my body and your names as well as painting and videography – by donating you are helping me pay the costs of putting on an exhibtion not for the tattoos. I think the tattoo on my forehead says it best ‘Life is art’. There is something absurd & beautiful about having an accumulation of absolute strangers names draped over my pale goth skin, even if half of them are ‘Penis Butt’. Why? you might ask, simply because I can, I know what I’m about son, and I am my own ultimate canvas. Like my art exhibitions and murals this is a social and artistic experiment! Each person’s name to me represents YOU the main protagonist in your own story. I will be covered in a hundred tiny stories and an exhibtion will be held featuring you and my body as the canvas.

Giving myself to the whim of the world and for my art.

Photographs: PR, Guardian, GoFundMe

Illma Gore Before

Illma Gore after


Freelance illustrator and project manager Ruth Bridges, 30 from West Yorkshire is the creator of fashion illustration blog x+y=. She has exclusively drawn three unique illustrations for Things&Ink influenced by tattoos and fashion. 

Ruth was an artistic child!


What inspires your illustrations? I love slightly off-beat street fashion. Style has always been much more influential to me than trend. I find drawing people with striking faces really satisfying, especially edgy women. I’m not into overtly pretty things, much preferring a grungy feel – minimalism with a twist.  I do also have a soft-spot for slightly bonkers high end fashion – I’m a fan of Pam Hogg, Louise Gray and KTZ.

What medium do you use? Nearly always pencil, with paint, colour and photography occasionally collaged in digitally.

Do you have a background in art? Yes – I studied Fashion at BTEC level, then went on to complete an Art Foundation and, after taking a gap year to travel, a Degree in Fine Art for Design. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the visual arts but until now the time hasn’t been right. I’ve been freelance for about 3 months now, and so far it’s going well.

Where can people see and buy your work? I have a website - and I also occasionally contribute to Amelia’s Magazine and Guys and Girls Directory. Since going freelance, I’ve mainly been working on commissions so I don’t have prints on sale at the minute but I’m looking for opportunities to exhibit. I’m currently working on a collection of drawings that complement each other that I can sell as limited edition prints.

Have you been published? I’ve been featured in digital magazines for a while now but have just been included in a published collection of illustrations and articles, published by Amelia’s Magazine called ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’ – it’s out any day now.


We love kewpies

As you know, we are kewpie crazy here at Things&Ink… so here’s a little history about the kewpie, first published in The Love Issue of Things&Ink #3.

Words by Kelli Savill. 

Rose O'Neill 1907 Rose O’Neill 1907


Rose O’Neill first illustrated Kewpie dolls to be featured in the Ladies’ Home Journal, and they swiftly became extremely popular. Born in Germany, their name derived from the word “Cupid”, the Roman God of love.

Original kewpie


Shortly after Rose was 19, she moved to New York city alone with only sixty drawings. Within three months, she had sold them all. She was shocked by their popularity. She began illustrating children’s books and was highly successful, appearing in many popular publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping. She drew over 700 cartoons for the humour magazine, Puck, which was a predominantly male-centric title at the time.

Her career was unparalleled and she truly demonstrated the traits of a strong woman. During her success, she sent her earnings home to her father, who converted their two-bedroom cabin in Missouri into a 14-room mansion. Rose also bought homes in New York, Connecticut and the Italian Isle of Capri. In a time where women could not even vote, she was truly supporting her family and allowing them to live a life they were not previously accustomed to.

Kewpie by Lauren Winzer


Rose took inspiration for her work from many different areas of her life. Her Kewpie dolls came to her in a dream. Rose O’Neill had a dream of little cherub-like elves jumping on her bed, one night in 1909. When she woke, she hurried to her drawing desk and sketched the first Kewpie. From there, her love of the small creature never faltered.

Kewpies took their doll form in 1913, manufactured in Germany, designed byJoseph Dallas. They were five inches tall, with jointed arms, painted eyes and a distinctive moulded face. They became highly collectable, and in 1939 a Kewpie doll was entered into a time capsule in New York’s World Fair. Early dolls now raise thousands of dollars, and are highly collectable by men and women of all ages. But they were not only captured in celluloid and plastic, Kewpies were immortalised in colouring books, stationery, cups, plates and poems. More recently, they have been commonly eternalised in tattoos. Many artists now tattoo the dolls in different outfits and styles, but always keeping to the distinct Kewpie characteristics Rose O’Neill designed.

Kewpies were popular in tattoo flash around the time of their conception, but faded out by the 1950s, being seen as old-fashioned. Today, they are almost as famous in tattoo flash as other bold traditional designs, such as the pin-up girl. Many artists are known for their amazing renditions of these cherub-like children, including Kim-Anh Nguyen, Lauren Winzer, Jemma Jones and the late tattoo legend Mike Malone whose work is notoriously not online or republished. ❦

Kewpie by Lauren Winzer

“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


Tattooed Christmas Gift Guide

Here’s our gift guide for the loved-ones in your life who are as obsessed with tattoos as we are!

The perfect tee for everyone, show your love for Things&Ink wherever you go!
Mister Paterson Unisex T shirt £15

What more could you want than pugs? Tattooed pugs, doh!
Pug Love Cushion Cover £14

Pug Love Cushion Cover

The new ‘it’ bag!
Mister Paterson Canvas Tote Bag £10

For the bearded men in your life, this luxurious oil will tame any unruly mane. Use discount code: THINGS&INK to get the Ultimate Gift Set (rrp £60) for £56.50 
Bear Face Beard Oil 


Channel your inner rock god with this stunning statement ring!
Freedom Ring Set with Onyx by The Wildness Jewellery

We couldn’t pick just one piece of art from Atomica Gallery, get yourself to their gallery in London to view even more beautiful art…
Exclusive to Atomica Gallery “The Chair 2″ £130

Image of "The Chair 2" FRAMED

Looking for a bit of inspiration, then this is the book for you, get your pencils at the ready!
The Tattoo Colouring Book $15

The perfect gift, need we say more?
Bundle of all 3 Covers, Issue 9, Stripped Back, Things&Ink magazine £16


Accessorise everything with tattoo inspired things, including this handmade cosy.
Tattoo Style Knitted Tea Cosy £55

Swallow Tea Cosy


What’s on your Christmas list?

Death Under Glass

Have you ever wondered what your tattoo looks like magnified? Have you found it hard to visualise where it sits in the layers of skin?

The Death Under Glass exhibition at The Mutter Musuem, Philadelphia, USA  is a collection of microscopic art has been created and curated by medical examiner Marianne Hamel, MD, PhD and forensic photographer Nikki Johnson. The photographs of magnified human tissue, have been taken post-mortem and are on show until the 16th December.

Red tattoo pigment 400x:

Mobile tattoo parlour collects 200 pictures and stories

A mobile tattoo parlour has been touring Bristol, encouraging the public to document their tattoos with photographs and share their stories. The project “I Will Always Have You” will be featured in the city’s art and culture show and started in Knowle West in June 2014.

Arts producer Melissa Mean curated the exhibition in order to gather memories and stories behind tattoos to add to growing digital archives.

By exploring the power of personal narratives and the construction of character through body art, we hope to better understand the growing popularity of tattoos across the UK and the richness of Knowle West’s tattoo culture.

The exhibition will be on show at Knowle West Media Centre until Christmas. People can add their tattoos to the online archive.

Image and Melissa quoted from

The Art of Dan Baldwin

British artist Dan Baldwin works in ceramics and paints to create vivid abstract pieces that reflect reality, the power of imagination, as well as his inner self. His works change dramatically depending on the themes he is exploring and the emotions he is channelling.

His new exhibition End of Innocence will be hosted in New York City in association with PMM Art Projects and CCA Galleries starting 22nd October until 2nd November.



Liane Plant Illustration

Liane Plant is a 22 year-old illustrator based in London. Liane is also founder of Valkyrie Skates a company that creates more than just skateboard decks but works of art. We chatted with Liane to find out more about her style of illustration. 

Tell us more about your background, did you go to Art College? I went to art college for three years straight out of high school as I knew I wanted to have some involvement in the arts (despite not knowing what that was). The school had a super loose system so I spent three years experimenting, seeing art and reading comics. The artwork of Robert Crumb  and Gary Erskine were a big influence on my work at the early stages. I would draw everyday, experimenting with techniques and materials, but I always preferred working in black and white. This is still the case today.
After college I went on to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins and I moved down to London. I learnt how to screen print and in my final year I helped out at Lovenskate, and I interned at Puck studio, where I was picking up lots of different techniques.  I did a lot of screen printing at Uni and during my internships, I loved the imperfection and tangibility that you don’t find in a digital piece.

What inspires you? I am inspired by artists that make bold graphic images, these include German Expressionists, early 80s skateboard art especially Pushead and Jim Phillips, circus signs, mythology, curiosities and gore from Sci-Fi and horror movies.

What medium do you use to create the work? All my work is hand drawn, scanned then coloured in Photoshop It is then reproduced through screen printing, so I am always working in layers.

Where can people see and buy your work? I’m excited to be involved in the next New Rule collective Horror Show, this Halloween, an illustrated tribute to Classic and B-Movie Horror Cinema.
The show is running October 31st – November 5th at 5th Base Gallery, 23 Heneage street, E1 7LJ.  Come down for some creeping!

I also recently designed a print for the Paradise series ‘Sweet Babylon’ exclusively for Skull and Heart. It is available to buy online, and there are many works from incredible artists including Dan Mumford, Mr Gauky, Ian Mcarthur and Tom J Newell so it’s worth checking out!

In addition to  Valkyrie Skates has an online shop with a range of apparel  and skateboards.

Do you do commissions? The most recent project I have been working on is a Valkyrieskates x 3rd rail collaboration of a Norse beer themed skateboard for the 3rd rail Beer Visions show.

Be sure to check out Liane’s Instagram, Twitter for more awesome illustrations.

Damien Frost Photography

Damien Frost is a 38 year-old graphic designer who works and lives in London. His Instagram showcases a collection of people he has photographed while walking the streets of London. He predominately chooses to photograph people he thinks stand out from the crowd. We chatted to him about his – yet to be named – project, and who knows you may be one of his subjects in the future…

Does the street project have a name? It doesn’t really have a name, I just call it “a portrait a day”, which is insanely boring, but does the job – for now.  At the end of the year I would like to make a book of the daily portraits and I should probably think of a name for that.

Why did you begin to photograph people on the street? I’d always wanted to do a project like this but have always been a bit shy about approaching strangers. I’m a naturally reserved person so it can be difficult sometimes approaching people on the fly like I do, but often the more challenging it is, the more rewarding it is.

I started this “photo-a-day” project  before I went home to Australia at Christmas and the photos I was taking there were kind of a celebration of what I loved about Australia, but also using strangers as a subject. Coming back to London  you question why it is you’re actually leaving the beach-side warmth to come back to a cold  city and I figured it’s for the people – that’s what I love about this town.

On my way back from the airport on the train I was thinking this and there was this guy with a pink guitar, big vintage headphones and sceptre sitting nearby and  maybe I could turn this photo-a-day thing into a “portrait a day” project,  and I’ll start with this guy, but then he got off the train.  I thought what the hell and  hopped off after him and asked for his photo. I’ve kind of seen it as a celebration of what I love about London – all the interesting people living here.


Funnily enough the more followers I receive on Instagram the more I feel this sense of obligation to find a picture that will be of interest as well.


How do you decide who to approach? That’s an interesting question because I’m not sure myself. It’s generally when someone “stands out” from the crowd for me visually. Of course, there are different levels of standing out from the crowd (and it depends on the crowd too) and it might be for something really subtle or for something completely flamboyant. Even though the project is not about fashion as such, I do like to find people that are inhabiting their style well (whatever that style might be). When I approach people I tell them that I’m taking photos of the more “visually interesting, colourful or stylish” people that I see around town and very loosely that is what I’m looking for.

I feel a deep sense of gratitude to everyone  let me take their portrait – there’s a level of trust that I’ll use the image in a sympathetic way (and that I’m not taking the piss) and I’m humbled that they grant that.

Lately I’ve been trying to think more about the background and having that remain as minimal as possible. I like to get the person as isolated as possible which can be hard and try to create a sense of stillness or “quietness” out of the busy city streets. One thing I like about the photos is that you don’t really get a sense of the fact that I’m often being bumped as people are passing behind me and the person is maintaining an expression as if there’s no one else around and that the whole street isn’t watching them and making funny little comments which is often the reality of it.

How do people react? Have these photos led to more photo shoots or
projects? I sometimes forget that it’s a little strange to suddenly accost strangers and ask for a photo but generally people are very positive about the whole thing. There’s the occasional person who’s kind of rude and it can sometimes make me feel like a bit of a jerk for asking, but mostly people are absolutely lovely about it. It’s hard not to let it get you down if you get a few refusals in a row but I do really respect someone’s right to refuse a photograph.

I once had someone tell me afterwards that for them, letting me take their photo was such a big deal since they suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. The night I approached them was the first night they’d been out  for weeks, then to be approached by someone asking for a photograph was quite significant and to say yes to that was difficult. When I sent through the photograph (I always offer to send the original high resolution image to the person) they were really pleased with it and felt it helped them in some way.
I’ve done one follow-on shoot from meeting someone randomly where we took some photos of an outfit in a studio with a view of making a print for people to buy down the track and there might be some more shoots in the pipeline but at the moment the street shots take up a lot of my free time so it’s difficult to fit other projects in.

Where can you be found? Can people approach you to appear on the
Instagram? Generally on  week nights I’m loitering around Soho,  I just hang about after work looking for the right shot, but on a weekend I’m usually around East London as that’s where I live. My general rule is that I can’t go back East until I have at least one photo, there are some nights where I think I might not find a photo. If I have a good photo I never really remember how difficult it was to get, I just think how wonderful it was to meet the person and for them to let me take it.So much of it is down to chance – walking down the right street at the right time, finding someone in the right mood or in the right location.

I’ve never really had anyone approach me to ask for a photo before (though weirdly I have had a couple of people ask me if I’m @harmonyhalo when I’ve asked them) and I’m not opposed to the idea, especially if they feel they would fit in with the general style of the subjects. Sometimes I like to imagine the collection as being almost anthropological but that sounds very cold and more objective than it is because I do feel a real affinity with the people I photograph even if I’m not necessarily part of their “scene” as such.

See more incredible portraits @harmonyhalo