Tagged: Grace Neutral

Grace Neutral chats Needles and Pins

From the illegal underground tattooists of South Korea to Brazilian women challenging social stereotypes, Grace Neutral’s productions with VICE offer an edifying shift away from the usual fetishizing of tattoos by using them as a conduit to highlight the often contentious social and political realms of each wearer.

Grace chats with writer Fareed about her experiences in front of the lens for VICELAND’s 2017 series, Needles and Pins, and what it’s like to be an ambassador for contemporary tattoo culture.

(This is an abridged version, the full piece will be published in INKED)

Grace+Neutral (1)

Photo courtesy of VICELAND

Hi Grace. So, you were tattooing at Good Times and then suddenly you’re a media personality at VICE media. Can you tell me how that happened? Well, I was lucky enough to be approached by i-D a few years’ back to write an alternative Christmas speech about beauty, which received a great response.

i-D then made a film about me and my outlook on tattooing which also went down really well. It was after my i-D series ‘Beyond Beauty’ that VICE asked me to work with them.

And how has that journey been for you thus far? I started making films with VICE at the start of 2016 and we wrapped up the first series of Needles and Pins by the end of the year! It has been one amazing year, that’s for sure!

Grace+Neutral (2)

Photo courtesy of VICELAND

Let’s talk about the shows. It’s so refreshing to have someone from the tattoo community represent contemporary tattoo culture in an intelligent and socially and politically charged manner, unlike other mainstream shows that often debase the art form. What are you hoping to achieve with these shows? Basically, what I wanted to achieve with these shows was super simple: I wanted to tell a true story about tattooing, and offer people a proper insight into how the art form came to be the big industry it is today.

I also wanted share some of the cultures and techniques that helped evolve the art. Just like you say, mainstream shows on tattoos seem to only fetishise and poke fun at tattooing. I got sick of this – and decided I’d have to do it myself 😉

What is the extent of your role in these stories, is it limited to presenter or are you actively searching out stories and utilising your knowledge and networks gained while tattooing? There must be so much involved! I am not a TV presenter, it has never been a goal of mine. I simply got offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn more about my craft.

Being in front of the camera and guiding the audience through my adventures was definitely something I had to learn, but because I am so passionate about tattooing it was natural for me to quickly form relationships with a lot of the people we filmed.

For me, it’s all about finding the stories. I was very involved in the development and making of the show. For example, I knew and suggested some of the contributors you see in Needles and Pins.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt, whether about yourself or anything else, over the course of the shows? I have learnt so much from every single place I have visited. But the one common theme that strikes me is that that tattooing is such an amazing way to build friendships and communities. I feel so lucky to be part of the global tattoo family.

Grace+Neutral

Photo courtesy of VICELAND

Most memorable moment for you? The most memorable moment filming the series was riding around LA on quad bikes with Venice Bad Boys.

Most interesting thing you’ve discovered about tattoo culture? In one episode of Needles and Pins we go to New Zealand to learn about Maori tattooing and Maori culture – and this was the most interesting discovery for me. The Maori people are so beautiful – and its history is so intertwined with tattooing, nature and magic, it was hard not to fall in love there. It is definitely a place I will return to continue my tattoo journey and education.

Has the show received any criticisms? To be honest, I haven’t heard any bad comments about the show.

Obviously there has been the odd internet troll calling me a ‘freak’ because of the way I look, but I have heard it all before and I’m very good at shielding myself from any negativity comments.

All the feedback about the show has, so far, been really positive – and I’m over the moon about that!

Grace Viceland

Photo courtesy of VICELAND

If you could do a tattoo show about anything or anyone, what would it be? The one I just made for VICELAND!

Would you agree that the normalisation of tattoos – great for reducing stigma and allowing autonomy over one’s body – has also created a new ‘beauty’ industry / ideal? Tattoos becoming less about expressing spirit and individuality and more about acquisition: the purchase of social capital and of ‘beauty.’ Yes for sure, I think the majority of tattoo artists (well, at least the ones I know and work with) understand how sacred it is to tattoo, the energy you share with that person is so beautiful, and sometimes, even life changing.

It’s been something that I have been conscious of for a long time – and I love that more and more people (not just tattooers, but also the people who get tattooed) are realising this as well.

And lastly, what have you got planned for 2017? 2017 is all about tattooing, travel and having a fucking good time while I do it!

Grace Neutral

Photo courtesy of VICELAND

Things&Ink present: THE ARCHIVE

Things&Ink present:
THE ARCHIVE
THURSDAY 31 MARCH 2016 6pm-late
at THE CIRCLE, 21 NOEL STREET, LONDON, W1F 8GP

 An exhibition of Things&Ink covers turned into original works of art by people who have graced the pages of the magazine over the years…

Things&Ink is delighted to announce The Archive, a group exhibition celebrating more than three years, and 12 issues, of Things&Ink by inviting artists who have contributed to the magazine to turn back issues into original works of art. Opening on Thursday 31 March, and running for two weeks, at The Circle, in London’s Soho, to raise awareness for The One Love Project, with profits from sales being donated to the project that helps under-privileged children in Pushkar India.

The original face issue cover The original face issue cover, published in February 2013 The Face Issue decorated by Abbie Williams The Face Issue decorated by Abbie Williams

 

The Archive will showcase the breadth and variety of artistic talent within the  tattoo community. With more than 120 contributing artists from across the globe, each of the covers will be auctioned off in a silent auction that will run across the course of the exhibition, with bids starting at just £6.95 – the retail price of the magazine.

Never afraid to approach taboo subjects such as DIY and facial tattoos, Things&Ink have published 12 issues to date and each has had a specific theme, covering art, love, history and even fruit. Turning tattoo media on its head and moving away from a more sexist model, Things&Ink promotes body confidence and self acceptance by featuring inspirational people such as tattooed bearded lady Harnaam Kaur. Its aim has been to celebrate tattoo history, give inspiration through high-end photo shoots and provide commentary on current tattoo culture, The Archive will celebrate this by bringing together everyone who has featured on its pages.

The Modification Issue, decorated by its cover star Grace Neutral The Modification Issue, decorated by its cover star Grace Neutral

 

Each contributing artist has been sent a back issue at random, and there is no brief. They simply have to turn the cover of the magazine into an original work of art by using a medium of their choice.

The exhibition will run from Thursday 31 March until Sunday 17 April, and the artwork will be on display at The Circle for the course if it. There will also be a flash day on a date to be confirmed, with tattoos by two of Things&Ink’s favourite cover stars Grace Neutral (The Modification Issue) and Emily Johnston (The Horror Issue).

The Launch Issue, decorated by Nina Waldron The Launch Issue, decorated by Nina Waldron

 

The archive event is going to be the first time that all of our favourite artists we have ever featured have participated in an exhibition together and I cannot wait to see what our front covers become after they have been transformed into original pieces of art.  The Things & Ink journey wouldn’t have been anything without the help and support of all the amazing contributors and we are eternally grateful.” Keely Reichardt, Project Manager of The Archive

LIST OF EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Cally Jo, Grace Neutral, Jondix, Bob Done, Rik Lee, Ashley Love, Shane Ivezic, Susanne Konig, Frederico Rabelo, Lianne Moule, Guy Le Tatooer, Mike Tea, James Hate, Robert A Borbas, Saschi McCormack, Antoine Larrey, Tina Lugo, Deno, Flo Nuttall, Rachel Baldwin, Brian Wilson, Emily Johnston, Claudia de Sabe, Drew Linden

PLUS many more artists to be announced…

The Love Issue, decorated by its cover star Rachel Baldwin The Love Issue, decorated by its cover star Rachel Baldwin

Grace Neutral film… The Tattoo Covered Alien Princess

Grace Neutral… The Tattoo Covered Alien Princess… a film by i-D magazine… 

Get to know tattoo artist Grace Neutral, the 26-year-old handpoke tattoo artist who transformed herself from alternative weirdo to pixie dream girl with a series of body modifications. Surrounded by her fluffy friends Totoro, Stitch and Pusheen, Grace welcomes i-D magazine into the bedroom of her London flat where they discover the emotional and physical steps she went through on the journey towards becoming her true self: the tattoo-covered alien princess with purple eyes, pointed elf ears, a forked tongue, scarification and no bellybutton that just walked for Ashley Williams during LFW and keeps her quarter of a million fans inspired on Instagram. Be you. Be beautiful.

One year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

A year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

The first issue of 2014, was The Modification Issue, issue 6 of Things&Ink. And we shot our amazing cover with space elf Grace Neutral in January 2014 at the London Film Museum. The magazine was released at Brighton Tattoo Convention in February 2014.

Here’s some behind the scenes footage of the shoot, which really gives a feel of how impressive the photo shoot venue was and how beautiful Grace is. 

The Modification Issue also featured one of our most moving shoots to date. Therapist and model Laurence Moniasse tells the story of her tattoos and scarification, and how they link to her past and her family. During the emotionally charged photo shoot where old family photos were projected onto the background, Laurence shed tears as she remembered her grandmother. It was a beautiful moment and a stunning editorial feature.

In February 2014, our most popular blog posts were: SHORT FRENCH FILM REVERSING GENDER ROLES and CELEBS WITH TATTOOS #SHOPPEDTATTOOS

Issue 7, The Identity Issue, was launched in May 2014, and starred Wendy Pham on what is – surprisingly – our most controversial cover to date. She looks strong and powerful in the image we chose for the cover, however some readers commented that it was too “sexual” and were shocked that it wasn’t a “typical” Things&Ink cover. We like to divide opinion, and get people talking. But it also reminded us that all our covers are collaborations between us and the artist who is featured – they choose how they are portrayed too. Their personality is represented and so is the ethos of Things&Ink… what do you think of the Wendy Pham cover? We would love to know.

Things and Ink identity Wendy Pham

In June 2014, our most popular blog posts were: WOMAN TRANSFORMS HER FACIAL SCARS WITH TATTOO INK and MUM TATTOOS HER 12 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.

September 2014 saw the launch of The Illustration Issue, starring tattoo artist Danielle Rose. On the cover she becomes one with her artwork – the artist becomes artwork, the illustrator becomes the illustrated. This cover was one of our most collaborative and the results are simply breathtaking. This issue also marked a change in our identity, instead of our tagline: Embracing Female Tattoo Culture, it was Independent | Tattoo | Lifestyle that was printed underneath our logo on issue 8. We had occasionally been criticised for being a “female-only” magazine (which we actually never have been, we set up Things&Ink as way to portray art and not objectify the person wearing it), so we wanted to clear this up in our strapline and allow as many readers as possible to enjoy reading the magazine.

In September, we also celebrated our two-year birthday with a charity exhibition of post card sized artwork by over 100 of the world’s leading tattooists. The opening of ‘Miniature Ink’ was electric – readers even queued outside Atomica Gallery from 3pm in the afternoon (the exhibition opened at 6) to get their hands on a tiny piece of art. We were even lucky enough to get a special guest appearance from tattoo artist Cally-Jo and her friend, supermodel Cara Delevingne. The night was incredible and the exhibition ran throughout September and during the London Tattoo Convention, with all profits from sales going to the charity Sarcoma UK.

Supermodel Cara Delevingne, tattoo artist Cally-Jo and editor Alice Snape at the launch of the Miniature Ink exhibition

 

Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice at London Tattoo Convention September 2014 – we LOVE conventions and hope to do even more in 2015

 

Throughout September and October 2014, we also worked really hard on issue 9, as it was the last issue of the year, we wanted to do something extra special. S0 we created three extra special covers for you to choose from – including a woman, a man (for the first time ever) and a couple. Flo Nuttall, Brian Wilson, and Yann Brenyak and Delphine Noiztoy were all a pleasure to photograph and each of their personalties shines through.

 

2014 has been an incredible year for Things&Ink and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible: readers, writers, contributors, photographers…  – we are sure 2015 will be as full of surprises… we can’t wait to share it with you. What has been your highlight of 2014?

Issue #6 The Modification Issue starring Grace Neutral

The modification Issue front and back cover

 

COVER REVEAL: The Modification Issue (#6) starring Kawaii Space Elf Princess, Grace Neutral, who works at Good Times, London

Photographer: Lydia Rayner
Assisted by Chris Morgan and Rebecca Hall
Hair and make-up: Keely Reichardt
Styling: Olivia Snape
Cape by Holly Lloyd
Headdress by Gypsy East
Front cover design: Hustler Squad

The official launch of ‘The Modification Issue’ will be at Brighton Tattoo Convention, this weekend – Valentine’s Weekend. Make sure you come see us, or order your copy from our website, thingsandink.com, or Newsstand.

The Front... The Front…

 

The Back... The Back…

Grace Neutral tattoos the shard girls

Save the Arctic and get tattooed

I have been a fan of tattoo artist Grace Neutral for a while now, but her recent antics have made me love her even more.

Grace Neutral and the shard girls

Yesterday she had the pleasure of meeting the radical women who climbed the shard in London Bridge on a Greenpeace protest. They were protesting against Arctic drilling. The women spent 15 hours climbing to the top of the building, to fly a flag that said ‘Save the Arctic’. The police were waiting at the top to arrest the women.

grace and the shard girls Grace and the Greenpeace protestors

 

Yesterday the six protestors were charged and released. And the first thing they did when they got out – they went to see Grace Neutral over at Good Times Tattoo to mark the occasion with a shard tattoo. Fucking awesome.

‘I felt honoured that I got to tattoo  a little memorial of their radical day,’ said Grace on Instagram. ‘It was fun to tattoo some hardened criminals, they were just so lovely.’

the shard tattoo Handpoked shard tattoo

 

Two of the women have been tattooed so far, and a few more of them will at a later date. Absolutely love this story.

shard tattoo