Tagged: blackwork

Interview with Tattooist Mike Love

26-year-old hand poke tattoo artist Mike Love works out of Black Market Tattoo Parlour in Leicester and Second City Tattoo Club in Birmingham, where he creates bold and solid blackwork tattoos. We chat to Mike about his process, how he started tattooing and his guest spot plans…

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How long have you been tattooing? I’m in my third year of tattooing. I am a self taught hand poke tattooer, before this I was body piecer for around four years, there I completed a more traditional style apprenticeship. I have pretty much spent my adult life being in a tattoo shop. 

What drew you to the tattoo world? The idea and practise of self expression. In my late teen years I became massively depressed, after seeking a lot of help I really started to find myself. The things that kept me going and made me happy were tattoos and piercing. I approached a local shop about a piercing apprenticeship and from then on my life was changed. From piercing my love eventually blossomed into tattooing. I discovered hand poke tattooing and was totally transfixed by it. The process mesmerised me. Creating a tattoo by hand from one dude to another was for me. 

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Has your style of tattooing changed? What do you love to tattoo? My style of tattooing has changed and still is changing. To be honest I think it changes slightly each day. I mean everyday I try to improve what I do and learn whatever I can. But that’s what I love about tattooing, it will never be perfect. It will always stay true to what it is, yet we evolve as tattooers everyday. 

When I started tattooing I did a lot more of the typical ‘hand poke’ and more ignorant styled work, but this wasn’t me. Traditional tattooing has always had my heart and that’s what I love to see and have tattooed.  I work real hard everyday to be inspired by what I love and create bold and solid pieces that will stand the test of time. For me I love to tattoo anything that’s bold and black. I am constantly creating a lot flash, which is typically inspired by classic traditional flash or pop culture. 

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Can you tell us about your set up and the process behind your tattoos? I tattoo by hand, my set up is very minimal. I like to keep it simple and disposable. No bullshit. I hand make each tool for every tattoo combining a chopstick and a tattoo needle. I only ever tattoo in black and I keep my process vegan. 

I am very much into the technical aspect of tattooing. I am all about learning and creating a solid well lined, bold, clean and nicely shaded tattoo. Tattooing by hand is typically a really calming and relaxing process, I gently push the ink into the skin by hand using the needle. There is a lot less trauma to the skin, which typically means the tattoo heals faster and for a lot of people this can be an easier process to sit for. It also doesn’t have to take a long time which some people think it can. Typically a palm size tattoo would roughly only take a couple of hours. 

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What inspires you? Are there any artists that influence your work? Man, I am inspired everyday. Whether it’s current events, or things happening in the city that I live in. But you know what, I have so many artists that inspire and influence me, and that I look up to, I wouldn’t be able to list them all. In both shops I work in, there are incredible people and talented artists, which inspire me daily. Tattooing is my life, so most of my close friends and my partner are tattooists, so we talk tattooing a lot and try to influence and  constructively help each other. 

Can you tell us a little about your own tattoos and your style? You know, I just love tattooing. So when I was young and dumb I would have pretty much had anything and everything. Which now has left me with limited space. I don’t regret what I got though, but when I do get tattooed now I really like to get tattooed by people I really look up to and really love what they are about. So normally I chose from their flash, or get a piece they really like, as that way I feel I get a tattoo that really represents that artist. 

Trading with another tattooer is probably my favourite way to get tattooed now. I find it a great way to learn and share a cool experience with another tattooist. 

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Do you have any conventions or guest spots planned? I normally guest in another shop every month, whether it be the UK or abroad, this is one of my absolute favourite things to do in tattooing. Traveling and meeting phenomenal artists drives me to be a technically better tattooer.  Currently for the rest of this year I do not have any conventions planned, but my next coming guest spots are at One For All Collective in Manchester late August and Seny Tatttoo in Barcelona late September. I am currently taking bookings for both of these via Instagram or email.

Mental Health Hearts By Callum Glover

23-year-old tattooist Callum Glover works out of Black Craft in Wakefield and Secret Society in Hartlepool and Brighton, where he creates blackwork tattoos. We chat to Callum about the hearts filled with positive messages, that he tattoos to raise money for mental health charity MIND and his own struggles with mental health…

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I got into tattooing after I had  been to college doing non art related courses and after working poorly paid jobs with little job satisfaction. I had been tattooed a few times with pretty poor tattoos before I started tattooing. But I just loved getting tattooed, so I remember going to get tattooed by a guy in his house (cringe)! This guy happened to become my best friend, he showed me a tattoo machine, asked if I’d like a try, so I did, I tattooed a small tribal design on a piece of fake skin made out of rubber. The tattoo was awful, the machine was cheap but I was hooked from then on. I’ve never been good at keeping quiet or staying still, or being told what to do, and with tattooing I saw an opportunity to do something that I’d be happy doing for the rest of my life.

So I looked and looked for around two years for an apprenticeship, all the while improving my art work, trying to find my style, which I’m still doing! I found my apprenticeship and the rest is history as they say.

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What drew me to the tattoo world was properly experiencing the tattoo world. I remember being an apprentice not knowing if I could make it as a tattoo artist, wondering if it was for me or if I fit in. Until I went to my first tattoo convention, as soon as I entered my mind was set to rest, I remember thinking this is it, this is my world, it’s where I feel at home.

Tattooing helped me so much, I could have turned out so differently, due to the struggles I’ve been through, but it’s been there for me and gave me something to get lost in. I’ve done a lot of tattoos, a lot I’m super proud of, but the ones that mean the most to me are the mental health heart tattoos I do.

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I remember where the idea came from, I myself have severe depression and anxiety and I’ve suffered for years. It’s ruined so many friendships and relationships in my life and it’s took me to some dark places. I remember having a really bad few days, where I just shut myself away, I was bitter and nasty, I thought I was a lost cause. Until I managed to drag myself through, with the help of a friend.

In the moments that followed, I decided I didn’t want to get to that point again, not only that, but I wanted to help others. So I designed a bunch of hearts, with positive messages inside. It is sometimes hard to take help from a person, and it’s usually the best option to help someone else to help themselves.

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That’s what these tattoos are, my customers come and pick from my designs or we create a personal message for them together. That way when they feel low they have a permanent reminder from themselves that ‘it’s okay to not be okay’ and ‘you are enough’.

If I was hoping to spread a message, then I think the message would be ‘you are not alone’. No matter how you feel, you are not on your own, help someone help you, reach out, seek help. I want to share love and positivity with every single one of these tattoos. Every single one I do helps both my customer and myself with the daily struggles that mental health issues bring.

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I believe that we can all do more to help those in need, show love, show compassion and show understanding. Just listen, any of these things could save someone’s life – I know from experience. So I’d say the best way to help is to pay attention, notice the signs and just be there for that person.

Interview with Gaston Tonus

25-year-old guest writer Jessica Miorini chats to Gaston Tonus, an Argentinian tattoo artist based in Germany, as she gets tattooed in his private studio. Between a thigh piece and a Fritz-Kola, they chat about his unique graphic style, his inspirations and his background as a tattoo artist…

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It’s a long way from Argentina to Wiesbaden, both physically and culturally. What brought you here? Here, in Europe, I believe I can express myself better. People give me the freedom to tattoo these crazy things on them and this gives me the greatest satisfaction.

What made you want to become a tattoo artist? I first approached tattooing as I wanted to get tattooed myself. This was 20 years ago in Argentina, where I started to build my own machines and experiment with them. You’ll have to imagine a completely different industry, where there weren’t too many machines available and still a strong stigma attached to tattoos.

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How would you define your style? I would define it as graphic blackwork. It’s also sketchy and dark, but it has something more personal to it.

Among graphic tattooers, your artwork has a distinctive identity. What is your style most influenced by? The work of other tattoo artists, especially here in Europe, has definitely had a big impact on my art. My stylistic influences come from a lot of different places, from painters and cartoonists, like Caravaggio, Dürer, Mark Ryden, Alberto Breccia and H. R. Gige, to film directors, like Kubrick, Lynch, Cronenberg and Hitchcock. Music also plays an important role, there are bands that take me to a dreamland, like Tool, A Perfect Circle and Deftones, among others. I tend to mix all these different inputs together and translate them into tattoos.

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 Your works include traits of both surrealism and dark naturalism. Where do you draw your inspiration from? I find inspiration in almost all things, from nature, dreams and places, to people and buildings. I love tattooing animals, I’m a vegetarian as well, and I’m deeply inspired by nature, plants and birds, as well as manmade objects. I like to mix them, merge animals and faces, and come up with some strange and crazy combinations.

 Do you prefer to tattoo your own flash or enjoy the whole custom-made process more? Most of the time I prefer to tattoo my own pieces, as I invest so much energy and time in drawing them. But if the client’s idea speaks to me and we’re like-minded, it can turn into something even more beautiful, as this exchange of ideas and thoughts can spark my creativity even more.

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What are your favourite pieces that you’ve tattooed so far? I put too much of myself in each single piece to choose one. They all have a unique history or meaning, which will end up being completely different from my clients’.

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Finally, how has your art evolved and what further direction do you see yourself taking in the future? When I started, almost 20 years ago in Argentina, there weren’t many styles and techniques to choose from. You had magazines full of mainly tribal and traditional tattoos, and that’s what I started tattooing. With time, I started to draw more, I studied graphic design and decided to focus on my own artwork.

I never stop, I love spending my time drawing all day in my studio to make better tattoos every day. I keep pushing myself to improve and always keep an eye open for new things that might tickle my imagination. I always hope I will get to know new people, make good friends all around Europe and keep sharing experiences and good times with clients and colleagues.

Interview with Tattooist Laura Gascoyne

21-year-old Laura Gascoyne works out of Never Say Die in Croydon London where she creates black dot work and pattern tattoos. We chatted to Laura about what inspires her, how she started in the industry her own tattoo collection…

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Photo taken by Nick Evans

How long have you been tattooing? How did you start? In September 2014 I popped into Never Say Die on a friend’s recommendation. Originally I thought they may just offer me a receptionist position but after seeing my portfolio Kali (the shop owner) offered me an apprenticeship. I was over the moon! I did my first tattoo about six months later and have steadily progressed since then. I’m obviously still learning, as with art and tattooing I believe you never stop learning, but I have recently become more confident with my skills and am building up a decent client basis.

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What did you do before? Do you have a background in art? I’ve always been passionate about art since I was a little kid and always knew I wanted a career in art. After completing my GCSEs, I went on to study art at a college but dropped out after a term, as I felt like the things they were teaching me in college weren’t helping me to progress.

How would you describe your style? How has it developed? Where do you see it going? That’s a really hard one to answer! Before I started tattooing I specialised in drawing realistic portraits and then went on to start drawing lots of mandalas. However once I started my apprenticeship I began with tattooing quite simple mandalas which progressed to more pattern styled work. However as a custom artist I get asked to design and tattoo all sorts of things, which I love because it really helps expand my drawing skills and pushes me out of my comfort zone.  Generally everything I draw is quite pretty and lots of patterns and dot work.

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What inspires you? Everything! Whether it be a pattern on an old tile in a bathroom, or a tattoo made my someone else, we are constantly surrounded by art work and patterns and I really see the beauty in everything, especially nature. I’m very much inspired by Tibetan and oriental style patterns and I love tattooing Thai ornamental patterns. Although I haven’t tattooed that many, I do love tattooing beautiful woman, and a lot of my large scale drawings have a woman’s face as the main feauture.

Do you admire any artists? Do they influence your work? Even before I started my apprenticeship, rather than being inspired by painters and fine artists I was always just looking at tattoos for inspiration. On Instagram 90% of the pages I follow are tattoo artists, I won’t pick out any names in particular because there’s just so many who I admire so much! Of course everything I see has the ability to influence my work in some way, as my work is a combination of everything I’ve ever seen and felt, and everything that has inspired me.

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What kinds of things do you like to tattoo and draw? If I’m just let loose in my sketch book I find myself drawing very detailed and patterned orientated large scale pieces, with a very spiritual and symbolic feel about them. I am a very spiritual and positive person myself so that’s the sort of thing I would like to predominately tattoo on people, as for me tattooing is all about sharing my art work and spreading messages though art.

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Can you tell us about your own tattoos?  So my right leg is basically a sticker book of random tattoos given as gifts and just spontaneous ones, and a fair amount of tattoos I’ve done on my self. My left arm is for tattoos I’ve put more thought into, all just black ink and quite dark, but all revolved around the beauty in nature and positivity. I have a few small random tattoos dotted about, included a handpocked unalome on my ear, a smiley face on one of my finger tips, and the seed of of life on the back of my neck. I have a full back piece in progress which so far has just been four sessions of solid black work.

Sonia Kolner Illustration

24-year-old Sonia Kolner is an illustrator and retail worker based in Oakland California. We chatted to Sonia about her dark illustrations, what inspires her and her tattoo collection… 

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Inspired by Things&Ink  Sonia created this illustration just for us…

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What medium do you use? How do you create each piece? I use mainly crowquill for my pen and ink work. I also work on printmaking from time to time, mostly consisting of lithography. I create each piece digitally and traditionally. The end result is always fully traditional, however I like to collage digitally beforehand. It makes planning a lot quicker and I can scan/scale elements easily. I am committed to the idea of being a pro at Photoshop slowly but surely.

What do you like to draw? I love drawing anything anatomy related, eyes, patterns, distorted or conjoined things. I also find comfort in drawing nature such as flowers, and of course snakes and bats.

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What inspires you? Really, really good music. I would say a lot of creative people whether it’s other artists, musicians, skaters, writers, etc. Also, any other unique beings who have their own style, tastes and opinions that I find to be inspiring and good to converse with. A few of my close friendships inspire me, as I find myself getting into unexpected deep conversations with them about life, death, trust, and everything in between. Often what inspires me as well is other people’s stories. I always treasure when someone trusts me enough to open up about their suffering and or other personal things. Because it’s an extreme challenge, those small moments inspire me and I hold them dearly. Other than that I would say last but not least, nature, animals, and old school Japanese art. The list could go on!

How would you describe your style? Organized chaos. Visually and emotionally.

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Are there any other artists that you admire, do they influence your work? Of course. My current favorites are Suehiro Maruo and Junji Ito. I love both artists work because of not only their talent, but also the psychological twists to their pieces and stories. I enjoy art that’s intriguing and leaves me wondering. I never liked comics, but Junji Ito’s Uzumaki series is gory, emotionally haunting and nothing short of brilliant. Besides them, about two years ago I used to have a long list of artists, but now I find I get most of my inspiration from old books, music, and certain conversations.

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Can you tell us about your own tattoos? I have quite a few so I’ll just talk about my two most recent ones that I drew and designed that mean the most to me. I got conjoined Japanese Noh Masks in June, done by Arielle Coupe. In September I got a chrysanthemum done by Michael Deschenes. The tattoos are on the same forearm, one in the front and the other in the back, close to the elbow. Both of them are super talented and translated my drawings onto skin seamlessly. I’m planning to get a snake that sort of intertwines itself among these two current tattoos.

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What drives you to create work that draws upon the motifs and the style of tattooing? Pen and ink stippling/hatching style is my driving force. I like how much dedication and patience it takes.  I never used to think that my work drew upon tattoo motifs, until anyone who saw my work would asked me if I either a) Would design them a tattoo, or b) If I would consider being a tattoo artist. That’s when I started to notice a pattern and blackwork translates quite easily into a tattoo these days.

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Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your work? Absolutely. You can contact me through my website and we can chat. www.soniakolnerillustration.co. You can purchase my work on Society6 https://society6.com/soniakolnerillustration

Shaded: Megan Climaldi

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 22-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people that wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Megan Climaldi is a 19-year-old illustrator and tattoo artist who is currently working and living in Portland, Oregon. Born in Las Vegas and raised in Hawaii, Megan describes herself as an openly-gay half-Korean who is trying her best to be happy and kind. As part of Things&Ink’s on-going feature ‘Shaded’, Megan opens up about her personal relationship with art, Portland’s tattoo community and her attraction to the darker side of things.

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Can you tell me about your relationship to tattoos? My relationship to tattooing is deeply personal and mostly centred around the healing aspect of it. I got my first tattoo as a 15 -year-old. My mom signed off on it, but would only allow it if the tattoo related to her in some way. She eventually became a negative part of my life, and we haven’t spoken for years. I think that was a bit of a sad beginning to my relationship with tattoos, but every tattoo I’ve gotten after, in comparison, completely relates to things that I want myself. It’s more about the feeling I associate with the imagery than anything else. It’s healing for me, and has an ultimate sense of self care to it. It’s almost ritualistic.

Who’s currently inspiring you as an artist? I look up to a lot of people, as I’m still very new to the industry. I’ve barely scratched the surface, but I have very high hopes and dreams for myself. Some artists I really look up to are Nomi Chi, as someone who is also mixed race and queer. Other artists who I have immense respect for include Cal Jenx and Alice Carrier. I have always been hesitant about tattooing because I feel that a majority of the industry in the US is geared to a certain demographic, and that anyone outside of that is an outlier. It’s great to see artists that are happy and proud of their identity outside of that.

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What’s tattoo culture like in Portland, Oregon? Tattoo culture in Portland is very, very interesting! People here are so open and supportive of art in all of its forms, and I feel like the people I’ve met through tattooing have mostly been very welcoming and genuinely good folks! It’s a small community, even though it feels large. The art scene here is very community centred. Everyone knows each other and will show up to each others shows. The line from tattooing to art, I feel, is starting to blur. I only hope that the worlds continue to collide! I went to a gallery show for the first time here and was in awe of how supportive and relaxed people were. I could only hope to bring that sort of feeling, that inclusivity, to tattooing. Art should be for everyone, and I feel that it has such deep benefit for so many people that it should be accessible, comfortable, and most of all, inclusive! My friends influence me greatly and their continued support and understanding has inspired me to always be kind, and to grow on a daily basis.

What attracts you to blackwork? I love contrast. I love a strong silhouette; I draw much of my artistic inspiration from the art world, and have always been interested in black and white as its own genre. I feel that being able to express with a balance of minimalism and detail is something that is very beautiful. I aspire to create things that are simple, but still complex. Black and white is a fantastic platform for this, and also happens to look great on any skin tone.
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What predominantly inspires your work? My art is predominately inspired by emotion and things that I find beautiful, whether that be a feeling or an image. All of my drawings I could look at and describe exactly how I felt when I created them. I draw so much out of my own personal emotion – my own suffering, that when someone I don’t know sees something I’ve drawn and wants it tattooed, I always am astonished that the imagery resonates with them as well. The fact that a complete stranger could see something I’ve made and feel deeply enough to want it tattooed, I feel like it’s sharing in a subconscious feeling, an unspoken “me, too”. Outside of this, I draw much artistic inspiration from art with strong silhouettes and imagery, traditional Japanese and even American traditional have influenced the way I draw and create my artwork.

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The imagery of your work naturally gravitates towards the dark and morbid. Can you tell me about your relationship to these things? The things I draw tend to gravitate towards themes of death, pain and even self induced suffering; I attribute most of this as a reflection of my own psyche. Art is for me very personal, and always something I have done to heal, express and recover. I have suffered for years with depression and have recovered well and am happy, so perhaps my gravitation towards images of sadness is a way of remembering. I feel like being able to take these feelings, these sad images, and make them beautiful and make them something people enjoy looking at and having on their bodies is truly where I want to triumph. I am growing as a person every day. I am still sad sometimes, but I want to spend my life making beautiful things out of the darker, more tragic parts of life. It is how we heal, and how we all exist as a microcosm of living and dying, forgiving and forgetting.

How do you see your work evolving? I see my work moving in a direction where I use more traditional influences. I would also like to work in larger spaces, but that’ll come with time. I want to involve myself more with programs that cater to marginalised groups, LGBT youth and folks with mental illness outside of my tattooing endeavours. I am so new to this – still developing and still growing that what my future holds is still so open. The possibilities are endless, I believe.

Interview with Paul Davies

We chatted to geometric tattoo artists 28-year-old Paul Davies who works out of Artium Ink in Kingsbridge, Devon about what inspired him to become a tattooist and how he recently found out that he is autistic… 

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Photo taken by Matthew Partington

I’ve been tattooing for roughly six years. I moved from Cardiff seven years ago to study fine art at Plymouth university. It was a really last minute decision so there was no available student housing. I moved in with some guys that worked in a tattoo studio, so hanging out with them everyday I started to think this was the path for me, rather than being a painter/illustrator which had been my original goal when moving. I’ve never been interested in doing anything other than being an artist. From the age of around five I really wanted to be an architect, but by the time I was old enough to do some work experience at an architectural practice, I realised it wasn’t as creative as I hoped it would be.

Once I started tattooing I was immediately drawn to patterns and geometry. But the style wasn’t really as popular then, so I just did anything to keep busy. Dabbled in all styles of tattooing and slowly convinced people instead of idea had, maybe it would look good to add some patterning to their tattoo. As time progressed the patterning took over. But I still really enjoyed all the other styles I used to do so I merged them to create something of my own.

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I enjoy all the drawing I do but given the chance to design unrequested designs I tend to draw things that I have an almost obsessive interest in, like people with super human abilities, whether that’s a comic book character, Jedi knight or action hero that inexplicably can’t be killed.

I have a few guest spots and conventions around the UK lined up for this year but the one I’m most looking forward to is a guest spot I was invited to in Toronto. One of my favourite artists from Japan has been invited at the same time as me so looking forward to meeting him.

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I hate most of my own tattoos as I did the majority that I can see myself to practice when I first started. I’m ambidextrous so I’ve done both of my forearms which as they are always on show, get most attention. I get embarrassed when I’m asked the artist that did them as its not a reflection of the work I do.
Recently I found out I’m autistic. On the spectrum it’s Aspergers but I’ve been told that’s not used anymore and it’s ASD (autism spectrum disorder). For my job it’s a massive benefit, I’m completely focused, never want to stop working and able to think about things a little differently to other people. Behind the scenes it really impacts my personal life. I’m currently writing this from a bar in Cheltenham as I’m heading back from Tattoo Tea Party in Manchester and I’ve freaked out that too many people got on the train in Birmingham and I can’t get back on until I’m drunk.

My wife would liken me to the character Spock from Star Trek, I’m not without emotion, I just don’t understand to show it properly. I think only logically about things and have little time struggle to include other people’s feelings in my actions. A few people over the years have mentioned I maybe autistic but I naively dismissed it as I thought only of the extreme form of the disorder.
Recently I posted a status about this and I’ve had a couple of artists message me saying they often feel a similar way, I wasn’t surprised to see they also specialise in patterns and geometry.

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Being a social job I do struggle with it, it would be great if I could just be given an arm to take away and work on alone. Since finding this out I’ve realised I have a script that I say to each customer and that helps me feel in control. I have almost the same conversation every day and I really like it that way. Routine helps me function well, and sometimes I think I couldn’t have got to where I am without autism. However I am stuck in Cheltenham until I get over my anxiety attack and I’m drunk enough to get back on public transport so, swings and roundabouts.

Interview with Tattoo Artist: Caroline Vitelli

Tattoo artist Caroline Vitelli works out of Brut, a private studio in Geneva and creates beautifully dark and illustrative tattoos. We chatted to her about the ancient art of skin sewing and what inspires her…

How long have you been tattooing? I don’t really know, maybe two years, maybe longer. Years ago, I was introduced, by an Inuit, to a ancestral technique of sewing tattoos or skin-stitched tattooing (Watch Colin Dale on Needles and Sins). Skin-sewing tattoos are a type of ‘healing tattoo’ – the tattooer introduces into the skin, by means of a needle, with a thread, which has been greased beforehand and soaked with soot. The thread, pulled by the needle according to the outlines of the drawing, abandons the colouring agent between the flesh and the skin.

After this I began to stitch my own drawings onto skin. I did my left hand this way. But it took a long time of reflection and self questioning. After a few years I started doing tattoos with a machine.

What attracted you to the world of tattoos? The thing is that I am a non-stop doodler, I needed to find a way to use all those drawings.

What inspires you? I am inspired by feral nature, literature, poetry, animals, poisonous plants, people, the light that we can find in the dark. My imagination – like my head – is filled with a thousand little tiny creatures working, running, screaming, all the time, it’s exhausting. But I think that everything that has been done, and my head is full of images or quotes or reference,  of course sometimes one can be deeply influenced and doesn’t realise it.

Do you admire any artists, do they influence your work? I admire some creative creatures such as my friend Old Hag (Darby Lagher),  her photography is so mesmerising and heartening for me, she captures auras of dreamlike occult and naturalistic worlds. Also, I am always speechless when I listen to Chelsea Wolfe, I’ve been listening to her new album Abyss non stop since last week, and it gives me shivers, every time. Like Rowland S. Howard, SHIVERS.

And, of course, they may influence me, like everything, I am a super sensitive, but I already have a lot to deal with in my head, things that I have to put together on the paper.

Can you tell us about the tattoos on your own body? My first tattoo was an Icelandic magical stave on my right arm, I got it when I was a young teenager. And I still love it.

I have my shoulders and neck done by Happypets in Lausanne, it’s two black swans and an ornamental thistle. I have a drawing by Max Ernst on my back, if you look closely you can see that the skirt of the woman is hiding an older tattoo, I got it done when I was 16.

My hands are constructed like an altar. Both with sewing-technique and machines.
I also adore my big black rose from Alexander Grim, he and his wife Lamia Vox are so interesting and talented. I have a piece on my stomach drawn by Tracey Emin, a snake in my hand tattooed by Paolo Bosson, cats on my legs by Gem Love, trash poked tattoos done by Ingimar. And my latest one is a piece done by  Johnny Gloom, I truly adore it.

I have lots more, and I can’t possibly name them all.

What kinds of things do you like to tattoo? I like to tattoo dark things, black stuff, thorns and rusty nails, monsters, animals, flowers, amulets, medieval faces, plants. I like to tattoo my universe. The things that I collect around me.