Gypsy East Desert Erotica Photo Shoot

In the depths of the Rajasthani desert, the Gypsies created magic… 

Check out the Gypsy East ASOS for your own magical treasure that the gypsies discovered on their travels 

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Art direction & styling – The Gypsy East Collective
Model – Emily-Louise McGuinness
Photographer – Alexandre Fantie-James
Shoot assistant – Harry Newbould

 

Film Review: Slow West

Our resident film reviewer is writer Harry Casey-Woodward who will be sharing his opinions on things he has watched…

Slow West, 2015, cert 15, dir John Maclean, 4/5

If you liked Django Unchained, how about a western shot in New Zealand by a Scottish director? You’ve got to admire a director when they choose a western for their first film in this day and age, when westerns are no longer guaranteed profit makers (unless you’re Tarantino). It must be even more of a challenge to make a good one, now Django has raised the bar and Tarantino’s new western The Hateful Eight is in the saddle. But new director John Maclean has crafted a stunning western for his first feature, which is now out on DVD and Blu-ray.

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Slow West has a simple but original plot. The hero is a young Scots lad named Jay Cavendish played by rising Australian star Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road and Let Me In). Having left Scotland, we find him riding alone across the vast, wild landscape of the American West to find the girl he loves, who has already emigrated west with her father. He bumps into Silas (Michael Fassbender), a lone drifter who agrees to ride with Jay for reasons known only to Silas.

Both are testament to the theory that opposites attract. Silas is a traditional western hero. Even Fassbender acting in his native Irish accent just adds to his rough charm. He’s got the weather-beaten costume, the stubble, the cigars and the gun. The only thing he lacks is a heart. I was worried Fassbender wouldn’t pull off this Clint Eastwood -like character, since I’ve only seen him in well-spoken civilised roles like the android in Prometheus and the English officer/film critic in Inglorious Basterds. But he’s utterly gripping as a cool, cunning gunslinger.

Jay Cavendish, however, is the natural bumbling teenage sidekick. What he lacks in experience and practicality, he makes up for with naivety and romanticism. Whereas Silas has dulled his emotions, Jay remains the victim of his passions which have led him on his epic, dangerous quest to find his love. Kodi Scot-McPhee gives a charming performance as a lovesick, wide-eyed poet horrified by the violence and suffering he witnesses.

The pair encounter a range of western characters. They’re tracked by a shaggy-coated man named Payne and his motley band of outlaws, a cool performance by fellow Australian Ben Mendelsohn who played hot-headed businessman Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises. There’s also a Swedish couple turned desperate store robbers, a travelling writer documenting the extinction of Native American culture and a bounty hunter disguised as a priest carrying his rifle in a smart case (a possible homage to the eccentric antiheros of the spaghetti westerns).

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Thankfully Slow West follows a trend that has been cropping up in recent westerns. This is acknowledging the fact that the American West was populated by emigrants from all over the world, thus not everybody spoke in a cowboy drawl (a fact often ignored by even the best westerns in the past). The director admitted that he wanted to make a film about the West from an emigrant’s point of view.

The film also features Native Americans. Some are depicted as deadly and otherworldly, others as very human. The main characters mention the decimation of the Native American civilisation, often cynically, as an irreversible tragedy. It has been a while since any recent western has acknowledged this dark side of American history in such a modern fashion. As well as accurate historical details, the film does a good job of representing genders too. When we finally see the love interest Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius)on screen, she’s a gutsy farm girl who ends up doing most of the shooting in the showdown at the end.

If this colourful cast of characters isn’t enough to attract you, the film is worth seeing for its sheer beauty. Most westerns can boast extraordinary landscapes and Slow West is no exception. Like Lord of the Rings, Slow West could be an advert for New Zealand. We switch from tender flashbacks on the Scottish coast to dramatic New Zealand scenery of forests, mountains and plains which makes a perfect Western backdrop. Whoever went location scouting did a good job. The best thing about filming in New Zealand, as the crew discovered, was the incredible light and colour the beautifully framed shots were blessed with. The colours are especially striking for a western, reminding me of technicolor 1950s classics like The Searchers. As Maclean explains, that was purely due to the quality of New Zealand natural light and he didn’t want to shoot another brown western anyway.

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Despite the cool characters, the original plot and striking cinematography, there are two criticisms I would make of this film. One is that it lacked the ‘oomph’ present in other great westerns like The Wild Bunch], Unforgiven and even Django, which stops it ranking alongside these classics. In other words, as nice as the film was to watch I didn’t feel a great emotional impact at the end. The running time is only eighty minutes, which means you have less time to feel involved with the characters than a longer film. However, given the content of the plot I feel there were still opportunities for a greater emotional scope. Moving onto the other criticism, I felt the movie was putting more effort into being strange for the sake of it. The nature of the plot is rather episodic, which leads to several random scenes like Jay and Silas riding past three men playing music in the middle of a barren plain. Jay converses with them in French on the universality of love and death. While it’s nice to see such creative elements in a western, it does reduce the historical realism a tad.

But then Slow West is a different breed of western to the intense, action-packed examples I mentioned above. It’s sparse, lyrical style reminded me most of Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 western Dead Man starring Jonny Depp. Both films are beautifully shot, spiritual journeys through imaginative landscapes of the American West. Both feature traditional Western clichés mixed with modern sensibilities and both balance cynical humour with tragedy and graphic violence.

The presentation of the violence is worth noting in Slow West. Don’t expect the glorified, over-the-top action of Django. It is thrilling and even playful at times, especially during the climax during which Payne fires a bullet to make a weather vane spin round. However, there are other scenes when the pointless, catastrophic consequences of random violence are clearly plain, with little dialogue and visible emotion from the actors needed. Though I have mentioned the lack of emotional impact in this film, I still genuinely feared for the heroes’ survival in the final shootout.

Overall, the film is sparse but not cold. The more I think about it after viewing, the more I admire the creativity involved and the sheer amount of elements that were brought together. This is a cool, lean slice of cinema that looks amazing with subtle depths of emotion and heartache. I respect that such an unusual little gem was allowed to be made and I further respect the fact that it was a British production, having been presented by Film 4 and the British Film Institute. Perhaps this will lead to another wave of European westerns like the Italian spaghetti westerns in the 60s. Shepherd’s pie westerns anyone? More like haggis western, as the director is Scottish. Silliness aside, he has done a remarkable job for his first film and I hope his future efforts share in the poetic, imaginative spirit of his debut.

All opinions of the director are taken from the special features on the DVD

Interview with Myra Brodsky

Editor Alice Snape recently got tattooed by Berlin-based Myra Brodsky, 27, aka spinsterette on Instagram, while she was guesting at Seven Doors in east London. Alice couldn’t resist asking Myra some questions while under the needle… 

Tattoo artist Myra Brodsky and editor Alice Snape at Seven Doors in east London Tattoo artist Myra Brodsky and editor Alice Snape at Seven Doors in east London

 

“Myra’s work is heavily influenced by art nouveau and the Victorian age – the periods of art that I am drawn to… so I couldn’t resist getting a tattoo by her while she was over in London. I picked a moon and hand from her flash, and conducted this interview while I was getting tattooed… just imaging the buzz of the needle as you read.”

Alice: “How long have been a tattoo artist for?”
Myra:
“I started tattooing in late 2008, after studying visual communications at university. My parents were always very anti me going into tattooing, but my father has now passed away and my mother has moved to Spain, so they are not part of my life anymore and are not aware of what I do. My parents were very religious and this is probably where their attitude came from. I was born and raised in a very conservative, jewish family.”

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Alice: “What do you think drew you to tattoos then?”
Myra:
“It was really actually by accident that I came into tattooing. I never planned it, I never had the wish to become a tattoo artist. My best friend started to tattoo, and I thought that seemed kinda fun. So she immersed me into the tattoo world, she had all the gear at home, and I started tattooing too. At first, just for fun – it was never big business or starting something serious. I did shitty little tattoos on my own body, but never thought it was something I could make a living from… I thought my parents would hate me and turn against me.”

“What did you do for a job at this time?”
“I worked for an ad agency. I found it really boring.”

“When did you start tattooing properly, as a job?”
“I actually started tattooing when I was still at university too, I used to have to do 12-hour days. I was still working at that agency and attending university and I was already tattooing. It was a lot to do. I found it easy as I didn’t have the wish to meet up with friends in my spare time. I was dedicated to my work, being productive was great.  Now I need tattooing for my living.”

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“Do you think that is something that is hard being a tattoo artist? Would you want to change it or be something else?”
“Yeah. I mean being self employed is hard in general. I hate that. I hate doing my taxes, I am really bad at counting, I cannot count at all! If I had the choice I would be a magician. My father comes from the casino business and when my sister and I were still young we used to go to Las Vegas pretty often. My sister and I grew up watching shows like David Copperfield. I admire those magic shows, even if it is an illusion, I love it. I wish I could do that.”

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“Do you think that has a big impact on your work?”
“Totally. I love all that imagery surrounding all those magic things. I also believe in magic powers. Whenever I have a problem I call my fortune teller instead of going to the doctor. They tell me different things, I can ask her anything. When I was planning my tour through Europe I asked her which shops would accept me. In London, she said there would be a chance that only one shop would accept me and now I am here at Seven Doors.”

“Do you plan to live in New York?”
“I want to move there and work Red Rocket tattoo in Midtown.”

“Do you think that is part of the beauty of being a tattoo artist being able to travel around?”
“I think it is a good thing. I know a lot of people who aren’t into travelling, but I am because I don’t really feel comfortable in just one place. I get bored so easily. I think it is a fun game  to have to challenge yourself to act like a local in so many cities. I like that kind of game.”

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“What is your favourite city you have been to so far?”
“New York. I like London too. You cannot really describe New York in words. It is just perfect.”

“How would you describe your style as a tattooist?”
“I would say I  don’t really want to put a name on that. I can only say what inspires me and what I use as reference. These are actually images from all of the great eras from the past, in art history. I know a lot about art history. Most of the things I take are from art nouveau and the Victorian age and Edwardian age. Art Deco is also nice but it is too geometric for my kind of thing. I rather like organic decoration elements, because you can always take them and change them for every part of the body.”

“Do  you like doing bigger pieces as well?”
“I prefer doing bigger pieces. But I don’t get to do many of them, I think because I’m not in one place all the time.”

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“What would be your favourite thing to tattoo? If you could do anything on someone’s back what would you do?”
“I think it would be a scene out of a classic novel or play. Maybe a play by Shakespeare or a novel by Kafka. Anything that is already existing, that I could adapt. That is what I like, because I think it is timeless.”

“How would you like your style to progress in the future?”
“I am planning on starting more big pieces with more detail, more history behind them. More details and meaning in general.”

IMG_1800 Myra at Seven Doors

 

To view more of Myra’s work and to see where she will be working next, follow her on Instagram @spinsterette

 

Music: Jukebox

Our music blogger Verity Vincent takes us down music memory lane with a selection of her favourite albums and song… and we want to hear about yours. Drop us a line with your music and memories to music@thingsandink.com

Now and then we all dig out old music and rediscover albums that conjure up all kinds of memories. Whether we go back decades or just a few months, music will never be disposable – despite the ever-changing face of the industry.

An album I often land on while scrolling through iTunes, is La Roux’s 2014 Trouble in Paradise. This is one of those albums to perk you up on a dreary journey to work. The ’80s disco feel jolts you to a cocktail holding, tropical sun-beaming place. And I like it.

The initial track Uptight Downtown is relatable to everyone who has been in one of “those” clubs. The clubs where the cool kids stand around subtly nodding their heads and casting judgement on all they see and hear. Kiss and Not Tell and Sexoteque offer the current generation an “It’s OK, we’ve all been there” vibe, with themes of love, sex and relationships.

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For something a little heavier, I often make a return to Exit Ten. Their albums Remember the Day and Give Me Infinity are full of rock and metal enthused anthems which never really got the full notability they deserved. Give Me Infinity’s closer ‘Lion’ is a huge track and singer Ryan Redman’s vocals are just outstanding. Incidentally, he’s currently been playing with I AM GIANT, but maybe one day an Exit Ten reunion will be on the cards?

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2015 was a great year for music and one of my top album picks is Leon Bridges – Coming Home.The title track blew up over the summer and songs like ‘Better Man’ and ‘Pull Away’ give the album such authenticity for this style of music. Peaking at number 8 in the UK and number 6 on the US Billboard chart, it was a great feat for a soulful, gospel album. It could sit up there with Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, easily.

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There is also a staple record in my vinyl collection that never tires. The American Graffiti soundtrack. It’s like having a crash course in ’50s classics, some more well-known than others, but with tracks from Del Shannon, The Crests, The Beach Boys and Fats Domino, to name a few, it’s a timeless album that will resonate whether you’ve seen the film or not.

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Home Ink

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti tells us about the Home Ink tattoo party held at Home rock bar a night full of tattoos, burlesque and prizes… 

In December after I long day at work I found myself browsing Instagram and I came across a tattoo competition connected to Home Ink 2015, an event I really wanted to go to. It was being promoted by Home Festival, a music festival that I  love a lot and that is always held in my home town.
So I said to myself, why not? Let’s do it!

To enter the competition all you had to do was share one of your favourite tattoos on Instagram, tagging the organiser in the picture and then getting as many likes as you could. It was very simple, so I decided to share my bunny tattoo (by Amy Savage) and a few days later, they told me  that I won the Instagram contest!

My Rabbit by Amy Savage

The tattoo party was located at Home Rock Bar (Treviso), a great bar with good music and a fresh atmosphere.
The main theme was tattoo and their motto ‘Stay Inked, Stay Home!’ was plastered around the place, I loved the decor.

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The judges were Tizio from Klinik Studio, Amedeo Lombardi who organises the Home Festival events, a member of Tattoo Defender team, a tattoo artist and a tattoo lover chosen from the crowd.

Each participant (from the public) was given an identification number and allocated a category based on the size of your tattoo. During the evening you were called by the presenters to parade and show off your ink. As you were showing the judges your tattoo you weren’t allowed to mention who it was done by, as this may have influenced their decision.

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While the judges voted in secret the crowd was entertained by a burlesque show by Genny Mirtillo, she is such a lovely girl and I loved her fire eating abilities!
The show ended and the judges announced the winners. Once you were entered into the winners rank, you were called to appear again on stage, and collect the prize won. When it came my turn, I was a bit nervous. But it was also pretty exciting!

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I won a special limited edition pack where I got free entrance to the four day Home Festival events, some cute Sun68 gadgets I will receive this September, a personalised plate with the date and logo of the event and a little bag containing fir seeds to make the world a more sustainable place! Such a cute pack of goodies, right?

Home Festival is without any doubt the best music festival in Italy, you just need to take a look at last year’s line up. So I’m very happy to have joined this Instagram competition, and I can’t wait to find out who is going to play this September!

Interview with Céline

We first interviewed Céline in 2014 (read the post here) since then she has had many more tattoos and is currently working on a body suit with Guy Le Tatooer. We caught up with Céline to find out more about her tattoo journey and what inspires the project… 


What inspired you to work so closely with one tattooist to create your body suit? I’ve had different approaches since I started my journey. For a long time I collected tattoos from a lot of different artists: Jondix, Gotch, Cokney, Sway, Burton, Mikael de Poissy, Rodrigo Souto, to name a few. But I don’t see the point anymore. I think meeting Guy le Tatooer certainly changed my whole perspective on tattoos and on how I wanted to be tattooed. I never thought I would get that much work from Guy but after spending time with him my vision evolved and in the end it just made sense to give him full freedom with my body suit.

How did you decide to create such a huge project with Guy? Who approached who? Well, it just happened. Things were not supposed to be that way,  I approached him in the first place to get a full back done. I guess he saw the potential of what we could do together and I think he pretty much knew right from the start the kind of direction he would take. But the project is in constant evolution. Every time we meet we discuss new ideas and ways of developing the project. We went from creating one piece to a full body project. Guy is now reorganising most of my existing work to create a cohesive look. It’s a neverending concept.

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Do you let him have creative freedom or do you both generate ideas? We both generate ideas and discuss everything. We don’t need to talk that much though, we are on the same page. And he obviously has all the creative freedom he wants.

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Do you worry that when it is complete you will lose a part of your life, that the journey will be over? Or will you be satisfied and feel a sense of achievement? There is no way I could get tattooed as much as I do on a permanent basis. It has to be temporary. Getting tattooed is not a hobby. And even though it should remain fun, it’s definitely not an insignificant process. Getting a body suit is a huge transformation for the body and mind.

I absolutely love the journey, I think it’s an incredible experience but I can’t wait for it to be over! I enjoy every minute of it but the more I do it, the more difficult it becomes. The pain is harder to take and I think harsher. Over all it’s mentally exhausting.

It’s a long process to see my final idea come to life. So I think I will definitely feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction the day I consider it’s finally over.

How did you make the decision to cover/change your existing front piece? I think the idea came up after Guy redesigned my chest piece. Like I said Guy is reworking every area of my body in order to create a cohesive look, which involves covering and/or blasting some old tattoos. We are basically creating a new look together. That’s the main idea. We don’t see tattoos as a permanent thing, even a tattoo can evolve. I think my chest piece is a great example. Phase two of my project with Guy is a full leg sleeves concept.

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Do you worry about offending artist’s work that you are covering? A journey is a series of destinations. Nothing is final. So, no I don’t worry about offending anyone at all.

How often are you getting tattooed, how long is each session? I started getting tattooed seven years ago but the last three years have been the most intense. I get tattooed once or twice every month. To give you an example I had a total of 16 sessions in 2015.

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What are your future tattoo plans? I suggest you follow my Instagram account to see what’s next…

Interview with Morg Armeni

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to Morg Armeni a travelling  tattooist and artist, about how Morg puts her soul into everything she does and how her passion for life is felt by all… 

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Your style is very traditional but you have put your own stamp on the genre, did you choose to tattoo in this way or did it choose you? It’s nice to think that ‘he’ chose me, and it can be true, in some ways. I love to put my own sort on magic into the tattoos I do. I actually use symbols that are familiar to me, coming from art, my musical background, and everything I like. Then I recreate an image that conceptually can be interpreted in various ways.
I like to imagine an idea, but also its opposite, both in colours and shapes. The contrasts are what make the difference.

When did you fall in love with art and tattoos? Since I was very small, even in kindergarten, my grandfather used to take me to Staglieno (a monumental cemetery in Genova). I could stay there for hours, I was fascinated by those beautiful statues and bas-reliefs.
I started drawing when I was 12-years-old, and I went to see my first exhibition, well the first I chose to see, which was Dalí After that I fell even more in love with art. At art school, in addition to learning the techniques of drawing, I studied the history of art and I loved ancient and medieval art. My love for tattoos was born from a fascination with the mystery and the underground scene in the 80s. All my musical idols were tattooed, and it was also thanks to them that I wanted to be tattooed.

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It seems like you have a sixth sense when you are about to create something for your clients, you always find the best way to draw any subject. What  are your methods for researching and creating a tattoo? I try to get to know the client first and understand how I can translate their idea into a tattoo.  I prepare a first drawing and then I simplify it, sometimes I also use photographs as references to edit my subjects. Often people are attracted to my imagination, and I think I accurately transform what a clients wants into a drawing.I like it when they trust my interpretation and my style of art.

Do tattoos leave a mark on your life, as much as on the client’s ?
Yes, of course! I put a lot of love into the creation of the subjects I tattoo. Often my customers and I reach a sort of harmony during the tattooing process and ritual which creates very positive vibrations that resurface when I happen to see them again.

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There are many differences between your paintings and your tattoos. Can you tell us the main ones? The main differences are the canvas and the techniques. I have to consider that the skin changes and ages, and that my customers will have my tattoos forever on their skin. With regard to the tattoo, I try to make sure that the subject represents and fits the wearer. I play with the customer’s ideas until the concept becomes a workable tattoo. That’s why I love sharp lines and contrasts.

In painting, I am definitely more surreal and visionary. For instance, I love micro realistic details for my paintings, but you won’t see many of them in my tattoos. I am in constant evolution in both fields, and both have my dedication.

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You have some really amazing pieces (by Rob Admiraal and Rudy Fritsch, just to name a few). Who else have you been tattooed by? Who do you plan to get tattooed by in the future?
I’m very proud of my tattoos and they make me happy, and these two guys you mentioned have been among the greatest inspiration I have had.
I also have pieces by Amanda Toy, Monga, Angelique Houtkamp and many others! I have a lot of talented friends from whom I would like to be tattooed by.
The list never ends!

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I am still so in love with the artwork you created that was exhibited at Somerset House. Can you tell us more about the whole process? I was excited when I got asked to contribute to this great event! I gave it my all to create something worthy of a museum like Somerset House.

It took me a month to decide what to paint, but it came to me in a dream and I created Flora’s clock. It really exists and is composed of different species of flowers, from all around the world, that open or close at a given time, so the flowers can be used like a clock to tell the time. The painting represents time, seasons, beauty, inner growth and realization of what we are, in the here and in the now.
Now I am also focused on some new paintings that will be exhibited in March at my solo show in Rome.

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Can you tell us why you decided to close your own studio in Genova? I let go a part of my life, yes. I closed my studio because I wanted to change, taking off a bit of bureaucracy, only dedicating myself to art and creation.
I will surely do some guest spots in London and in Milan, (Milano City Ink and Oink Farm) and now I’m living in Rome and guesting in some great studios.

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And finally do you have any personal advice for our readers?
I highly recommend to people, and also to myself, to spread positive feelings, as much as possible! So that we can change and affect more and more the reality around us and to improve the world in which we all live. It’s hard work but we can do it!

Aberdeen Tattoo Collective

The Aberdeen Tattoo Collective  are fast becoming one of Scotland’s busiest studios and we chatted to Calum Berry, John Philip and Kevin Reid about their tattooing journeys and influences…

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How did you get into tattooing?

Calum Berry: I got into tattooing when I was about 14 from a skateboarder called Trainwreck. I started getting tattooed when I was 16 and then started apprenticing when I was 21 and the rest is history!
John Philip: Being at the right place at the right time really. Started working in a shop that my flat mate at the time had just started tattooing in. So I managed the shop for over a year and then was told to start drawing and see what happened. I never went in looking for an apprenticeship but I’ll be forever grateful for getting the opportunity.
Kevin Reid: I first started working in a local shop as a Saturday guy just helping out, cleaning, making lunch and serving customers…’shop bitch’ some might say. Then I started getting a couple more days in the shop. And when it was quiet in-between people coming in I would just sit and draw. Then after nearly a year or so my boss at the time offered me an apprenticeship and I pretty much bit his hand off. And now here I am.
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How would you describe your style?

CB: My style is new school/illustrative.
JP: I’d say traditional street shop. Not trying to reinvent the wheel or do anything fancy. Just trying to do clean and solid tattoos that last a lifetime.
KR: My style I would say would be more a traditional/newskool illustrative type of thing.
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How long have you been tattooing for?

CB: I’ve been tattooing custom stuff since around 2012.
JP: I did my first real tattoos in April 2013. I’d maybe done 3 before then but stopped until I saved up for half decent machines. Then had a break while I moved shops. So I guess coming on 3 years?
KR: I have been tattooing about 2 1/2 years now.
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Where do you find your inspiration?

CB: The guys at the shop inspire me everyday
JP: From people and books? I collect a lot of reference books… new stuff and vintage. Not all are necessarily tattoo related. And from other tattooers. Richard from Aberdeen and Paul Slifer from Red Hot and Blue did a lot of my work when I first started getting tattooed and I learned a lot from them. Thanks to social media it’s real easy to find new artists which always makes me want to step my game up.
KR: I have a lot of influences in all different styles of tattooing, and of course the guys in my shop definitely are a big influence.

If you weren’t a tattooist, what would you be?

CB: Who knows, in my head a watch maker or pilot or something cool but probably driving a van or something not cool haha.
JP: Likely a care worker as that’s been my longest profession bar tattooing.
KR: If I weren’t a tattooist I would probably still be carrying on my career as a joiner.

 

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The guys can be contacted via their website: http://www.aberdeentattooco.com/ and found on Facebook and Instagram.

Lisa Smirnova Embroidery

Russian Lisa Smirnova creates beautiful hand embroidered pieces inspired by nature, tattoos and inspirational artists, including Frida Kahlo. Her embroideries look like they have been sketched rather than stitched and the muted and pastel tones add a dream like quality to her work.

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Follow Lisa on Instagram for more art