Tagged: art

Exhibition: Exit Voto

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to Rossana Calbi the curator of Exit Voto, the latest exhibition at Parione9 in Rome, on until August, 7th…

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More than 100 artists were involved in Rossana’s Exit Voto, and among them are some talented Italian tattooists including Miss Juliet, Diletta Lembo and Morg Armeni.

Everyone of the chosen artists had the task of recreating a holy picture on paper. They were all completely free from any obligation or limitations, Rossana simply choose the theme and the medium.

As you may already know, ex-voto is an offering given in order to fulfil a vow, normally the offerings are given to saints or divinities in gratitude or devotion (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, “from the vow made”).
Rossana played with this ancient term to show a way that we can exit or enter the holiness that can be found in the everyday, and a way to explore other’s affinities with the divine.

diletta lembo_santa felicitaWhen did the idea of this ambitious project come to you, how did it evolve to become what it is now exposed in the Roman gallery?
The theme of the representation of holiness has interested me for a long time. In 2011 I curated the exhibition Carpe Viam in Elsa Morante multi-functional complex of Rome, in that case the idea was to understand the artistic representation of holiness along the way. In that project were artists who have also been involved in EXIT VOTO, Marianna Pisanu and Pelin Santilli. Following Virgil’s admonition, carpe viam, I embarked on this journey and last year I decided to work with a hundred artists that could reinvent the holy pictures that I saw in the drawers of my grandmother’s home.

Have you commissioned a representation of each saint, giving total control to the artist or have you given them some guidelines? The only instructions I give when curating an exhibition is the theme, format, and in this case the medium- paper. What interests me and what I think is gripping is the development of each project, I love to see how each artist evolves the theme with different techniques and perspectives.

lucrezia U_santa vitalia_low
When did you decide to include tattooists and not just artists or painters? I do not make a distinction between the arts: cartoonists, illustrators, painters and tattoo artists for me are always just artists. I work without categorising the expression and choices of any artist.

What is your personal relationship with the faith?
I need to believe in something greater than me, I need to do this because I need a warning and above all hope.

And with the art of tattooing?
I was interested in the tattoo world when I was younger. I’m always very curious to see the pictures and study the ties they have with the people. Tattooing represents the evolution of symbols on the skin. Understanding the choices and the need to have a mark on the skin means you understand a lot about the individual and also of the group.

miss juliet_santa gertrude di nivelles

I personally think that tattooing is an act of faith, about trusting yourself. Deciding to change your body, to explore a feeling or taking control of your body, is an important gesture. What do you think about it? Do you have any tattoos?  I got a tattoo of a lily when I was 18, and I never liked the result. The ink exploded transforming the design into something poorly defined. It took me years to trust a tattoo artist again. Well, I chose Nicoz Balboa to cover the tattoo on my shoulder with another lily, that should have been there in the first place.

Zoe Lacchei_The Penitent Magdalene_low

What is the Exit Voto that represents you the most? The holy picture that struck me the most is the ‘Maddalena Penitente (Penitent Magdalene)’ by Zoe Lacchei. As I said before I do not give guidance on the realisation of the work, but Zoe Lacchei heard what I was trying to produce with the title. But there are also works that I have enjoyed and that can eliminate the heaviness of my spirit, including the ‘Saint Honoré’ painting by Riccardo Bucchioni.

Thoughts on the 2016 Brighton Tattoo Convention by a Man with no Tattoos

Writer Harry Casey-Woodward has no tattoos, yet he found himself accompanying his tattoo-loving wife to the Brighton Tattoo Convention on 1st May. These are his impressions…


Tattoos are a part of my life, but not directly. Both my sister and my wife are tattoo enthusiasts. My wife currently has eleven tattoos and she’s getting another one this summer. I’ve lost count of how many my sister has (and so has she!)

I don’t feel any burning desire to get tattoos for myself, but I can’t help sharing in the excitement my wife feels when she’s arranging a new tattoo or when we’re on our way to getting one. I have accompanied her for nearly all her tattoos and although the process looks uncomfortable and painful, the end result pleases her deeply and that’s enough for me.

Although I can’t decide on an image I’d like enough to have etched into my skin, I admire the sheer amount of images tattooists are able to imagine and illustrate on paper and skin. I especially respect the skill behind them after sitting through several sessions and watching art gradually blossom on my wife’s body.


This year’s Brighton Tattoo Convention was a fine exhibition of such skills. Being the first big tattoo event I’ve attended, I felt a little alienated; like a bare-skinned astronaut amongst a strange multi-coloured race. Excessive similes aside, I mostly felt like I was at a living, breathing art gallery. But never did I feel the threat and suspicion that some people feel when confronted with tattoos. It certainly would have been my grandparents’ idea of hell!

On the other hand, I wonder if the event itself felt like a big inky cocoon for tattoo lovers, a haven where they could indulge in ink without being judged by outsiders. There was certainly a lack of shame in the human body, as people whipped out bare flesh to get tattooed in the cramped stalls while throngs of onlookers streamed past.

In fact, the closeness of the stalls heightened the impression of a close tattooed community within the spacious bosom of the Brighton Centre. Tattooists and tattoo lovers alike were mingling and chatting and generally appeared to be having a good time. Even a few people getting inked looked to be in some cat-like state of relaxation. The whole event oozed excited but chilled vibes.


It was also amazing to see such a range of tattoos and yet everybody had their own style, from traditional fantasy-themed art to swearing cats. It was cool to see different methods of tattooing too, like the Ta Moko stall and one lady hand-poking an octopus on somene’s leg.

The event still hasn’t convinced me to get a tattoo, despite my wife’s nagging, and she was sad not to get one since booking lists that day had been eagerly filled. But we had a cool day out in the unbeatable joy land of Brighton. My wife also got fresh tattoo ideas and collected many cards from new tattooists she met and liked, which now make a nice collage on our notice board.

Photos by James Gilyead

Oh Bones Illustration

25-year-old Brit is an illustrator, writer and musician from London. We chatted to Brit about her dark gothic archaeology inspired drawings and her tattoos…


Inspired by Things&Ink Brit created this self portrait just for us…

Drink things and ink
Do you have a background in art? How and when did you start drawing? I don’t have a background in art at all, I began drawing at university when I was studying archaeology – In the labs we had to draw the artefacts and bones. It was there I noticed that my drawings were good and not going so badly.  I then graduated and moved to Amsterdam to do an MA in archaeology and I started drawing for an hour a day and thought, this is much better than being in a library studying. So I didn’t do the MA and continued drawing instead!

What inspires you? Being an archaeologist inspired me the most because I spent years researching the human psyche and behaviour throughout time. My speciality is death and burial, and I guess that often comes across in my art work. I also love poetry, which inspires my art quite a lot and along with every illustration, I write a poem.

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What medium do you use? How do you create each piece? I use both digital and non-digital. I love using fine line pens and Indian ink to create my work. I like things to be imperfect because that way you seen the human in it.

What kinds of things do you draw? Usually I will draw people, disembodied limbs, plants – anything really. I almost always draw around a poem or song I’ve written, to give some visuals to my other artwork in my music and writing. I like it all to be one big art piece – audio, visual and written.

Describe your style? Tailored, black, kind of like an old fashioned 1920’s boy!

i did so much for you

Do you admire any other artists, do they influence your work? I usually admire artists whose work is nothing like mine! It’s nice to clear my head of anything remotely like my work now and again, so I really like the work of Gordon Armstrong and Robert Saeheng they’re really great. But I also like old school artists like Patti Smith, her word work really inspires me in my own poetry and in-turn in the art I create around the words.

Can you tell us about your tattoos? I don’t have too many tattoos, definitely under 30 but most of them I love, even though some of them are definitely bad prison style ones. I have some plants, pinky promise hands, trouble making pigeons, dead fish, skulls, love letters, words. Everything! My first one was was just a small one on my foot in Hebrew, nothing too interesting!


How do tattoos make you feel?
My tattoos mean a lot, I’m sure a lot of people say that. Because most of my work is visual, it’s a way that I express myself, so I really do try and add some depth to the things I get tattooed! But sometimes you have so many tattoos there’s only so much meaning behind all of them – some don’t mean a whole lot, but there’s always a good memory behind getting it tattooed.

Do you do commissions? I do commissions, I do ink originals and screen prints for sale on my shop, but I also do a lot of album cover work, tattoo designs and logo designs.

i need space

Where can people buy your art? They can head over to ohbones.com and find my shop that way, I will be stocking up for the summer soon, so there’ll be some new T shirts and badges!

Art Love: Douglas Hale

We’re obsessed with artist Douglas Hale after discovering him on Instagram. He creates clever collages that play with imagery he has found, colour and symbolism. Hale uses contemporary graphic styles to produce fantasy landscapes and unusual profiles. His artwork creates beautifully strange scenarios and often features well-known faces…

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

Harem Aria

Harem Aria



Diana Ross

Diana Ross

Dawn Richard Album Art

Dawn Richard album art

Head to douglashale.net to view more

Jessica Gutteridge Illustration

 22-year-old Jessica Gutteridge is a student and illustrator from York, UK. We chatted to Jessica about her dark gothic film inspired drawings and her tattoos…


Inspired by Things&Ink Jessica created a tattooed Tiger Lily just for us… 

things and ink tiger

Do you have a background in art? How and when did you start drawing? I’ve been drawing all of my life, but up until I was seventeen I wasn’t very good at it. I took graphic design, illustration, fine art and photography at college, where I was able to develop my drawings to a stage where I could draw a realistic figure. I applied for a fine art course at university because I knew there would be no boundaries to artwork I made. I’ve found with fine art they really push you to not do illustration, so I keep my university work very separate to the illustrated prints I put out into the world. Weirdly I never though I wanted to be a full time artist even with taking all those creative subjects, only until I created my online store Jgdrawings in 2014.

What inspires you? I absolutely love everything gothic, mythical and mystical, especially in films! I’d say film culture is my biggest inspiration, along with the tattoo world. I’ve always loved films and especially the old ones like Beetle Juice, Lost Boys, monster squad…anything before 1999. When I started illustrating my family and friends always said my designs would make great tattoos, I guess that was what made me realise my style of drawing and where I find inspiration from. I tend to always be attracted to colourful pieces of art and tattoos but always draw black and white pieces and get black and white tattoos!.

beetlejuice smaller uality

What medium do you use? How do you create each piece?  I always use pen or black ink to draw my illustrations, but as of this year I’ve started to branch out and create art using other mediums I love, such as acrylic paint, watercolour and embroidery. When creating a piece I start making shapes using pencil to get a composition/scale going, then I use pen for all the finer details. A fine marker for lines and then usually a 0.2-0.5 ink pen tip for the detail and dots. I love crossing dotwork with watercolour, you get the fine cluster of detail from the dots with the wash of colour poking out! Everything I do is hand drawn and then I edit it on photoshop. I’ve started also doing needlepoint and sewing little characters, it’s a medium I touched on at university and really enjoyed.

What kinds of things do you draw? I draw whatever I’m inspired by, whether that be a character from a film, to flowers, animals, mandalas, palmistry bits. I follow popular culture and if anything pops up that speaks to me, I go with it. Yesterday I sat on a plane watching Peter Pan and needed to draw a Tiger Lily character, that same day I read through the Love copy of Things & Ink and needled to draw myself some lovey dovey bits! I am always open to anything so custom projects are perfect, I’ve drawn logos, website bits, present prints, cards and family portraits for customers and its great!


Describe your style, has it changed? In drawing I’ve always used pen. My style is still quite gothic with the characters I draw, the black and white print but just of late I’ve wanted to branch out with new content that I’m getting into. I want to make more pieces with colour, I love the shades of acrylic paint I have so really positive, bright illustrations would definitely be a huge change.

Do you admire any other artists, do they influence your work?  The artists I get inspiration from are feminists such as Louise Bourgeois and Sarah Lucas, but when it comes to me physically drawing I get my inspiration from tattooists. Instagram is a great platform to view art constantly, keep up to date with my biggest inspirations in the tattoo world such as Alex Bage, Cassandra Frances Arianna Fusini, James Armstrong, Thomas Bates, Mister Paterson. Obviously there are so many more, but every time I see a new upload I just want to grab my pens and doodle all day. Definitely yes, I’d say they influence my work in the sense I want to also get to their level of mastering a craft, or more so style.

tiger print

Can you tell us about your tattoos? What was your first, do you still love it? How do they make you feel?  I have three in total, a big leg piece right on the shin, a cobweb on my shoulder and a pair of plastic Halloween fangs on my arm! The fangs were my first tattoo and I absolutely love it, it reminds me constantly of my favourite time of the year. I got it when I was 19 and it’s still in great condition, it was the perfect time for me to get a tattoo and I love to show it off. My tattoos make me feel great, like I have a style of art which I am passionate about forever on my skin.

Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your art? I certainly do! My art is all available on my big cartel Jgdrawings, where I sell pre-made art prints, custom one off prints, t-shirts, tote bags, embroidery pieces and stitched dolls. For commissions and any other enquiries I am always reachable at jessicalgutteridge@gmail.

Morg Armeni Solo Art Show

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti attended the opening night of artist and tattooist Morg Armeni’s first solo art show in Rome. Ilaria chatted to Morg about the art she has showcased and the process behind it… 


Morg’s gallery of artwork title ‘Morgasmatron_redemption through delight’ has been curated by Marta Bandini and Elettra Bottazzi, at Parione9 in Rome. The exhibition displays some of her most recent works and some of her deepest emotions.
In fact, Morg portrays her journey through life, love and suffering, while giving the feminine figure a new role.
The skills in detailed paintings and the refined technique allowed the artist to play with different materials: oils on canvas but also on wood and thin paper.I think every person could relate to one piece more than to one other, but they were all connected to me, from the least to the most recent.


How do you feel when you start a new painting? And when you finish it?
When I start painting I feel like I’m in a round room with many doors that I can open, behind each of them is a world of meanings and symbols for me to use. It’s the feeling of having infinite possibilities.When it comes to the end I feel like a mother taking care of her child. If everything I have created is in its right place, I feel at peace but I am also inspired to create my next piece.

What piece of work, that you have shown in the gallery, best represents you?Probably the work that represents me and how I am now is The Creator. Undoubtedly because it is the last oil work I’ve painted and also because it touches the issue that I want to always keep in mind. We are the creators of our present, and we can go beyond our difficulties or the feelings of fear of sadness that limit us. We can become again our sacred temple of love, for ourselves and for life, creating our present and, consequently, the future in the most natural and harmonious way.

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Do you find painting therapeutic? I find that facing your own ideas and convictions, represented in a figurative way, through painting, often puts me in front of sides of myself that I would not otherwise see. The hours I spend in solitude painting, often means I realise that I have some unresolved issues that I need to work on. This is very therapeutic for me. Often, looking retrospectively at my paintings makes me see more clearly the emotional situations that I’m going through and my growth, or at least the direction that I’m pursuing.

Springtime #3_LR

How important is to be yourself and get literally naked for art?
I think it’s everything, but I also believe that it is a time consuming process. Initially, when your painting technique is immature, you need to  take inspiration from the great masters and sometimes imitation can distort your own style and nature. With time we can break away from this and this is how we find our true selves. I believe this is the most real art expression.

Morg’s solo show is at Parione 9 until 17th April

 Photos by Diana Bandini

The Art of Oleg Dou

Oleg Dou a Russian artist who uses photography as a medium for his work, creates sad yet beautiful pieces of art. Oleg concentrates on old classical facial shapes mixing them with real world objects to create multi-textured works which often shock and produce fearful responses in his audiences. 


Sketch for the “Sometimes it is sad”


Sketch for the Butterfly




Sketch for The Bird 




Paper 2

Illustration: Melly Em Clark

24-year-old Melly Em Clark is an full time illustrator from Lincoln, UK. We chatted to Melly about her art based around themes of feminism, fashion and body positivity… 


Inspired by Things&Ink Melly created a tattooed babe just for us… 

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Do you have a background in art? How and when did you start drawing? It’s hard to remember when I started drawing as it feels like something I’ve always done! I was encouraged from an early age to be creative by both my parents and my schools-school provided great projects and my parents always took me to creative activities outside of school, so I’ve always been motivated to make things. While I struggled in other subjects, art always felt fun and something I was confident doing- it was only when I was nearing my GCSEs that it occurred to me that I could make art for a living. I studied Illustration at the University of Lincoln and graduated in 2013, and last May I took the plunge into full time self employment! While at times, I feel limited by Art being my only strength, my love for drawing is still strong and I still find it incredibly fun!

What inspires you? Content-wise, I am inspired by inter-sectional feminism and pop culture. There are many feminist artists, writers and creatives that I look up to, and strive to be like-this is always a drive of mine when creating new work. Like most people, I’m constantly devouring films, books, television and social media, and can find inspiration from any and all of these. Style wise, I love 20th century fashion illustration by artists such as Rene Gruau and Lucia Lerner. While I don’t agree with a lot of the messages portrayed in mid century advertising, the vivid colour schemes and sense of playfulness are always something I try to recreate in my work. Contemporary artists I admire are Jon Klassen, Grayson Perry, Johnny Hannah and Meg Hunt.



What medium do you use? How do you create each piece?  My work is predominantly digital-I start by hand drawing each piece, taking time to draw each section separately and arranging them together in Photoshop. Then comes the process of colouring in the piece digitally. I used to paint every piece by hand and simply edit in Photoshop, and while now I work in digital techniques, I still like to keep the texture of paintings, and include a lot of hand painted textures in each piece. As I have a tiny studio, working digitally works better for me, but I still like to crack out the paintbrushes once in a while and I love supporting artists that continue to work in traditional mediums.


What kinds of things do you draw? This can really vary- most of my work focuses on themes of body positivity, but I’ve also made pieces based around themes like baking, fashion trends and inspirational quotes. I try to keep my work feeling positive and playful, whatever the content. I design prints to sell in my Etsy store, but my ‘bread and butter’ comes from custom artwork, which can vary from family portraits to logo design, so my drawings can differ daily!

Your illustrations focus on body positivity is this something you like to advocate? Body positivity is something very close to heart. Like many people, I’ve spent many years hating my appearance, and my general outlook on life has improved since learning to love myself. As I can struggle to articulate my thoughts into words, I started to create artwork that expressed a body positive theme-my first ‘bo po’ illustration was a piece entitled You Don’t Need Abs To Be Fab. Once made, I posted it online and the reaction was bigger than I could have expected. Since then. I’ve aimed to make art that helps people feel better about themselves, even if only in a tiny way. I know so many wonderful people who advocate a body positive lifestyle, and I’m definitely inspired by them. I think we all deserve to feel great about ourselves and love our bodies, and it’s important to me to get that onto paper.


Can you tell us about your tattoos? What was your first, do you still love it? How do they make you feel? I have eleven tattoos in total, my first was just before I turned 21. To symbolise my Irish heritage, I got a small claddagh design on the inside of my wrist. Since then, I’ve embraced the idea that tattoos don’t have to have a story behind them, and have covered myself in tattoos with no tale or theory behind them. Over three years, the quality of my first tattoo isn’t great and I would love to have it reworked-it’s a simple line drawing and I would love for it to be more intricate and colourful. My biggest tattoos are floral designs, but I have a few other pieces, including a kraken taking down a ship, heart finger tattoos, a stag, a fox, a kewpie, and an Adventure Time inspired tattoo, all of which I’m still head over heels with!

Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your art? Most of my custom artwork operates via my Etsy store where I have listings for personalised portraits, business design packages and invitation design, as well as my pre-made art prints. Alternatively, I can be reached at mellyemclark@gmail.com for commission enquiries!

Follow Melly on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr for body positive art work…