Tagged: tattoo

Growing Pains With Tracy Kiss

28-year-old Tracy Kiss, blogger, model and mother, from Buckingham talks about how having a tattoo to cover her stretch marks helped her to reclaim and love her body once again… 

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When did you start modelling and how did you get into the industry? At the age of 18. I was talent scouted by MTV to model in a documentary about relationships, I then went on to do page 3 for The Daily Sport newspaper.

What made you want to become a model? I was bullied terribly up until the age of 17 for being shy, geeky and insecure. When I was talent scouted I never imagined in a million years that I could ever be a model but they saw something in me and I’m so glad that they did because it brought me out of my shell.

What kind of work did you do? I was a glamour model before having my two children which involves lots of lingerie, bikinis and topless as well as the occasional catwalk and fashion.

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Did this change how you saw your body? Did modelling help with your confidence? Although modelling gave me bags of confidence that I never knew existed it also changed me as a person. I spent endless minutes on sunbeds to maintain a year round tan, dyed my hair peroxide blonde, wore fake nails, false eyelashes and dressed in skin tight revealing outfits. I literally changed everything about my appearance within a year and although I loved my ‘new’ body I realised deep down that I wasn’t being true to myself.

How has pregnancy and being a mother affected how you see your body? Becoming a single parent at the age of 19 was such a wake up call, it made me realise that there’s so much more to life than the shallowness of how we view others. Beauty doesn’t come from a packet, tube or needle it’s from natural confidence, being comfortable in your own skin and feeling happy. My body shape changed dramatically, I was incredibly thin and as my pregnancy developed I started to get stretch marks which were deep red lines that seemed to slash my skin. At that time my body was my career, and I felt that becoming a mother had ended the life I knew by scarring me so badly.

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Do you miss being pregnant? Despite all of that I loved being pregnant, it was difficult for me to adjust to the weight gain at first because I had always been so strict on myself. But once I embraced it I realised how much I love food, how happy I was to feel my daughter kick inside of me and despite knowing I had to bring her into the world alone I felt safe knowing that we were going through it together. There is nothing as precious as unconditional love and I’d happily have more children if I met the right man one day.

How has pregnancy affected your body physically? Physically pregnancy has had an horrendous affect on my body at such a young age, firstly from scarring up my stomach hips and thighs with stretch marks, weakening my stomach muscles and making my chest collapse. I had breast implants that became loose and leaked from the pressure of breast feeding, so I underwent reconstructive surgery. It has been the most joyful yet painful experience of my life but I’d do it a thousand times over for my children, they are my absolute world.

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Can you tell us about your stretch marks? Also how you tried to get rid of them? My stretch marks remained the same with my second pregnancy and didn’t get any worse, I think my skin was already so badly damaged that it couldn’t possibly stretch any further. I had fairly large babies with my daughter weighing 7lbs and my son 8lbs 8oz, but I blame my love of food for contributing to my weight gain as for once in my life I didn’t worry about what I ate!

I’ve tried everything to get rid of my stretch marks which I’ve covered in my beauty blogs from oils and creams to needling and lasering, all methods designed to stimulate the regrowth of natural collagen in the skin to help to repair it. Whilst stretch marks can be improved they can never be removed unless you cut the skin away which I didn’t want. Fortunately with my treatments I was able to lighten my stretch marks from a deep red colour to a pale white, instead of being deep they became a little more shallow and where the skin had become so loose and wrinkled it’s now firmer and flatter but still scarred, just a little less obviously.

Why did you choose to cover them with a tattoo? How did you pick the design? I chose to cover my stretchmarks with a tattoo because the pigment in my skin had disappeared from stomach, which left me with white lines.  At the age of 28 I was hiding my body, I never wanted anybody to look at or touch my stomach because I was embarrassed.

The only way left for me to try to remove my stretchmarks without surgery was to cover them with a tattoo and once my final laser treatment was complete to correct the texture of my skin I called my tattooist, James King, to talk about designs. I already have 10 tattoos including; feathers, wings and my children’s dates of birth.  I’m a nature loving vegan, I live for peace, love and happiness so we combined a lotus flower with the hamsa hand to signify strength, beauty and good fortune.

I wanted to turn a part of my body that I hated into something positive, and  my tattoo has done just that! Something that once hurt and upset me for so many years now makes me smile uncontrollably. I never thought I’d feel so happy in my skin again as I do now, it’s given me my youth back.

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What would you say to other mums feeling the same way as you did? I’d tell other mums to look into turning their scars into body art because you only have one life. To me a tattoo isn’t just a decoration, it’s a story, a reminder and inspiration for life. It’s capturing your essence as a person, expressing your individualism and in my case turning something negative into a positive. Everybody should be able to love their bodies no matter their age, size and ethnicity. For me tattoos have given me back my confidence, true confidence and shown me how I can love myself for who I am. I’m a woman reborn, my embarrassment and insecurities have vanished and I’m ecstatic to have a second chance with my body.

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What was your first tattoo? Do you still love it? Rather foolishly I got my first tattoo at the age of 14 which was a tribal swirl on my lower back that I covered over with angel wings, that mean so much more to me, as I believe feathers symbolise hope and freedom. My first tattoo was something that I rushed into simply because it was fashionable at the time, it had no meaning to me and was nothing more than a filled in stencil that I outgrew.

Can you tell us about your other tattoos? My favourite is ‘love is blind’ tattooed under my breasts, its a reminder of how life may change but true love is unconditional and that is very much what I have for my children. My babies taught me the most important lessons in life of patience, strength and natural beauty and although being a single parent is incredibly challenging at times it has made me the person I am today. Tattoos have given me back my fire, repaired my body and rebuilt my self esteem whilst capturing my heart for all to see and I will cherish them forever.

Interview with Lucrezia

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to tattooist Lucrezia about her beautiful tattoos and recognisable style… 

Lucrezia is a Sardinian girl with a colourful heart and sea waves in her hair. Her Sarditional style is getting more and more renowned and here she explains the perfect mix for a tattoo made with love. Among coricheddos (little heart shaped sweets), delicate feminine figures and amulets, she is bewitching the web! You can find her in Milan, at Toy Tattoo Parlour.

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You are a complete artist- a graphic designer, illustrator and tattoo artist! Can you tell us a little bit about your artistic career? It was a quite natural process, you know, I grew up with colors in my hands and I used to leave my marks on every surface. My path as an illustrator and tattoo artist were parallel to each other, they reflected a way more rebellious and emotional side of my studies in architecture and graphic design. My degree surely gave me the basics useful to search the composition and balance in each drawing I make.

What is your first memory connected to tattoos? My first memory is a feeling, I see the tattoo as a very important gesture that helps to fix an emotion and one that is on your skin for you to wear forever. As a tattoo artist,I find that the tattoo is a rite, that binds deeply the tattooer and tattooed during the creation of the piece.

The transformation of a story into a picture and the subsequent transposition of the skin, the pain, the amount of tension and excitement, and an indelible bond that is created with all my clients. These are the things I love the most about this work and I’d never imagined they could become so essential and vital for me.

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How would you define your Sardinian style? Is it a declaration of love for your homeland and the coricheddos (typical Sardinian sweets mostly made of almond and honey)? The sarditional was originally born as a hashtag game on Instagram. Initially, before I started tattooing, I filled my illustrations with little women tattooed with Sardinian buttons and motifs derived from the Sardinian tradition. Beginning my career as tattoo artist, they became my main subjects, executed using the technique of traditional style. The designs were simplified, with thick lines and black shadows, from there I put that Sar-ditional touch. Now it has become a real characteristic of my style, which is to bring to the world the Sardinian tradition, from ‘pavoncelle’, kokkoi, to buttons and coricheddos. And all those jewels that the Sardinian tradition considers to be protective amulets and charms. That’s how the design of a sarditional becomes a real ritual to put on the skin: for Sardinians and beyond!

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What are your daily inspirations, both personally and professionally speaking? Every day, the inspirations are the most varied, most of the time I get influenced by my moods, from the weather and especially by music. This last is crucial because it helps me to channel myself in mental states that may not belong to me and, for example, when I prepare a drawing for a client I can get closer and better identify himself using music.

From Alghero to Milan: how are you living this experience and what are your expectations? Milan is basically adopting and taking very good care of me, I am very good and I also managed to do a lot of experience, getting to know many people and growing especially from the professional point of view. Alghero will forever remain the seat of my roots and going home to do some guest spots is a must for my creativity. Sardinia is a land that offers so much inspiration, and especially its silence and its mystery stimulate creativity in me.

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Corals, beads, women faces filled with love. What are the subjects you prefer to tattoo? My favourite subjects are without doubt the little women, I find them super expressive and I am able to communicate anything through their eyes and hands.
I try to draw every little woman to resemble as closely as possible the client who will wear them forever.  In fact, I generally choose the colours together with the client, also to see what kind of colours and feelings that person sends me, and most of the time I guess right!

Who have you been tattooed by and who is on your wishlist? I have two beautiful surreal pieces made by the great Gabri Pais. Others by my boss Amanda Toy, who has spoiled my skin with bright colours. A piece signed with perfect lines by Paul Colli. A wonderful little woman by Viola Ceina. Another woman who remembers the old pieces of George Burchett, masterfully executed by Marco Sergiampietri. And a super old school tattoo by Alessio Errante.
In my wishlist you will find; Chiara Pina, Nicholas Rinaldi, Giampiero Cavaliere, Carlotta Cawa, Luca Font and internationally Bouits, Danielle Rose, Kirk Jones, Emily Rose and many others!

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Do you have any side projects you would like to tell us about?
I carry on various projects and collaborations, where I leave my mark with my illustrations. I have a newborn project this year, where my illustrations are combined with stories of “Appunti sparsi di una trentenne a Milano”; I often work approaching the magnificent letters of Gabriele Cecere. I always carry forward my graffiti under the name of La*tete, it was all born one evening, many moons ago, out of curiosity and in Milan, thanks to my good friend Nacho. When I have some time left, I also collaborate with the great artist and friend La fille Bertha.

Do you have any future guest spots and conventions planned?
My future guest spot will be in August for Cagliari Tattoo Convention. And then I will be in Rome and Florence within the year. The next dates and locations will be surely posted on my Instagram!

Alana Macleod

22-year-old Alana Macleod, who creates beautifully coloured and patterned clothing is currently studying textiles in Bournemouth. We chatted to Alana about the process behind her designs, her tattoos and how, by sharing her own story, she hopes to help others struggling with eating disorders… 

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How would you describe your style, both how you dress and what you create? My style is very colour focussed, and is an exploration of variety of textures and shapes. In terms of my dress sense, I like to wear structural, interesting shapes, and with my textiles work I like to create these shapes with a combination of materials and embellishments. I feel as though my work and my style can often be very connected, as for me it is important that both express an element of fun, with the outcome never being too serious. I think fashion should be fun.
What influences your work and who inspires you? It sounds cliché but I really am inspired by things that I see around me, whether that’s an interesting place or a person. I think when you have been around textiles for so long, you automatically take inspiration from things and it’s hard to escape, so my influences can come from anything. I think Instagram is also such an amazing, inspiring platform; we can use it to discover people who interest us and are doing really cool things, and I think it’s so great to have that at our fingertips.

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Can you tell us about the process behind your designs? All my outcomes start with mass amounts of drawings and paintings, then there is a lot of cutting, sticking, photocopying, until I start to develop some ideas for prints or surfaces. I use a combination of screen print, digital print, embroidery, and hand embellishment; there isn’t really an order to doing this within my practice, things just kind of develop naturally and I just follow what I feel is working at the time. I always start with a plan when I am designing, but the creative process always changes.

Do you sell any of your designs? I’m currently not selling my work anywhere online, however I’m in the process of starting up an online store! I also take commissions if anybody is interested.

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When did you get your first tattoo? What was it and do you still love it? Well technically my first tattoo was a horrific hand poked diamond on my  which I had done at the age of 13! And I absolutely do not love it, neither did my mother at the time, ha. I waited to get my first professional tattoo at the age of 18, which were some bows on the back of my legs. I was going through quite a rockabilly phase at the time; looking back, they are definitely something I would not get now, but they also remind me of a certain time, and that’s why I will always like all of my tattoos regardless of whether my style has changed since.

What inspired you to start getting tattooed? Throughout school I had always experimented with a lot of styles and subcultures, all of which were quite alternative. I always wanted to stand out with my appearance as a teenager, and was always getting in trouble at school for it. I think my love of tattooing definitely developed from my urge to be different. I listened to a lot of punk music from a young age, and I always admired the musicians and the whole aesthetic. I also think that my creativity has had a big part in my interest within tattoos- art class was the only that I engaged in fully within school and college, and when I grew up and realised that I could display this creativity on my own body, it just made sense to me.

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Do tattoos influence or alter how you feel about your body? Have they helped you with feelings of self confidence? Yes definitely- when I have experienced difficult times with my body and my confidence, having my tattoos makes me still feel comfortable within my skin regardless. I’m much happier to show my body, or even look at my body, knowing that I have this collection of beautiful art, whereas previously I may have struggled to see any positives about myself.

On Instagram you’re quite open about your struggles with an eating disorder, why do you think it’s important to share your own experience? I think it’s really important because of how alone you can feel when you are caught up in an eating disorder, and I really want to remind people that they’re not alone. I remember when I was at a really awful point in my life, and I felt that nobody would understand and that my behaviour was so alien. I was seeking help from eating disorder ‘help’ forums, as I had nowhere to turn, but these websites are bad news and an awful trap that is even more difficult to get out of. I hope that speaking about my issues openly on Instagram will not only keep people away from these sites to seek reassurance, but will also let them know that the people that they follow and admire also have their own struggles and that it is a lot more common that they may have realised. I think the word bulimia has such a stigma and a misunderstanding around it, and there are a lot of misconceptions. I didn’t actually realise that I was bulimic for quite some time, I’d convinced myself that my over-exercise, restrictive diet and purging ‘bad’ foods was just me being healthy and normal. I’d love to help people realise that obsessive behaviours aren’t actually normal, and to help them become aware before they’re in too deep.

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Do you think social media has helped you or hindered you in your progress and self love journey? I have mixed feelings about social media and it’s impact on my eating disorder. In the early days, I think Instagram was definitely a contributor towards my obsession with my weight- I was feeling a lot of pressure to keep up my ‘healthy lifestyle’, which essentially was making me much more ill. However, when I eventually publicly opened up about my disorder, the amount of positive feedback and genuine kindness I received from everybody was so warming and lovely, and I think it’s amazing to have that kind of support network. I’ve been open about my struggles online for just under a year now, and it definitely has helped with my self-love since I started therapy. Some days I will be having a bad day with my body image, but to receive such lovely praise from people who have known my struggles is really special.

Have tattoos played a part in your recovery? I  say they have helped my recovery, but they have definitely made me still feel like ‘me’, when I’ve had low times where I’ve been unsure of who I am. During recovery I have gained some weight again, and my tattoos have helped me with loving myself still too. I can’t imagine to have not had them throughout this journey, they’re the one thing that have always given me another layer of confidence, and I’ve always been able to express myself through my tattoos.

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Do you have any future tattoo plans? I’m continuing with working on my legs next, I have some exciting plans to try and make them feel much more completed, ankle cuffs, some blacking out and some ornamental work within the things that I have already!

Quick-fire questions with tattoo artist Claudia Ottaviani

Our resident make-up artist and managing editor, Keely, recently got tattooed by tattoo artist Claudia Ottaviani while she was guesting at Sang Bleu in east London… she asked her some quick-fire questions that she doesn’t normally get asked!

 

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If you could tattoo anyone dead or alive who would it be and why? I’ve never really thought about it, but it’s always an honour when another tattooer asks you to get a tattoo. I’ve never met him in person, but I’ve been in his shop and I think it is one of the most powerful places… So I’d have to pick Freddy Corbin at Tattoo Temple – and I hope he will never read this ha ha!

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If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be? Some other creative job for sure: singer, guitarist, wood artisan, writer… I just need to use my hands when I work.

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What’s the strangest body part you’ve either tattooed or have been asked to tattoo? I tattooed a girl’s pubis, that was pretty strange, but not so difficult.

 

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Who is your favourite artist of the moment? I follow so many artists who don’t come from the tattoo world, so I can’t choose just one… Here are a few: Robert Ryan, Adde, Jess Swaffer, Matt Chahal, Bailey, Cheyenne Sawyer, Tony Nilsson, Becca Gennè-Bacon, Lina Stigsson and I have no idea how many more…

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What is your response to someone saying to you “what will you think of your tattooed body when you are old?” First I laugh… I think I get tattoos to make the body more beautiful. I love to see the story on the skin! The body and the skin will grow old in any case, with or without tattoos, so why wouldn’t I get something that I think makes my body more beautiful now? It will be even more beautiful in 40 years.

Tattooed Mama: Hannah Daisy

We chatted to full time mama 22-year-old Hannah Daisy from London about becoming a mum, how she sees her body differently now and her tattoos…

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Pregnancy is such an enlightening journey, there’s no way you can come out the other side and look at yourself in the same way. It was so uplifting for me, my body worked HARD, and I’ve come to respect it so much more. I’ve struggled with self esteem, I still do from time to time, but I try not to worry about the small things any more and just appreciate it as a whole. If I wanted to look like I hadn’t had a baby then I wouldn’t have had had one.

Honestly, my tattoos haven’t changed much at all since I was pregnant. I have got a stretch mark that’s gone straight through the bottom of the dagger, but it’s not noticeable, it all comes with the territory and I had anticipated some change, so no biggy!

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Every aspect of life has changed. I’m still trying to find that balance between being a mum and being my own person. Having a career and keeping up with hobbies have both been on hold since being pregnant and having Reuben, which has been the most frustrating thing, but I’m finally starting to weave them back into the mum schedule, we’ll get there eventually. The kid makes the rules right now!

Instagram was never meant to be more than a place to share photos for family and friends. My pregnancy started off a bit rocky and I wasn’t really sure how to cope. I’m normally one of those people who bottles everything up, but I started to talk about my experiences and converse with other women and it really helped, it became more of an outlet and played a huge part in me healing.

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I started @two.plus.roo so I didn’t end up bombarding everyone on my main account (@hannah.daisy) with endless bump updates intended for family and friends. I felt this huge urge to capture everything, I’m glad I did because it’s been such a magical journey so far. Finding this little corner of the internet where women really pull together as a community was a huge eye opener and I can only try to add to that.

I don’t think anyone is really qualified to give advise on pregnancy/motherhood, everyone has their own ways and it can get quite patronising, so I’d say have faith in your own instincts and don’t feel bad if you need to politely ask someone to back off. Keep a positive head on your shoulders, make some mama friends and enjoy every second!

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I miss being pregnant so much, I loved being pregnant. It’s a such a surreal feeling to be carrying a little human, when you think about it it’s almost alien isn’t it?! I’m really selfish and enjoyed being the closest one to him! I certainly don’t miss waking up every 20 minutes through the night though, that I could have done without.

Tattooing was something I took interest in quite early on in life, a lot of my other interests at that time were easily interwoven with tattooing so it was something I was bound to bump into at some point. My partner George tattoos, we both paint together and get tattooed, so it’s something that would be hard for me to avoid. My tattoos don’t have any great personal meanings or anything fancy like that, they’re just a collection of designs I like by people I’ve wanted to get tattooed by. George and I tend to spend the year saving and then travel to different parts of the world to get tattooed by some awesome artists. It’s allowed me to meet people I otherwise wouldn’t of crossed paths with, and it’s a great reason to travel. We have plans to travel and get tattooed a lot more this year, this time with Reuben in tow, I’m excited to show him the world this time round!

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Toy Tattoo Machines

Emily Rose is a 31-year-old stay at home mom who was a tattooer in Lewisville, North Carolina in the United States who runs an Etsy business from home selling toy tattoo machines that she makes. We chatted to Emily about how she makes the toys and what inspired her to do so… 

il_570xN.808635497_4h7wMy health and lack of child care after having our daughter meant that I was forced to stop tattooing for the time being but I found a way to still contribute to my family and stay somewhat relevant in the tattoo industry when I started my Etsy adventure so I just found another way to work.

I have a solid background in art, I’ve been in art classes my whole life and have my bachelor’s degree in fine arts from a university here in North Carolina. I started my apprenticeship straight out of college and never looked back; I was 21 and now my husband and I run our own shop in our little rural town. He now tattoos there by himself while I’m home with our daughter making toys. It’s tough but I like to think we’re making the best of some difficult situations we’ve been handed.

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I created my toy tattoo machines out of necessity really, our daughter just needed one, and there wasn’t one out there for her, so I made one. She stayed at the shop with us for the first year of her life, we opened the shop when she was a month old. I had to take her with me to breastfeed and tattoo, it was a mess really, but the one thing that made it all worth it was seeing how much she really loved to be at the shop as she grew. The bigger she got the easier it was to have her there with us, so she’s just been a little shop girl from day one.

It was too hard for me to say “no you can’t handle that machine, or that ink” because she couldn’t understand why, so I tried to find ways to make her feel like a part of what we were doing at the shop. But it really inspired me to start making her things that she could use to mimic what she saw us doing at work. I thought they make those little doctor kits why not a tattoo kit? And it worked!

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She had her own little machine and didn’t need to mess with mine, she had something that made her feel like a part of the work day and I decided to start selling them locally before I eventually opened up an Etsy shop. The first ones I made were just scraps of wood and bits of stuff I had laying around, I was able to make them better! I save enough here and there for a new tool or some fancy new paints and I get the most rewarding feedback from moms out there! I could tell my own little one was dying for a way to connect with us over work, she sees us so dedicated and in love with our work I think it’s only natural for her to want to be a part of that too.
I’m beyond excited to see how many people are ordering for little girls, the toys avaliable for girls are still geared towards shopping and domestic duties so I’m happy to see how often the pinks sell out! People are excited to give their kids something other than what they see at the store, and they’re excited to be getting it from me! It’s amazing!

 

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I grew up around the art world but it wasn’t until I started getting tattooed that I really felt like I’d found where I was meant to be. I just felt an instant sense of belonging in the tattoo industry as soon as I was old enough to start collecting my own. I was drawn to tattooing because for me I can make such an impact on someone’s life just by giving them the fruits of my labor. I can tattoo anyone, normal people, cancer patients or victims with scars and they always feel so much better afterwards. I liked the idea of sitting with someone and helping them make a monument on their bodies to some internal struggle or painful event, I loved the idea of helping people feel more beautiful.
When I get tattooed it’s almost like I’m becoming more of who I was meant to be, like this colored and decorated version is the real me and I’m just revealing it as I get tattooed, I wanted to help people feel that way too. I also really enjoyed being friends with artists, feeling really connected to them as the people I’d chosen to tattoo me. It’s a special bond, I miss it terribly!

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My own tattoos are mostly pieces I’ve collected from friends at conventions and shops in my years. I have a full sleeve from an amazing friend in Texas named Mark Vanness and it’s a whole arm of birds, it’s probably my favorite! I have a birds nest on my hand there and even a secret ostrich on my bicep, my other arm is generally American traditional and I have black and gray movie portraits on one leg, and some weird ocean creatures on my other leg. I’ve been saving my back for a really epic pelican I’ve been thinking about for years while waiting for the right artist to cross my path. I have saved all the worst spots for last.

Check out Emily’s Etsy store for tattoo toy machines… 

Apprentice Love: Kathryn Kirk

We spotted the work of apprentice Kathryn Kirk, 27 on Instagram and instantly loved her dark art and black tattoos. We chatted to Kathryn to find out more about her life as an apprentice at Addiction Tattoo & Piercing Bangor, Northern Ireland where she works… 

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Inspired by Things&Ink Kathryn created this feathery babe just for us… 

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How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing just under a year now.

How did you start? What did you do before? Before tattooing I had just graduated from Queens university Belfast, working for a music venue and in retail part time. I was drawing and painting but it took until I was 25 to work up the courage to put together a portfolio and publicly seek an apprenticeship. I was very lucky to have spent time working reception and apprentice duties in one of Belfast’s most reputable studios. Since then I have been keeping my head down, learning my craft and working very hard.

Do you have a background in art? From a very young age I was always making or painting something. After leaving school I studied performing arts and drama for six years with a focus on design work – costume, sets, installation pieces, film, etc. I enjoy the process of planning, making and completing something with a hands-on approach.

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What drew you to the tattoo world? I grew up listening to punk and metal music with a lot of tattooed musicians so it always felt hand in hand to me. As far as I can remember, Uncle Allan was the first tattooist I paid attention to because he was mentioned in a band interview I read in a magazine. I was such a big Brody Dalle fan so seeing a woman in a punk band being a badass with tattoos was just everything to a 14 year old me! I had older friends that had tattoos and that along with reading music and tattoo magazines and seeing the array of artists and styles made me want to get into the industry. The more I saw and learned about the tattoo world the more I wanted to be a part of it.

Describe your style, how has it changed? I wouldn’t say I have a style, being so early in my career I’m trying my hand at everything. At present I’m flirting with traditional and geometric tattooing, but ask me in a few years!

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What medium do you use for your illustrations? I use fine liner pens and technical pencils for drawing and tattoo ink to shade- mostly black. I like to use my illustrations to create hand printed candles and various homewares, which I think are a nice change to flat tattoo prints.

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What inspires you? Inspiration comes from anything, I to follow so many amazing artists through social media and I’m exposed to so many different styles of work, textiles, old photographs, movies and music, books, the list goes on! My family and my boyfriend are a massive inspiration to me. They give me the motivation, inspiration and confidence to tackle every challenge. My father has owned his business for 26 years and to this day still works on developing his skills and progressing with fresh ideas. He works incredibly hard with little recognition but he always makes sure the standard and quality of his work speaks for itself. That’s something I aspire to and his work ethic inspires me to keep going. Hopefully I haven’t embarrassed him – sorry dad!

What would you love to tattoo? There’s so much I would love to tattoo, and that’s what I work towards everyday. I can’t wait to be creating pieces that make people go ‘wow, how did you do that?’

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What is a typical day like for you? Because I tattoo part time and have a job on the side, every day is different but I guess a typical tattoo day for me is up early, in for cleaning, any drawing and prep for the tattoo, station set up and making sure I have snacks and a good playlist. I spend a lot of time drawing and researching, my main objective at this early stage is putting the best work out there that I can and constantly improving. I have a high expectation of myself and what I want to achieve so that’s what I work towards.

Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? Not at this point but I definitely want to meet more artists and studios so would love any opportunities as soon as I’d feel confident enough. Through selling my work online I have been very lucky in being able to send my art all over the world, and I hope someday I’ll be in the position to tattoo in these places too, but all in good time.

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Can you tell us about your own tattoos? I like collecting pieces from different artists so I’ve picked up some lovely work from both local and travelling artists, or when I have been away somewhere. My right arm is all traditional but my favourite pieces are a reaper from Joseph Deegan (Shamrock Classic Ink Dublin) and a switch blade my boyfriend and I both got by Tanya De Souza-Meally in AKA Berlin. I have a Tibetan half sleeve on my left leg by Chris Crooks (White Dragon Tattoo) which was done about seven years ago. My most recent is a rose on my right hand by Danielle Rose.
I’ve been mindful of the scale of work I want to get over the next few years so I have left a lot of big areas blank. I’d love work from Laura Yahna, Guy Le Tattooer, Scott Move, Gakkin, Jondix and Rafel Delalande… so lots and lots of black work!

Interview with Holly Marie

Holly Marie is a 20-year-old Disney fanatic tea sipping tattooist who works out of Creative Body Art in Coventry, and creates kawaii bright cute tattoos. We chatted to Holly about her love for Disney, video games and  her tattoo collection… 

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How long have you been tattooing?  I have been tattooing professionally from Creative Body Art Tattoo Studio for a year this coming April! I am so pleased with my progress over the past year, but it is still just the beginning for where my work will go.

What drew you to the tattoo world?  My first interest in tattoos was way before I can remember, I have always been very into art and appreciated body modification from a young age. I used to watch the beautiful Kat Von D, when I was 13, and tattooing and collecting a large amount of tattoos became my ultimate dream; not one that I ever thought I would get the chance to fulfil though!

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What did you do before? 
Before I was a tattoo artist I had a couple of retail jobs whilst studying art at college and even considered training to be a dental assistant after receiving my art qualifications but I learnt quickly that I did not suit that career. Luckily I was in the right place at the right time and slowly made my way into the industry in 2013 through a two year apprenticeship which consisted of daily tasks, such as making coffee and sterilizing equipment for artists that I was learning from.

What do you like to draw and tattoo? My most preferred style to tattoo/design is bright and beautiful coloured pieces with bold lines! It still blows me away when people see my designs on social media and ask to have them transformed into tattoos but in general I just adore tattooing all of the fabulous quirky bright ideas that people trust in me to put on their skin. I genuinely find it hard to sleep from excitement if I know I am making (for example, some of my biggest passions) a Disney, Harry Potter or Pokémon tattoo the next day! But following that, I put heart into every tattoo that I do; no matter the size or design. From the smallest dainty infinity symbol to a half sleeve of tribal if it means something to the customer then creating it personally for them means everything to me.

Not just the artistic side of the job makes it the best job in the world though; talking and laughing with my clients is wonderful, I adore hearing the stories from every walk of life and I live to see the smile when they get that first look at their finished piece!

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What inspires you? I am inspired to work hard and put everything into what I do by my tattoo family at Creative Body Art, Joanne Leslie, Mia Joyce, Dave Boyle and our talented piercer/receptionist Jessica McGuinness. We are all so different style wise but we bounce off each other and encourage each other daily. When I am trying to inspire myself to create new designs my usual set up is a cup of tea, snuggled in pyjamas with a Disney film running in the background, pens and pencils at the ready with my noble steeds (Chihuahuas) by my side!

Are there any artists you admire, do they influence your work? I admire, respect and follow as many tattoo artists from around the globe as I can but would have to say our lovely local artists at Grizzly’s and Hales St are definitely ones that I will have to mention. They warmly welcomed me into this industry and I hope to see them for more tattoos/conventions with our team at Creative Body Art in the future!

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Can you tell us about your own tattoos? I collect a lot of bright and wonderful tattoos that I adore spread across my back, legs and arms! Mostly Disney, Alice in Wonderland and nature themed in a variety of styles and colours, although one exception is a black and grey portrait of my late grandad that I cherish dearly on my arm. I plan on growing my own tattoo collection as I develop more as a tattooist.

Vitiligo Tattoo

Tiffany Posteraro has vitiligo a long term skin condition that causes white pale patches of skin to form on her body. Her whole life Tiffany has been stared at and commented on, as a child she was bullied. To fight against those that tried to knock her confidence and shatter her self worth Tiffany got a tattoo.

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The tattoo on her arm clearly states her condition to those staring at her- ‘it’s called vitiligo’, and answers people’s question as to what is going on with her skin before they have even asked it.

Tiffany’s tattoo reflects how she has accepted herself and that she is proud to embrace her Vitiligo instead of hiding it. She has chosen to become an advocate for the condition and spread body positivity and self love to others.

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Home Ink

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti tells us about the Home Ink tattoo party held at Home rock bar a night full of tattoos, burlesque and prizes… 

In December after I long day at work I found myself browsing Instagram and I came across a tattoo competition connected to Home Ink 2015, an event I really wanted to go to. It was being promoted by Home Festival, a music festival that I  love a lot and that is always held in my home town.
So I said to myself, why not? Let’s do it!

To enter the competition all you had to do was share one of your favourite tattoos on Instagram, tagging the organiser in the picture and then getting as many likes as you could. It was very simple, so I decided to share my bunny tattoo (by Amy Savage) and a few days later, they told me  that I won the Instagram contest!

My Rabbit by Amy Savage

The tattoo party was located at Home Rock Bar (Treviso), a great bar with good music and a fresh atmosphere.
The main theme was tattoo and their motto ‘Stay Inked, Stay Home!’ was plastered around the place, I loved the decor.

Home Rock Bar

The judges were Tizio from Klinik Studio, Amedeo Lombardi who organises the Home Festival events, a member of Tattoo Defender team, a tattoo artist and a tattoo lover chosen from the crowd.

Each participant (from the public) was given an identification number and allocated a category based on the size of your tattoo. During the evening you were called by the presenters to parade and show off your ink. As you were showing the judges your tattoo you weren’t allowed to mention who it was done by, as this may have influenced their decision.

Prizes

While the judges voted in secret the crowd was entertained by a burlesque show by Genny Mirtillo, she is such a lovely girl and I loved her fire eating abilities!
The show ended and the judges announced the winners. Once you were entered into the winners rank, you were called to appear again on stage, and collect the prize won. When it came my turn, I was a bit nervous. But it was also pretty exciting!

Genny Mirtillo

I won a special limited edition pack where I got free entrance to the four day Home Festival events, some cute Sun68 gadgets I will receive this September, a personalised plate with the date and logo of the event and a little bag containing fir seeds to make the world a more sustainable place! Such a cute pack of goodies, right?

Home Festival is without any doubt the best music festival in Italy, you just need to take a look at last year’s line up. So I’m very happy to have joined this Instagram competition, and I can’t wait to find out who is going to play this September!