Category: Art

Interview with Ruslan & Tonya

26-year-old Tonya and 29-year-old Ruslan are tattooers from Russia. The couple work together in their private studio Abusev Tattoo in Moscow. We speak to Tonya about their unique style of tattooing…


When we’re not tattooing at our studio we travel around Europe, soon we’ll be working in Barcelona, then Istanbul and Berlin.

We started our tattoo collaboration over five years ago in Russia. Since then our tattooing has transformed into what we call BIOGRAFIKA. It is not a style it is more like a way to see form and composition on human body. We both tattoo in black and color ink, although I mostly enjoy playing around with my colours and Ruslan likes to stick to black.

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We both work on the composition of a tattoo, creating its shapes and forms. Although I enjoy using colour  in my work, I do agree with Ruslan that black fits best on skin.

Inspiration is what makes our collaboration so special. We inspire each other to be better people, better artists, better tattooers! Working together is not always easy, it takes a lot of patience, and a great will to create something truly unique! We always try to bring something new into every tattoo project.

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It is pretty hard to describe how we met and how we started tattooing together, but each of our lives had wild twists before fate brought us together. Ruslan was working as a professional tattooer when I found him, he did a cover-up for me, and it all went from there – it’s our crazy story!


One which you would love to see in a movie. I truly love the place we have reached so far, it’s a happy life of two tattooers that never let eachother get bored. Tattoos brought passion into my life. And from what I see, every tattoo we create brings a new life chapter to the person wearing it.


Interview with Lucy O’Connell

Lucy O’Connell creates stunning tattoos filled with colour and personality at Red Tattoo and Piercing in Leeds, UK. We chat to  Lucy about her evolving style and inspirations…


What made you want to become a tattoo artist? I started drawing tattoo designs for friends who were older than me when I was around 14. And through doing doodles for them, which I now realise is the most irritating thing to receive as a tattooer, because I knew nothing about the fundamentals of tattoo design, I realised I could do this for a living when I started to do more research. Fortunately tattoos were more accessible in terms of media. I would buy all the magazines available from my area and then go and look up the artists.

What do you love most about your job? I love so many aspects of my job. I love developing my practice, the ability to share ideas and discuss with people I admire, working on a moving canvas is forever a challenge. I just feel like I’m learning all the time, but I also like talking to new people about their experiences in life. And currently I’m really trying to give myself a shove to develop myself more, I give myself a hard time a lot.


What inspires your work and drawings? Everything. Recently I’m trying to look more into myths and old stories to inspire me, but I’ll probably sit on them for a while as they’re such epic tales I need a while to ponder it before I know how to combat it. Nature has a lot to play. Whatever I’m watching can have an impact, or just my mood in general. I find if I’m struggling I’ll watch Attenborough or go to a gallery. Just kind of soak something new in.

What would you love to tattoo? Like I said before I’d like to sink my teeth into some myths and legends. Maybe some religious stuff too from all faiths. Norse gods are really interesting. I think subject matter that’s way bigger than me so I can try break out of my comfort zone. And always birds.


Do you have any designs that you really want to do? I’ve got loads of designs I wanna tattoo, I keep a majority in a little book and take them everywhere with me, and the big ones don’t often get a home so they end up getting painted. I’m struggling more than ever to get rid of stuff I draw, which I can’t decide if that’s me, social media or brexit. I’ll keep trying.

How would you describe your style? It’s a clash of a lot of things. I can’t quite put a definition on it, I’m usually categorised as neo-traditional but I wouldn’t put myself there. I think neo-traditional lines have been blurred. I kind of think I’m a pop culture, neo-trad, art nouveau clash.


Is it fair to say that it has been evolving lately? I hope so, I’m trying to evolve all the time but I’m very aware of it, currently. Since the first convention of the year I’ve had a fire lit under me that makes me want to push myself somewhere that’s not so comfortable. But I hope everyone likes it or can see I’m trying.

What kind of direction would you like to take your work in? I’d like to go into a more layered version of my work. And making everything more animated. I’m also trying to take in light sources. We’ll see what happens.


Do you have any conventions or guest spots planned? I do! No mor plans other than these:

Newcastle – Big North Tattoo ConventionApril 28th & 29th

Essex – Jayne DoeJune 14thth, 15th & 16th

Leeds Tattoo ExpoJuly 7th & 8th

Berlin – Sticks and StonesAugust 9th, 10th & 11th

Lionel Fahy Tattoos

Tattoo artist Lionel Fahy is co-founder of the Parisian shop Les Derniers Trappeurs (LDT). A graduate of the Orleans Institute of Visual Arts in France, he has been creating illustrative drawings and tattoos for twenty years.


My style is DREAMLIKE. Full of dreams, hope, wishes, secrets, double readings, and protective symbols. It does not meet any of the standards of classic tattooing, it is minimalist and stylised.

I love the work I create. I am lucky compared to many other artists. My customers come from the four corners of the world to get tattooed by me. To get something in my style and I am so grateful.

My biggest influences are my customers, my kids, my partner in life Tal and some books, and museums. I am inspired by my work as a duo artist with Tal. You can see our work on our blog.


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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.”

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.

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.

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 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.

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.


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.  


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


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.



#Plantlife featuring Celebrity Hair Stylist Sapna Bhavnani




She grows out of the forest of love
Yearning for something more
In this world full of desire and pain
She doesn’t seek acceptance
She just wants to be free.
She is Sapna…





Styling: Gary Robert Walling
Hair & Make UpKiran Rao Medhora
Model: Celebrity Hair Stylist Sapna Bhavnani
Photo Assistants: Vijay and Parmesh
Featuring pieces from Deme by Gabriella and Source

Interview With Hannah Westcott

We chat to tattoo artist Hannah Westcott, who works at Hales Street Studios in Coventry, UK about her neo-traditional style, her very first tattoo and plans for 2018…

How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing professionally now for almost eight years. I started a couple of years prior to this just from home originally; practicing on myself and friends, before obtaining  a job as a junior artist/apprentice in Melton Mowbray. I’ve since been based in Leicester, Coventry and until recently, Redditch, Birmingham. I’m now back in Coventry!


What drew you to the world of tattoos? I remember first becoming drawn to tattoos when I started to learn about the alt scene; the alt music scene was a big part of it, seeing musicians I loved with cool tattoos. I remember designing tribal tattoos for myself when I was a kid in school, I’m a kid of the 90s and I’d only really seen tribal work at that time! I’ve drawn ever since I was a kid and would copy stuff that I was drawn to.

When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? I got my first tattoo when I was 18. It was a classic rose on my should blade and it was a little sketch I made in biro, based on a rose I’d seen whilst researching online. I’ve since had that tattoo reworked/covered up as it began to look older than me!



How would you describe your style? I guess I would describe my tattooing style as neo-traditional. I mostly enjoy neo-traditional work, along with Japanese and anything in colour. Although I do enjoy Black & Grey work too and have a few large scale dot work pieces on the go. I’d say I’m pretty varied in the types of work i do. My favourite things to tattoo are animals, birds in particular and anything based on nature. I draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world. I also really enjoy ornate work and colour will always be my favourite type of work to do. I also specialise in cover ups.


Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? I currently don’t have any conventions confirmed for next year yet but I will be looking to travel around and do some guest spots around the country at my friend’s studios. I find it’s a lot nicer getting to hang out in their lovely studios than the stress of dealing with setting up at conventions and the hustle and bustle of it all. I need to pull my finger out and get in touch with everyone to make arrangements! I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

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!)


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.


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.


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!

Natural History Museu​m ​of Los Angeles: ​Tattoo An Exhibition

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This November, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles showcases an exhibition 5,000 years in the making. The art of marking skin with ink spans cultures, continents, and has evolved over time. We find ourselves with a mysterious fascination with both ancient and modern tattoo practices. Are they considered a part of sacred ritual or an act of rebellion? A sign of belonging or expression of individuality? In the special exhibit Tattoo, you’ll explore the history, technique, motivation, and sheer artistic genius that are connected to one another by ink.

19th November – 15th April 2018

The Natural History Museum, LA

Buy tickets here 

The exhibit will feature more than 125 images and objects, ranging from historical artefacts to intricate contemporary designs tattooed onto silicone models of the human body. Each tells the story of this unique and diverse art. The Museum will enhance the West Coast incarnation of Tattoo with objects from the Museum’s expansive collection, as well as features specific to the rich tattoo cultures of Southern California, from Ventura to Los Angeles to Long Beach and Orange County.

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