Tagged: art

The Art of Ruth Knapp

Ruth Knapp, 38 is an artist, blogger and mother from Norwich, we chatted to her to find more about the kitschy colourful work she creates…


Do you have a background in art? I studied art at an adult education centre a few years ago, up to foundation level, I felt the need to do something artistic, and as my children were growing up I wanted to give them something to aspire to. I’m a single parent and I didn’t want to just be mum any more. They’re really proud of what I’ve achieved and love seeing my art about, that for me makes all the hard work worth it. deer What inspires you? I’m inspired by urban art, pop art, graffiti and anything kitsch. I have a collection of 60s animal ornaments and every bit of wall space in my kitchen is covered in kitsch pictures, mirrors and brass plates, some of them are tasteful but mostly they’re very tacky. I love it, I call it my Kitschen! kewpie Are there any artists you admire, do they influence your work? I love Andy Warhol, I know he’s an obvious one but I think he just got it so right, I recently saw his collection of cookie jars in the Magnificent Obsessions exhibition and it was clear we have the same taste in pottery! I also adore Pure Evil, his work is simple but powerful, you can tell his work instantly, his portraits are stunning. Most of my work is pretty happy, I like to make pictures that make people smile, but on the streets I’m going to start to be a bit darker. triple pineapple How do you create your pieces? I use stencils to create my work, I use spray paint on the streets and at home I use acrylic and stipple through the stencils to create smaller works which I can then scan and play about with on Photoshop. I love that they can look quite graphic but also still have a painterly style. I’ve recently worked on some large scale murals which were really fun and I enjoy painting live at events. halloweenkittyHow did you start making art? I started making art in 2013 I totally blagged my way onto a Btec I just turned up to an open day without being interviewed and they were like “see you Monday” I was pretty scared they’d see I had no idea what I was doing, but the first lesson happened to be pop art stencil cutting and I thought, hang on I can do this! I’m not sure if my skill comes from thinking that that day or if it’s just a coincidence, maybe if that first lesson had been oil painting it would all be very different. I passed the Btec with distinction and went on to do the Foundation. The pineapples were my final piece for my Foundation, people seemed to love them so I made more, they are where it all started so they’ll always be my signature. They have been nicknamed ‘Knapples’.


Can you tell us about your tattoos? I have loads of tattoos, I’ve pretty much run out of space now which is a shame as there’s so many great artists I’d love to have work by, I get envious of people who have loads of free skin! I do have some really nice work though, I’m really happy with my hands I left them until last and I’m glad I did, I’ve got two great pieces by Wink Evans and I can see them all the time so it’s good that I love them.
milkshakes Follow Ruth on Instagram for more art work and kitsch.

Art Love: Eugenia Loli

Fantastical surreal collage artist Eugenia Loli started her career in the technology sector, but she left that impersonal world behind in order to build new, exciting worlds via her art. Her collages, with the help of the title, often include a teasing, visual narrative, as if they’re a still frame of a surreal movie. The viewers are invited to make up the movie’s plot in their mind.

Three Minutes to Nirvana

Three Minutes to Nirvana

Mind Alteration – Dusty & Dicey
Part III of the “Smoke & Mirrors” trilogy.

Dusty & Dicey

Cultural Bias

Cultural Bias

All Fun and Games – Reptilian Snack

Reptilian Snack

Objective Obscurity – Reflection on Contemplation

Reflection on Contemplation

Find out more about the modern vintage collage artist at eugenialoli.tumblr.com

Sarah Jane Docker: Creepy Kewpies

19-year-old Sarah Jane Docker is an illustration student, blogger and freelance artist from the Lake District. We love Sarah’s dark and gloomy style, inspired by The Horror Issue and our recent Miniature Ink II exhibition, Sarah has created a series of creepy kewpies just for us… 

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Do you have a background in art? I started drawing from a very early age, usually little things like butterflies and rainbows (I’m all about symmetry) which progressed into making little picture books about the adventures of my toys and writing stories to go with them. I didn’t realise there was a name for what I was doing at the time (illustrating) and carried on drawing and practising into my teens. My parents were never the most artistic of people but they always stood by me and my decision to draw and create, even when I chose to ditch the idea of A-Levels for an Art and Design Diploma 40 miles out of town!

How did you get into blogging? A few of my friends ran blogs that I’d been reading for a while. One day I thought ‘hey, I could do this!’ so I did.

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What kinds of things do you blog about? Anything from lifestyle advice and DIYs to make-up and tattoos. My last tattoo orientated post talked about getting your first tattoo and what you should think about before and during. One of my most recent and favourite posts is about dating yourself and why it’s important that you should take time out to be alone, treat and learn about yourself, find out what you’re all about! I’m quite young so don’t expect people to follow my advice but the response to my writing so far has been ace. I love reading all comments and am yet to experience negativity in the blogosphere.

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What kinds of things do you draw? This is a tough question! I draw a wide variety of things. Portraits, creepy little kewpies, mandalas (which I love, love, love to draw. The possibilities are endless and I can really get stuck in!) anything inspired by Eastern culture. I dabble in typography for fun now and again. A major project I just completed with my partner was our first comic book, 3 Parts Mad.

What medium do you use? Mainly pen and ink. It can be really controlled or explosive so it always fits my creative mood!

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How would you describe your style? Another tricky question! Versatile, dark, floral, intricate. I’m still working on it so hopefully I’ll have developed a little by this time next year.

What inspires you? Sounds terribly elitist but feeling free or empowered. Living in the Lake District gives me the ability to hike up a mountain whenever I like, I feel most free there and take inspiration from the nature and people around me, everything in its raw state. Seeing other artists succeed motivates me to carry on creating and seeing younger people follow what they want to do, even if it is a risky career makes me remember why I’m doing this. Eastern and tattoo culture is also a massive inspiration, crazy colours, symbols and beautiful deep rooted tradition! Of course, books and magazines are an endless source of inspiration too. My creepy kewpies were drawn after reading The Horror Issue for the billionth time!

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What was it about The Horror issue that inspired you?  The whole atmosphere of the issue is insane, I love it! Dark yet beautiful photo shoots (yo Hannah and Emily), interviews with inspiring artists and the article on eyeball tattooing. Something I really like but could never go through with, eek! Gore gives me the creeps, but anything twisted I love and I tried to show through my creepy kewpies.

Can you tell us about your tattoos? My biggest piece is three peonies on my upper left arm to symbolise the main women in my life and my appreciation for Japanese tattoo, my other is a heart and dagger under my right boob. No meaning for that one, I picked it off a valentines flash sheet but it looks ace and I like how secret it is. I have another heart on my shin with a drawing that my friend did last year, she sadly passed away so this will always be super precious to me! Most people just ask what it is when they see it. I plan on getting lots and lots more, sorry mum.

Can people buy your art?
Yes! I have a Facebook page where you can message me about any piece you like and I’ll give you a price! Or you can find me on my Etsy page which is empty at the mo but keep your eyes peeled for creepy Kewpie prints soon.

The art and tattoos of Sasha Unisex

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to infamous Russian tattoo artist Sasha Unisex about her beginnings in the art world, her tattoo style and collaborations with big bands such as BMW


The art of Sasha Unisex does not go unnoticed, that’s for sure. You just have to take a look at her work to understand that her style differs from others. Chatting to Sasha, I wanted to better understand the artist who resides inside her. Here’s what she told me about her beginning with tattoos… “I graduated from Lviv Academy of Art, in 2010. From that period onwards, I just observed other artists tattooing. I visited many exhibitions as I was very curious and keen to learn this amazing job. 2010 was also the year in which I got tattooed for the first time. Then, I started to do it myself, tattooing little black subjects or words. I have to say my degree in graphic design really helped with my signature style. Yes, it is similar to watercolor as you can see, but with a graphic touch.”


In fact, the lack of black outlines, together with amazing shading effects, gives shape and softness to the final tattoo. Sasha’s works are stunning and are appreciated all over the world. Sweet and original characters are created from Sasha’s mind and are appreciated even from those who don’t usually like tattoos. “I am truly inspired by animals and nature, that’s the reason why most of my tattoos have them as subjects. They are all mostly of the same size… I love the idea that a tattoo can be like an accessory: once you get it, you can never lose it!”


And what about tattoo culture in Russia? “Well, the situation in Russia is still a bit different, compared to Europe or to the USA. Tattooing is not very developed in society, but people of different ages get tattooed. They come to my private studio, they follow me on social networks and I appreciate it a lot. It’s always good and satisfying to remember you are doing what you love and you are doing it in the right way, too.”

Sasha also loves to travel and meet different people and artists, as she compares her background to other realities. She also attended the 20th Milan Tattoo Convention last year, her fist convention out of Russian borders, where she met some of her favourite artists and hundreds of fans! She is now moving to Europe, and we can’t wait to visit her new studio. Talking about travels and love for tattoos, I also wanted to bring the testimony of Valeria, a girl who did not hesitate to fly from Rome in Italy to Russia to meet Sasha.

Valeria's tattoo by Sasha Unisex Valeria’s tattoo by Sasha Unisex


 Valeria: “I think her tattoos are small works of art, that’s why I decided to go all the way to Russia. To me, she is the best tattoo artist in the world, so I decided to fly to Saint Petersburg to get a piece from her!”

How was the whole experience, once you arrived in her studio? Valeria: “It was simply unique! The atmosphere is far from what I am used to and not at all like the snooty tattoo studios you find in Italy/Europe. There, I was greeted by her curious and funny staff, these girls offered me tea and chocolates during the tattoo session. Sasha also offered to lend me her computer so I wouldn’t get bored! In a few words, Sasha is a lovely human being with her feet on the ground, and above all she is very sweet.”


All in all, Sasha is a reserved person who is aware of the substance and value of the art of tattooing. Clients explain their deepest emotions, sometimes connected to a memory, sometimes connected to an emotion. She is a young pioneer in the tattoo world, and I am sure that this kind of innovation can only be positive!


Sasha has also revealed to us that she wants to develop ‘Sasha Unisex brand’, creating clothes, stickers, phone cases and many other products with her printed creatures as protagonists. All of these products will be available on her new website soon.

She also recently connected to BMW, creating a unique design based on one of her favourite animals, the fox. She chose to tattoo a fox on the motorcycle leather seat because of the connection between the BMW S 1000 XR and the animal’s characteristics. Once again, she has been able to push the boundaries of tattoo art and surely this is just the beginning of a long series of great collaborations with worldwide brands.


Sasha for BMW Fox BMW


Stunning make-up inspired by tattoos

Make-up artist Pompberry  has created a collection of stunning make-up looks inspired by tattoo artists, including the likes of Emily Rose Murray and our illustration issue cover star, Danielle Rose.

Make-up inspired by Toni Donaire tattoo

Make-up inspired by Toni Donaire tattoo

Make-up inspired by Danielle Rose Tattoo

Make-up inspired by Danielle Rose tattoo

Make-up inspired by Emily Rose Murray Tattoo

Make-up inspired by Emily Rose Murray tattoo


Check out more of Pompberry’s make-up work on Instagram

House of Butterflies

Justin Taylor and Charlie Lane  are the creators of House of Butterflies, a small online business that sells framed butterflies, moth and beetles. The couple set all of the specimens themselves from their home in Maidstone, Kent. We chatted to Justin and Charlie to find out more about their arty adventures… 

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How did you start House of Butterflies? What do you create?  The House Of Butterflies started from an idea we had at a craft fair, where Charlie was selling prints and original artwork. We thought it would be fun to do something together, we both share a common interest in taxidermy and art so thought why not combine the two. The framed butterflies idea came from Justin’s grandparents house as they have a small collection of framed butterflies hanging in their hall way. We both thought how great they look and wondered if we could make something along the same lines. We sat and researched the idea for a month or so before finally taking the plunge and having a go.

What inspires you? The inspiration for our boxes comes from the idea of preserving something beautiful. They are inspired a lot by the seasons, nature and by things we really like.  We find when we sit and talk about ideas we tend to inspire each other. We try to choose the butterflies or moths first and then try to match the background to them rather than the other way around. The art in general is inspired by the outdoors; gardens, plants and animals.


Do you have a background in art? 
Charlie: Yes, I studied at Maidstone UCA and have a degree in print making. I learnt a lot about etching and I helped with adult courses in a print making studio. I have done a lot of commission work for small businesses, band logos and for special occasions. I spent a couple of years in the tattoo industry working in a couple of small studios.

Where do you source your items from? We source all of our specimens from a entomologist based in the UK. He sources all of his specimens from butterfly farms abroad, people hear “butterfly farm” and usually think how terrible. When actually they are the most ethical way to source specimens, they bring employment to poor areas and stop the practice of wild collecting which has had a devastating affect on some species. Finding an ethical source and supplier was a big thing for us, a lot of time and effort went in to finding the right supplier with the legitimate source.


How do you create them? What is the process? The process is a fairly long one and takes time and patience, we had a few disasters at the beginning. We are completely self taught when it comes to the setting of the butterflies and it was a total case of trial and error. Internet videos make it look easier than it actually is.

The process starts by having to relax the butterfly, moth or beetle as they arrived to us in a dry/closed state. The specimens go into a relaxing tub which has a mild chemical solution in it. The chemical solution breaks down the enzymes in the specimens body making it pliable again. The specimens stay in the relaxing box until the reach this state, once there you can remove them and start the setting process. Opening the specimens is always the most fun part as you get see the true glory of what your setting. We pin the specimen to a setting board, which is a board with a small channel down the centre to hold the specimens body in place when you spread the wings. Then we very carefully pull the wings into the position we want using tweezers and then with strips of wax paper pin the wings so they are secure. We then leave them to dry out again for a number of days, depending on size. Then we unpin the specimen and then you have a set specimen, which is always very rewarding.

The vintage frames we stain ourselves to give them that old look, then we add the vintage artwork and add specimens we think work well with the artwork.


Where can people buy pieces? Do you do commissions? We have a small Etsy shop where people can buy from us, we update regularly with new items as we like to keep a good variety of pieces on there. We can be found on Instagramwhere with have a direct link to our store.

We take on commission work and our always up for a challenge, whether it be artwork or a specific butterfly or a combination of the two, we will always try our best to accommodate.


What are your plans for the future? We are hoping to keep going and maybe expand more, we do a lot of craft stalls, especially in the winter months leading up to Christmas. The big plan is to have a small high street shop where people can come in and browse.


How did you meet? How long have you been together? We met through a mutual friend who Charlie was tattooing, she thought we would get on well, turns out she was right. We had a few dates, realised we shared a lot of common interests and thats about it, and people say romance is dead! We have been together now for two years.

Can you tell us about your tattoos?
My tattoos are a mix of things that remind me of all the places I have lived across the world as a kid, and pattern work that I’m really into. I like the geometric and dot work tattoo styles as it is how I myself draw. I like the work of Vana Chanelle, who has tattooed me a few times, along with Dan Frye who done a stunning traditional style Indian bride on my arm. I have tattooed myself a lot.

Justin: I’m a big fan of traditional style tattoos and love fat lined pieces. I have a lot of skateboard related tattoos as it used to be my favourite past time. I have a bit of a mix of black and grey, traditional colour and pattern work. I have my good friend Ben Griffiths to thank for a lot of my work, also Dan Frye and his partner EJ Miles.


Art Exhibition: Womanstanley 2


Womanstanley 2 is a one-day-only exhibition that celebrates women from the North of England: past, present and future. The brainchild of like-minded artists Sophie New and Roxanne Ball, friends who met at Leeds College of Art and quickly realised that they both wanted to bring the excitement of pop-up, D.I.Y city art exhibitions, to their home.

Womanstanley 2 will take place on 22 August at Warrington Sports Club, Walton Lea Road, Higher Walton, Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 6SJ. The event costs £3. For more information on the event and to RSVP please contact womanstanley@gmail.com

Womanstanley is three years old and so far it has successfully created a platform where creative individuals, living in Warrington and surrounding areas can express themselves, meet like-minded artists and celebrate the talent that is right on the doorstep. It is a space to share creative interests, music and stories with women at the core. Womanstanley started as a legacy to the Women’s Art Revolution and continues to grow as more people become involved, making an exhibition from scratch in a location that is a far cry from a traditional gallery setting.


Investment of Exchange by Sophie New

The exhibitors in Womanstanley 2 have chosen diverse routes, from a royal portrait of Cilla Black by Kim Thackeray, Roxanne Ball’s portrayal of Margery Booth the Wigan ‘Knicker Spy’ to Sarah Harris who gives life to ‘Sylvia the cyst’. A group of five young women from Priestley College who study dance together, join forces to create a piece for camera on Formby Beach.

Work in Progress Cilla Black by Kim Thackeray


Roxanne Ball

Sophie New, a student studying at the Royal College of Art was inspired by an embroidered wedding jacket from Gujarat for one of her core projects. This jacket led her to investigate contemporary ideas surrounding marriage and relationships. Interviews were carried out with the public and she collected personal stories, photographs and embroideries. With this information new images were created and formed fragments of a new piece of clothing, a veil for two people, of any gender, rather than traditionally just for the bride. Sophie New brings this piece from an exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the audience are invited to add their own marriage stories.

Local Warrington town centre group, Dolly’s Sewing School has got involved by making work about the Cockhedge Cotton Mill and members of the Blooming Art group run by exhibiting artist Gail Stubbings are looking into nature / nurture.

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Emily Calland

Womanstanley 2 will also see performances from the soulful singer Bella New, ‘industrial estate based four-piece’, Giest, Bathymetry, an Indie band that sound like ‘night time when it’s raining and you’ve forgotten a hat’ and Hello Mabel, a ‘female acoustic twosome featuring members of Roughneck Riot and Fish Bastard.’

On the day there will be drinks available from the lovely bar staff at the Warrington Sports Club and an arts and crafts stall where exhibiting artists will be selling all sorts of items ranging from Rosa Silva’s swimwear, Cat Stroud’s satirical gender identity zine to Michelle Price of Kleinemaus’  handmade pencil cases.

Other artists exhibiting include; Beth Davenport, Cameron Brown, Lotte Anne, Natalie Wardle, Alex Dodgson, Lucy Hurst, Lauren Muir, Alanna Heston, Laura Jane, Rachel Haney, Julia Pantkowska, Saffa Khan Isobel Harrop Liz Hough, Tilly Dagnall, Karly McCaig, Becca Hunter, Mary Dickinson, John Dickinson, Jim Williamson, Gordon Firth, Rebecca Smith, Claire Hill, Melpomene, Abbi Hughes and last but not least Womanstanley’s Social media specialist Hayley Reid.

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Womanstanley 2 poster, by Emily Calland

The Art of Alex Gross

Alex Gross is an LA based artist who creates incredible oil paintings that often explore the themes of globalisation, commercialism and beauty. His works suggest that in the world we live in, it is impossible to escape consumerist and media pressures.

Memory Fragments, 2015, oil on canvas, 40.25 x 53.5 inches

Candy Crush | Oil on Canvas | 48.25” x 33.5″ | 2014

Selfie | Oil on Canvas | 22” x 15″ | 2014

Come to where the flavor is. | Oil on Panel | 20.5” x 18” | 2010

Original Sin | Oil on Canvas | 54” x 56” | 2011

Siren | Oil on panel | 28″ x 45″ | 2004

Lessons in drag

Anyone who thought that drag wasn’t worthy of being called ‘art’ have been proved very wrong… The UK has become the first country ever to offer a module in the art of drag queens and kings as part of the performing arts, dance and drama degree at Edge Hill University in Lancashire.  The module will include how to perfect a lip sync, the use of makeup and costume, comedy and general stage performance.  Theories surrounding gay, lesbian and transgender activism will also be included.

American drag queen superstar, Ru Paul

The senior lecturer of the course, Mark Edwards was in charge of pushing the module forward.

“This module not only explores drag as a highly camp performance art, it also engages with complex gender, feminist and queer theory to explore the social and political implication of ‘doing gender’ in performance. Drag as a performance art form has seen a relative decline in the past decade, yet there are new and exciting emerging forms coming through which makes this module all the more relevant to performance contexts. There’s a lot more to drag studies than wigs, make-up and high heels!”

 Trixie Mattel with British drag queen, Meth who also runs the London drag night, The Meth Lab

This groundbreaking step forward for the LGBT community comes in the same month as the closure of infamous pub, The Black Cap which used to host The Meth Lab – one of the most popular drag nights in London.  Last week saw a large protest outside the venue with many famous faces of the drag community rallying together to prove their undying love for this iconic venue. Paul McGill, owner of Camden securities which agreed terms on the pub in December stated, “It’s a site of historical value, we understant that. We feel we are saving it as a venue, not destroying it.” Only time will tell if McGill holds any truth in what he says!

 Female drag star, Tete Bang who was a long running performer at The Black Cap.