Tagged: Duncan X

Forever More The New Tattoo

Modern-day passion, tangible tradition, and striking creativity: trace how tattooing continues to evolve in the follow up to Forever.  


Art on the body is painful to acquire, arduous to own, and intimate to produce, and as such may be the best refection we have of the soul of modern life.

Matt Lodder, Preface


Forever More covers the best of the ever-changing contemporary tattoo underground. Bold tribal motifs and gritty stick and pokes bask in a resurgence alongside the fluidity of watercolours and the deviance of Art Brut. From traditional sessions in parlors to traveling artists, Forever More celebrates tattooing’s unsung heroes and contemporary celebrities.

Forever More tracks the scene’s inventiveness and originality as tattoos continue to emerge from subculture obscurity. Just as the needle infuses the skin with ink, the artists profiled infuse life into current tattoo culture. In a scene where artists travel the world, often organizing appointments exclusively via social media, tattooing can be a lifestyle and a way of life. Featuring Miriam Frank, Duncan X, David Schiesser, Grace Neutral, Fidjit, Isaiah Toothtaker, and many others, Forever More explores their unique stories and iconic work whilst creating a comprehensive narrative of this dynamic and enduring scene.



Fangs&Ink: Maidstone John

Maidstone John is a 24-year-old freelance illustrator from Canterbury who creates black pen and ink drawings depicting nightmarish ghouls, he has created a fanged female monster, especially for Things&Ink. We chatted to him about what inspires him, his hopes to become a tattoo artist and the tattoos on his body… 

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset The Fang Girl John created for Things&Ink

Do you have a background in art? Yes, when I left school I studied fine art and design at Canterbury college, specialising in illustration and print making.

When did you start drawing?  I’ve always drawn from a young age, it all started after school one summer when I broke my leg skateboarding. I was stuck indoors for a good three months with nothing to do, watching my friends going skating and getting frustrated. My good friend Craig Questions would come and visit all the time and I just remember him telling me that I had to focus my mind to something positive or I’d eat myself up. Craig would always visit with these incredible fanzines that he’d been working on, which fuelled and inspired me to draw my own. When the summer came to an end, I was sat in front of a body of work that later on secured my place on the art and design course and the drawing never stopped from there…

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

How would you describe your style? Black work inspired by old woodcut etchings. I think my work is a real diverse variety from elements of dark satanic reference to bold traditional 1920s tattoo flash.

What inspires you? I would say I’m particularly inspired by old horror films specifically hammer horrors, the devil rides out being my all time favourite. 80s skateboarding, natural history and third world culture. Those who are close to me know I’m an avid collector of antiques, oddities and ephemera, I love 80s toys. Madballs, Boglins, Ghostbusters and any monsters.

How do you choose your subject matter? I normally find a fragment of a idea from a film or a good book and then run with it until I am happy. I’ve recently had quite a few people email me with some really cool ideas for commissions, mostly album covers for bands, clothing and skateboard graphics which is awesome. I am always happy to run with any idea, it doesn’t always have to be a dark and gnarly design.

innkkkAre there any artists you admire? Do they influence your work? Most certainly, there is a never ending list of people who I look up to, many of which I am lucky enough to call my friends. Without them, I’m not sure if I would even be doing the things I love right now like drawing and skateboarding. French (Richard Sayer), Craig Questions and Dan Singer gave me the original inspiration and the kick start I needed with their insanely detailed illustrations.

I look up to many different tattoo artists (past and present) from Daniel Higgs and Stoney St Clair to the amazing blackwork by DuncanX and Philip Yarnell. All of these guys have their own quirks and calling cards that to me makes them unique not just as artists, but as individuals. I spend every Thursday at Classic Ink in Herne Bay, owned by my pal John Slack, drawing along side Scott Banks and John has really helped me creatively and they are always filling me with advice and confidence, which I am so grateful for. Some day I hope to learn to tattoo and me and John are doing a little trade soon, which I am really excited about.


What medium do you use?  I normally prefer to work with pen and ink, uni pin fine liners are real good, but I’m trying to push myself with my painting.

How long does it take to create a piece? It all depends on the size and intricacy of the piece, but I am getting much quicker these days, I’ll spend around six hours on an A3 sheet at the longest.

Do you have any tattoos? Can you tell us about them. Of course, I’m nearly complete from the waste down and I have some cover up work on my arms but, as of now, I’m in the process of filling my front. I have been tattooed by some really incredible artists and I still have a long list of artists who I long to get some work off.  I can appreciate all genres of tattooing but I am particularly fond of traditional black work.


John’s bat by tattooist Philip Yarnell

I have a lot of rad and exciting things coming my way towards the end of this year, if you’re interested in being a part of my journey, find me on Instagram @maidstonejohn

Exclusive new images in Mark Leaver’s facial tattoo project

Facial tattoos are bold and unflinching, they cannot be hidden – perhaps this is why they still sometimes provoke fear and prejudice. Mark Leaver’s photographic project tackles this issue and tries to dispel some of the myths that exist about this niche within a subculture.

These are two brand-new, unseen portraits in Mark Leaver’s beautiful (and much talked about) series of portrait photographs. (previously blogged about here, and also featured in The Identity Issue of Things&Ink). This time Mark photographs a couple of our friends, Duncan X and Blue from Into You, London.


Duncan X, 48 years old, Tattoo Artist

Duncan  x Duncan x


Duncan was 21 when he got his first tattoo. Duncan was in a band for 7 years until he began working at Into You as a receptionist at 30 years old. He did an apprenticeship in Soho with Dennis Cockell. Duncan’s first facial tattoo was by Curley Moore (when Curly worked at Into You). Duncan doesn’t intend on getting any more facial work.



Blue, 50 years old, office manager at Into You, London

Blue Blue


Blue was 18 when she started getting tattooed and it wasn’t until her mid 30s that she decided to move to her face. For her, the hands and neck were a bigger deal to get tattooed than her face. Blue has been at Into You for 20 years and she wants more facial work, but not for a while – maybe at 70! 


A word from the photographer Mark:

It seems oddly timed that the project has had so much publicity and attention right after I’ve graduated from university! To get the series published by the Daily Mail is an amazing (and unexpected) progression of the project. This marks a new audience which is amazing for much a niche subject – before the series was only really viewed by people from the tattoo community, for it to be in a tabloid paper is incredible.

The project is nowhere near over, I’m still shooting. I shot these portraits last week of Duncan and Blue. And I actually shot two more today and will be doing two more tomorrow. There’s still a few big names/characters I’d like to have in the project before I put it to rest.


We will continue to keep you updated on Mark Leaver’s progression with this project. His work can be viewed at www.mdleaver.com