Our pick of bird tattoos

We’re desperately hoping that spring is soon on its way and with sunshine comes birds…

Heres our pick of some bird tattoos we’ve seen flying around Instagram, see what we did there? Anyway here they are and don’t forget to share yours with us!

@pacocasero

@pengitattoo

@hannahpixiesnow

@cubatattoo

@criscleen

 

@marcustattoos

@pari_corbitt

@valeriemodernclassic

@kate_selkie

 @nomi_chi

@tattoo_drew

Tattoo Inspired Furniture Upcycling

Here at Things&Ink we love all things tattoos! On discovering Taylor Made, a small business located in Fife, Scotland, which specialise in upcycled furniture inspired by all things tattoo, we had to talk to owner and creator Grace Taylor. 

How did you first start upcycling furniture? When my partner and I moved into our first proper home together we had to start from scratch. A lot of our second-hand furniture wasn’t completely to our taste, or was looking a bit sad and unloved, so I decided to try and transform it and give it a bit more life to suit our new living space. I started doing more pieces when I had to take some time off work for health reasons, and found that it was a great way to pass the time!


Have you got your own business? I never intended on this being a business and so far it has just been a hobby. However, I have had such a wonderful response from my facebook page that I am now currently in the process of turning this hobby that I love into something more. I have had lots of exciting opportunities arise from this so far and one day I hope to have my own quirky wee shop.

How did you learn how to do it? I am completely self taught, I started from scratch and hadn’t a clue about paints, techniques, decoupage, or different products you can use. I have spent countless hours and a small fortune trying to discover what is out there and what I like to use best. It’s been a fantastic learning experience, but also rather frustrating at times. I guess you have to start somewhere, so I started from the bottom. I am still learning – with every new piece I learn something more so it never gets boring.

Where do you find the materials? All over the place! I get my furniture from a range of different places. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s vintage or a modern reproduction. If I like it, I take it. I buy all my materials from all over the place, I pick up things on eBay, online shops, high street shops, charity shops and car boots.

What inspires you? I like quirky things and I have a passion for tattoos, so a lot of my pieces are inspired by old school tattoo flash, in particular Sailor Jerry. I use a lot of fabrics with skulls and I like to try and do something a bit different as opposed to the ‘shabby chic’ style of upcycling. I also love stags, so I uses a lot of stag designs such as fabrics, paper and stencils. I can’t stand boring, straight out of the catalogue home decor, so I strive to make things unique.


Do you have any tattoos? I have quite a collection! Though not nearly enough.
I have a half sleeve on my right arm, which is a beautiful portrait of my mum surrounded with flowers, in the style of our favourite artist, Alphonse Mucha. This was done by the awesome Marcus Maguire of Custom Inc/BathStreetCollective, who has also done a large, beautifully coloured peacock stretching from my hip to my knee. This is a tribute to my Dad, along with my of my other tattoos. I have a portrait of him on my other arm, my feet are covered in script with an old saying of his, ‘Far Out!’ done by Stephanie Scott of Old Town Tattoo, and I have two wee chicks on my ankle as he called my sister and I his chickens, by Jamie Adair of Crossroads Tattoo.

I have an awesome large mandala and stags head on my thigh by Ema Sweeney of Custom Inc/BathStreetCollective, and a cute wee bird with hydrangeas on my calves by the wonderful Amanda Grace Leadman, amongst others. I may also have an L and R on my thumbs, as I’m not the quickest with direction…

Do you have any tips for people who want to upcycle? Just go for it and have fun! Make sure you are prepared with everything you need before you start, and don’t wear your best clothes like I always do, or you won’t have anything decent left by the end of it. Painting a piece of furniture and transforming it can be such a therapeutic and rewarding thing to achieve, so don’t let yourself get stressed out. Sometimes if you make a mistake, it just adds to the overall character of the piece you are working on. Enjoy every moment of it!

Follow Grace on Instagram to see more of her tattoo inspired creations!

x+y=

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 - www.xplusyequals.co.uk 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

One year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

A year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

The first issue of 2014, was The Modification Issue, issue 6 of Things&Ink. And we shot our amazing cover with space elf Grace Neutral in January 2014 at the London Film Museum. The magazine was released at Brighton Tattoo Convention in February 2014.

Here’s some behind the scenes footage of the shoot, which really gives a feel of how impressive the photo shoot venue was and how beautiful Grace is. 

The Modification Issue also featured one of our most moving shoots to date. Therapist and model Laurence Moniasse tells the story of her tattoos and scarification, and how they link to her past and her family. During the emotionally charged photo shoot where old family photos were projected onto the background, Laurence shed tears as she remembered her grandmother. It was a beautiful moment and a stunning editorial feature.

In February 2014, our most popular blog posts were: SHORT FRENCH FILM REVERSING GENDER ROLES and CELEBS WITH TATTOOS #SHOPPEDTATTOOS

Issue 7, The Identity Issue, was launched in May 2014, and starred Wendy Pham on what is – surprisingly – our most controversial cover to date. She looks strong and powerful in the image we chose for the cover, however some readers commented that it was too “sexual” and were shocked that it wasn’t a “typical” Things&Ink cover. We like to divide opinion, and get people talking. But it also reminded us that all our covers are collaborations between us and the artist who is featured – they choose how they are portrayed too. Their personality is represented and so is the ethos of Things&Ink… what do you think of the Wendy Pham cover? We would love to know.

Things and Ink identity Wendy Pham

In June 2014, our most popular blog posts were: WOMAN TRANSFORMS HER FACIAL SCARS WITH TATTOO INK and MUM TATTOOS HER 12 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.

September 2014 saw the launch of The Illustration Issue, starring tattoo artist Danielle Rose. On the cover she becomes one with her artwork – the artist becomes artwork, the illustrator becomes the illustrated. This cover was one of our most collaborative and the results are simply breathtaking. This issue also marked a change in our identity, instead of our tagline: Embracing Female Tattoo Culture, it was Independent | Tattoo | Lifestyle that was printed underneath our logo on issue 8. We had occasionally been criticised for being a “female-only” magazine (which we actually never have been, we set up Things&Ink as way to portray art and not objectify the person wearing it), so we wanted to clear this up in our strapline and allow as many readers as possible to enjoy reading the magazine.

In September, we also celebrated our two-year birthday with a charity exhibition of post card sized artwork by over 100 of the world’s leading tattooists. The opening of ‘Miniature Ink’ was electric – readers even queued outside Atomica Gallery from 3pm in the afternoon (the exhibition opened at 6) to get their hands on a tiny piece of art. We were even lucky enough to get a special guest appearance from tattoo artist Cally-Jo and her friend, supermodel Cara Delevingne. The night was incredible and the exhibition ran throughout September and during the London Tattoo Convention, with all profits from sales going to the charity Sarcoma UK.

Supermodel Cara Delevingne, tattoo artist Cally-Jo and editor Alice Snape at the launch of the Miniature Ink exhibition

 

Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice at London Tattoo Convention September 2014 – we LOVE conventions and hope to do even more in 2015

 

Throughout September and October 2014, we also worked really hard on issue 9, as it was the last issue of the year, we wanted to do something extra special. S0 we created three extra special covers for you to choose from – including a woman, a man (for the first time ever) and a couple. Flo Nuttall, Brian Wilson, and Yann Brenyak and Delphine Noiztoy were all a pleasure to photograph and each of their personalties shines through.

 

2014 has been an incredible year for Things&Ink and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible: readers, writers, contributors, photographers…  – we are sure 2015 will be as full of surprises… we can’t wait to share it with you. What has been your highlight of 2014?

“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

 

And the winner is…

A year ago today – yep Christmas day – we launched a competition to find the ultimate tattooed love story, and the winner would receive a prize of wedding photography for their big day from Heather Shuker, of Brighton-Photo. We were overwhelmed by all the entries and completely entranced by their love stories.

So much so that before we could decide a winner, we announced three finalists and did an engagement photo shoot with them all to help us decide… read more about why we picked our finalist couples in this blog post announcing the finalists, and view the engagement shoots on Facebook.

The couple who we have picked to win captured our hearts from the beginning, and when we met up with them in real life their love for each other just shone through – you can see it in their photos too… so without further ado, we would like to introduce you to our winners, Roxanne and Greg… who met on a film set and talked about dragon tattoos. Read more about how they met below… and we really look forward to the wedding… bring on the rum. We can’t wait to share the pictures with you too. Have a wonderful Christmas Roxanne and Greg, see you at the wedding.

With love from us all at Things&Ink

 

ROXANNE DONOVAN & GREG FURBER, 28 AND 31, FROM LONDON 

Where did you meet? Roxanne: ‘On a film set. My first job was on Fantastic Mr Fox and Greg was one of the assistant directors on the film.’

How were tattoos involved? Roxanne: ‘On my first day, Greg was asking me my interests and at the time I was reading this book about dragons (which I thought was a bit dorky). A bit embarrassed, I told him about the book, to which he replied: “I have two large dragon tattoos on my back.” Call me weird but, SWOON! We also have matching tattoos that we got while in Coney Island, NYC. It was Halloween and we were a bit tipsy (read: drunk as a skunk). We ended up in a bar called Tattoos and Shots, you can see where this story goes… Needless to say the next morning we woke up with two matching skull tattoos on our wrists with no recollection of getting them. The weekend after that Greg proposed!’

Have you already planned your day? Roxanne: ‘We are getting married on 28/08/2015 at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London. The wedding has snippets of Romany Gypsy traditions in memory of my granddad. Also Spanish Culture as we are travelling South America for our honeymoon and we love everything Spanish.’

How do you see your wedding day? Roxanne: ‘Our wedding is all about partying and rum. On the morning of our wedding we’ll meet at a tattoo parlour and have our wedding bands tattooed onto us. We wanted to make sure in all of the wedding crazy, we had a moment to be together and really make a mark on our day.’

Permission to use image granted from MyBKK: http://www.mybkk.com/dont-buy-or-sell-buddha/

The Buddha Tattoo: Sacrilege?

Permission to use image granted from MyBKK, click image for original article.

 

The above billboard is located on Bangkok’s main highway between Suvarnabhumi airport and the city. Confronting travellers entering the city, it condemns any decorative use of the Buddha, including, specifically, tattoos. On their eponymous website, 5000s.org, the organisation that commissioned the public message further elaborate on their position, which is worth quoting in full:

“Buddha is the Father religion of more than 500 million Buddhists around the world. His images and statues are not meant to be used for decoration or tattoo under any circumstance. Those who create the object with Buddha images intend to inspire people to think of Buddha, his teachings. If you feel that Buddha images help you feel peace and harmony please place a Buddha statue properly with respect, by placing the statue or image, at a high level from the floor and not using his symbols as decoration. The human body is dirty. Buddha’s image should not be displayed on something so unclean as the human body, like with a tattoo.”

At this point, it might be important to explore a little further the significance that Buddhist iconography holds within Buddhism. As religious studies academic Patrick S. O’Donnell explains, “The religious meaning of the sundry iconographic representations and symbols are meant to resonate with the practitioner’s psychological, philosophical, and spiritual dispositions and further develop her capacities, which should widen and deepen over time. This iconography is an integral feature of a ‘living tradition’ and not merely ‘art’ in the conventional sense nor solely of historical or antiquarian interest or curiosity.”

Today, however, the Buddha’s image and associated icons have become empty symbols of fashionable spirituality, or further commodified into purely ornamental merchandise and apparel. Recently, North American chain store Urban Outfitters caused controversy for another religion with the release of their US$8 socks featuring the Hindu deity Ganesh (all have since sold out, although US$49 Ganesha tapestries are still available), prompting the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, to release a statement decrying the use of the religious symbol: “Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be wrapped around one’s foot.”

For many it may seem like common sense to respect sacred religious iconography, but for others the idea of adapting one’s personal attire to fit within the morally acceptable realm of another’s religion is preposterous; someone taking offence to a picture of an eight-armed elephant on a sock may be valid cause for derision. An investment in exploring the boundaries of cultural appropriation is beyond the scope of this piece, but it is important to keep in mind that the rampant cultural appropriation exhibited by western corporations is their unique way of effacing the world of anything sacred. For the people of historically colonized countries such as India and Sri Lanka, however, who hold continue to revere their religious icons, it’s Colonization 2.0.

In April of this year, the Sri Lankan government arrested and deported a British woman, Naomi Coleman, because of a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm, with a police spokesperson citing the crime of “hurting others’ religious feelings”. And, only last week in Myanmar, the BBC reported that a New Zealander and two locals pleaded “not guilty” to charges of insulting the Buddha by depicting him with headphones (Sri Lanka and Myanmar are deeply religious countries; Burmese law makes it illegal to insult any religion).

Unless your intention is to make a political or social statement—in which case your motivation in visiting a host country is well beyond that of casual tourist or temporary ex-pat—it’s a generally held norm to respect the laws and moral standards of a country in which you are a guest. For instance, as absurd as not driving while female may sound, maybe don’t go to Saudi Arabia while in full possession of female reproductive organs (this sentence could plausibly end here) and drive a car. Unless, of course, you’re prepared to face the consequences both for yourself—recently ranging from 10 to 150 lashes—and for diplomatic relations between the Sunni nation and your country of citizenship.

The Knowing Buddha Organization (KBO), which operates 5000.org, is a self-proclaimed custodian of the Buddha, dedicated to raising awareness about appropriate and inappropriate uses of Buddhist symbols and imagery. It receives numerous complaints of “devastation” at the sacrilegious use of the Buddha’s image, like statues decorating toilets. The KBO tell me they’re currently working with the Thai Committee on Religions as well as the Thai Senate to “help solve this ongoing problem that has distorted Buddhism worldwide” and to campaign for legislation that will not only focus on tattoos, furnishings, and apparel, but to set a “righteous standard” in public consciousness as a whole.

I entered this foreign discourse with the Knowing Buddha Organization using Buddhist teachings, pointing out that on its website it shares the wisdom that, “In order to purify the mind Buddha taught us to stop reacting emotionally. It means to just acknowledge without reacting, which requires a certain knowledge”. I questioned whether it thought that in the recent case of Naomi Coleman, a practicing Buddhist visiting Sri Lanka, the authorities had acted appropriately and in line with those teachings? I felt it appropriate to remind it that, in western culture, tattoos are often acquired to remind the wearer of a significant event or emotion, and wonder whether—especially when its website states that “Buddha statues have become a key element for most Buddhists around the world”, through which religionists are “reminded of his compassion, kindness and his teachings and feel the highest regard for him”—couldn’t a tattoo play this important role in lieu of a statue?

“To the devoted Buddhists, tattoos are not the means to salvation. They are nothing but unnecessary surplus to life if one wants to detach his mind. For strict regulated Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, it is unacceptable to see Buddha and his image in any impur[e context,] including on the body. It is not about reacting emotionally or overacting, but it is about setting the righteous consci[ousness] and good public example. [The Sri Lankan authorities] merely took their stand of demonstrating that such action is disrespectful.”

When I asked the KBO to elaborate on their objection to the depiction of the Buddha in tattoos, it described to me how our bodies are unclean and impure owing to alcohol, defecation, and intercourse. For us to then tattoo a Buddha image on to this vessel of scum (I’m paraphrasing) is to attach the “most sacred symbol of purity to something that is not” and to abase the otherworldly to that which is worldly. Because the Buddha has taught us to “isolate our minds from body and ultimately detach the mind from our mind, to be the mind with no mind,” the KBO questions the impulse to “put his image in such a low and unclean place or [on] something as impermanent as our bodies.”

The pain of seeing the Buddha’s image on an impermanent, dirty material, the KBO explains, is akin to an ardent patriot watching her national flag being trampled or burnt. “Buddha was the purest mind. He is so pure that even his images should be [reverently] treated and placed only [in] high[-up][positions],” commensurate, it suggests, with the spiritual altitude of his righteous deeds.

Although the KBO may believe that the Buddha’s image is too eminent for the likes of our decaying, unclean bodies, I offered the perspective of appreciating a tattoo’s artistic worth—devoid of divine subservience—that much sacred iconography can offer the nonbeliever.

“The idea of appreciating art from Buddha images is false to the sole purpose and hence is inappropriate. One should consider the true purpose and respect the real meaning.”*

Once again, it boils down to whether or not you’re willing to respect the beliefs of someone else to the point of influencing your own choices. It’s always affirming to see people with such firm beliefs lead by example, so I was confused as to how Sak Yank tattoos and the Buddhists that wear and tattoo them fit in to this seemingly inflexible equation.

KBO acknowledges Sak Yant as one of the many misunderstandings of their religion—even among Buddhists—claiming that their charm is misleading.

“As we [delve] deeper toward the core of Buddha’s teaching, we see the inevitable knowledge that real Dharma is to detach the mind from all. Sak Yant is another bond that binds us to our bodies and binds our mind to desire to possess and hope for any expected, extraordinary result. Many genuine Buddhists have Sak Yant, yet they no longer [value] the import of tattoos or their magical claims. They hold only Buddha and his teachings and Dharma as their [salvation].”

It would have been interesting to posit this to a Sak Yant decorated Buddhist, but maybe that’s something I’ll do another time: challenge the intentions of a tattooed monk.

 

* According to the KBO, “the true purpose” is: “Buddha and his teachings”.

Hula Boy Sketch 2

A Hula Boy Tattoo, At Last!

In the very first issue of Things & Ink, I wrote an article called “Old School for Girls”. In it, I posed the question – Is it time to recreate the traditional pin-up tattoo for a female audience? – and I expressed my interest in getting a hula boy tattoo. After the article came out, I became rather determined to find an artist willing to tattoo a hula boy on me. He had to be handsome, sweet, fun, and with the right level of kitsch. He had to fit my style, complement the colourful tattoos already on my right arm which represent my love of all things ‘Hawaii kitsch’ – pink flamingos, palm trees, hula girls, tiki huts, etc., you get the idea. He had to be perfectly me.

I am extremely happy to report that in October I found the perfect tattoo artist for the job (Thanks, Reka & Maya for your help!), and in November when I was visiting London she gave me what my heart desired most … and then a whole lot more! Her name is Eszter David, she’s an incredibly talented artist from Hungary, and she works at one of my favourite tattoo shops in the whole wide world, Hell To Pay. She took on the challenge with excitement and enthusiasm. I told her he needed to have a traditional feel in the way he was drawn, but I wanted some non-traditional features – some tattoos and a moustache, were a couple of ideas I mentioned. I left the rest up to her, and she exceeded all my expectations. She did a ton of homework in order to draw the right hula boy attire. She put a ton of thought into every little intricate tattoo she put on his body. She gave him lovely, stylized short and shiny hair, and a sweet flirty smile. Needless to say, she completely got my personality and taste, including the level of kitsch I wanted and my arm artwork demanded. He was absolutely PERFECT!!

Check out Eszter on Instagram, FB, and of course at the Hell To Pay shop and FB page. She’s a super talented female tattoo artist who is the master of many styles. Really I cannot say enough wonderful things about her as a person and as a tattooist. I look forward to seeing her again in 2015, for more ink, good music, and some beers.

And, as Ester said, “Hula boys & pink flamingos forever!” She’s a girl after my own heart!

The Things&Ink Wedding Competition Finalists – The Engagement Shoot

Are you linked by ink?

Back in December 2013 (issue 5, The Celebration Issue), we launched a competition to win wedding photography for your big day. The best, tattooed love story would win… And the entrants were amazing  – so amazing that we have picked three finalists (they’re so cute).  The engagement shoots in this blog post, by photographer Heather Shuker, of Brighton-Photo, will help us pick the ultimate winner. Who is your favourite couple? Let us know on Instagram @thingsandink.com or facebook.com/thingsandink

The final winner will be announced on Christmas Day! Watch this space…

Vicky Morgan & Lee Withey – 31 and 27 from Nottingham

Where did you meet? Vicky: ‘He bought me a drink to congratulate me on getting a receptionist job at the studio he worked at, that was 10 years ago.’

 

How were tattoos involved? Vicky: ‘We worked together for over 10 years in a tattoo studio, and he also played a big part in helping me learn to tattoo.’

Have you already planned your day?  Vicky: ‘We are getting married in Phuket, Thailand, on the 4th of February 2015.’

How do you see your wedding day? What are you most excited about? Vicky: ‘I want it to be magical. We got engaged in Phuket under a full moon and it will be the same for our wedding, but with our closest friends and family, a baby elephant and fireworks. Every Disney princess needs fireworks!’ 

ROXANNE DONOVAN & GREG FURBER, 28 AND 31, FROM LONDON 

 

Where did you meet? Roxanne: ‘On a film set. My first job was on Fantastic Mr Fox and Greg was one of the assistant directors on the film.’

How were tattoos involved? Roxanne: ‘On my first day, Greg was asking me my interests and at the time I was reading this book about dragons (which I thought was a bit dorky). A bit embarrassed, I told him about the book, to which he replied: “I have two large dragon tattoos on my back.” Call me weird but, SWOON! We also have matching tattoos that we got while in Coney Island, NYC. It was Halloween and we were a bit tipsy (read: drunk as a skunk). We ended up in a bar called Tattoos and Shots, you can see where this story goes… Needless to say the next morning we woke up with two matching skull tattoos on our wrists with no recollection of getting them. The weekend after that Greg proposed!’

 

Have you already planned your day? Roxanne: ‘We are getting married on 28/08/2015 at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London. The wedding has snippets of Romany Gypsy traditions in memory of my granddad. Also Spanish Culture as we are travelling South America for our honeymoon and we love everything Spanish.’

How do you see your wedding day? Roxanne: ‘Our wedding is all about partying and rum. On the morning of our wedding we’ll meet at a tattoo parlour and have our wedding bands tattooed onto us. We wanted to make sure in all of the wedding crazy, we had a moment to be together and really make a mark on our day.’ 

 

TANYA MAYOR & CHRIS BAKER, BOTH 26, FROM STOKE-ON-TRENT AND BARNSLEY

 

Where did you meet? Tanya: ‘We met on Instagram.’

How were tattoos involved?  Tanya: ‘Chris had been asked to draw a pin-up burlesque dancer (he’s a tattooist), so he searched for reference on Instagram and I popped up in the results. He contacted me and asked if he could draw me for a tattoo on a client. Since that moment, barely a day has gone by that we haven’t spoken to each other. Chris even came to live with me while I nursed my sick nan and he worked at a studio in Stoke-on-Trent to support me. After this, we began to look for our own studio, so that we could grow artistically as a couple. It has been the biggest struggle of our lives, but we now run a studio together. Tattoos are what brought us together.’

 

How do you see your wedding day? What are you most excited about?  Tanya: ‘We would love to get married in a low-key ceremony with a few select close friends and family. We want to custom make most things for the wedding, including the outfits and wedding favours, and we want candles and fairy lights. It’ll be romantic and based around a twisted theme, taking influence from Tim Burton and Sailor Jerry. We are most excited about getting married and making the further commitment to each other.’ 

Let us know your favourite couple… and the winner will be announced on Christmas Day.