Tagged: tattoo

Alzheimer’s: A tattoo to remember


58-year-old Rita Stonecipher has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, a disease which damages the brain leading to memory loss, difficulties with thinking, language and problem-solving. As Rita experienced gaps in her memories and trouble completing sentences she decided that it was time to immortalise her son, Tanner, with a portrait tattoo.

Tanner fought in Iraq and on returning home suffered post traumatic stress, he later committed suicide after running into trouble with the law and turning to alcohol for comfort. Rita hopes that the tattoo will keep the memory of her son alive long after she forgets his name

Watch the video below to hear Rita’s story:

Image from Times Free Press

Interview with Tattoo Artist: Alessandro Lemme

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to tattoo artist Alessandro Lemme who works out of Psycho Tattoo studio in Rome. His clean lines and selective colour palette lend themselves to the world of traditional tattoos. 

Alessandro Lemme (3)
When I first saw your work on Instagram, I knew right away that the tattoos had been made by an artist who had real passion in his blood. Did you always know you would become a tattooist? I don’t think it was a flash of inspiration but rather a path. It starting from painting and drawing (that I have always cultivated), and from the first tattoos seen on other people. It all developed gradually, as my interest for tattoos increased, not only the ones on myself but also the ones I made for others.

How do you feel now that you are doing what you love? Very lucky, and grateful.

Alessandro Lemme

What fascinates you the most about the history of tattooing? And tattooing itself? I believe that, in a world that is becoming increasingly abstract and dull, chained to masks and superficial appearances of yourself, the tattoo continues to be a powerful means of self-determination and concrete aesthetics. It is a re-appropriation of your own body and your own inner life, with flesh, blood and symbols, and therefore reality and truth.

The colours you use for your tattoos denote a great love for the past and at the same time they are traditional yet delicate. Do you agree? I hope so, although I do not think they are so unique and rare. I don’t know if we can call it nostalgia, but I think that wherever there is love and respect for the history and the past, there will always be good tattoo artists.

Alessandro Lemme (2)

You can create a strong and fierce subject, like a tiger, and at the same time a romantic and mysterious one, like a mermaid. What are your everyday inspirations? The tattoo artists of the past, that’s for sure. I can produce and draw what I want, but I could never create something that coincides with my idea of tattooing without their inheritance. In my ideal tattoo shop, drawings are chosen from the flash sheets affixed to the walls. I do not think at all that perpetuating (even without inventing) is demeaning. There is no doubt that there are and have been great and brilliant innovators of style and iconography, but our world – at least up to a certain point and period – has often had little to do with the ‘real artists’, as it has been composed mostly by people who have just ‘done tattoos’.

What are the subjects you would like to tattoo but you havent’t yet? The Rock of Ages, perhaps the king among the subjects of traditional style. It’s my dream and I hope it will come true!

Alessandro Lemme (4)

Tell us about the first tattoo you got and also about the most recent. Two different times on the same skin. What are the differences (if any)? My first tattoo was a Viking on my right shoulder, I was almost 17 years old. I remember that there wasn’t a lot of tattoo shops to choose from and the flash was limited: warriors, tribal and then fairies for girls! Coming from a metal environment, the decision of what subject to get wasn’t difficult! The last needles to hurt my skin were those who traced the lines of my back, by Alessandro Turcio. Two tigers fighting, immersed in vegetation, including palm trees, roses and butterflies. I think the difference consists essentially in the knowledge and preparation regarding the subject, and in the awareness of getting tattooed by an artist I trust.

Do you admire other artists? Do you have any values that you would never give up? I admire anybody who is sincere in what he does and who knows how to do it well. Both those who decide to remain stubbornly in the furrow and those who try to climb over it. Every person and artist who is good, skilled, experienced and humble.

Alessandro Lemme (5)

How important is humility for you? Both in your life and in the customer/tattoo artist relationship. It often seems that those who are full of themselves manage to attract and convince as many customers as possible. I believe that, after all, it is nothing more than a state of mind, a distinctive feature of some characters: what brings you to consider yourself to be close to others, rather than constantly trying to walk over their head.

Will you be doing any guest spots abroad? Yes, I will be in London, at the Family Business, from 5th to 9th October!

Music Interview: Atreyu

Californian Metalcore legends Atreyu have just completed their first UK tour in nearly 5 years – following a lengthy hiatus, the band were playing a couple of intimate warm up shows at smaller venues prior to appearances at the Reading & Leeds festivals. Our guest music blogger Robert Moody caught up with the band at their sold out Nottingham show:


(From the left: Brandon Saller – drummer and vocalist, Dan Jacobs – guitarist, Robert Moody – our guest blogger, Alex Varkatzas – vocalist and Travis Miguel – guitarist.)

You’re playing much smaller venues for these warm up shows than you would normally play – how has that been on the tour so far?

Alex Varkatzas: No venue too big, no venue too small!

Brandon Saller: They’ve been a blast, it’s what we came from so it’s awesome to have an opportunity to do something like that. Sweating on kids, getting kicked in the face, it’s a good time!

And after this you’ll be playing the bigger shows at Reading and Leeds Festivals, how much are you looking forward to those?

Brandon Saller: I’m stoked, I really love the UK and their approach to festivals, they’re such big events and you get to see so many friends, it’s going to be a really good time.

Any other bands in particular you’re going to try and catch while you’re there?

Brandon Saller:  I’m not sure if they’re on the same day as us but I’d like to see Beartooth, they’re doing a tour with us later this year in the States. Stoked to see Bring Me The Horizon, stoked to see Pvris, stoked to see Ghost…

Travis Miguel: Be good to see our friends in Metallica…

Alex Varkatzas: Yeah we haven’t played with Metallica for a couple of years so it’ll be good to reunite!

Thinking about your new album, the songs we’ve heard so far have had a varied sound, almost encapsulating the styles of the band over the years. With that in mind, how would you describe the band’s sound now, and what does the rest of the album have in store?

Brandon Saller: I feel like this album has a lot of the spirit of our youth, combined with a lot of the things we’ve learned along the way…

Alex Varkatzas: It’s the spirit of our youth combined with the maturity of our years.

Brandon Saller: Exactly – it’s an Atreyu fan’s record, to be honest.

Several members of the band have always had a lot of prominent tattoos and artwork, even dating back to your early days, would you mind sharing some of the inspiration behind what you’ve had done and telling us a little bit about what motivates the tattoos you get?

Brandon Saller:  Personally, I’m not that big on the deep meaning behind my tattoos, I’m a lot more about the art. Several of my tattoos do have meaning of course, this key (below) was a gift for my wife for our 2nd anniversary, I’ve got tattoos for my Mom and Dad…but for the most part, a lot of my tattoos are because I’m appreciative of the art.


Alex Varkatzas: Yeah when I was younger, I was very appreciative of the art, but now I take the art and twist it in my own mind to make it personal. I just got a really large thigh-piece of an English Bulldog fighting a Cobra (below), and that’s because I have an English Bulldog and I love her…and I fucking hate snakes! So for me that’s about conquering fear.


You’ve travelled around the world with the band, are there any particular places that have inspired you or stuck with you after you’ve visited them?

Brandon Saller:  I’m a huge fan of the UK, Japan, Australia…

Alex Varkatzas: Which has some of the best tattoos, I think. I think everyone in Australia has really good tattoos. I really like Italy, I’d love to get tattooed there.

Brandon Saller:  Alex has just recently started tattooing, so he’s probably a bit deeper into it now than the four of us are. But it’s always helpful to have someone who knows where the good tattoo places are, wherever you go!

And have you found that it’s given you a new appreciation of the art, now you’ve experienced the other side of it?

Alex Varkatzas: Absolutely. It’s hard. It takes years to learn the craft – so you appreciate it so much more. It’s awesome.

As you mentioned, you’re heading back to the States for the tour with Beartooth, which is really the band’s first ‘normal’ tour since the break – does this mean the band is going back to the touring lifestyle now or is that just a one off?

Alex Varkatzas: It’s more that, as long as it’s fun, and it makes sense, we do it. So we might do this tour and then just cancel everything after it! I don’t think we will, of course – just as long as it’s fun.

Brandon Saller:  We just want to take as much of the ‘job’ aspect of being in a band out of the equation, and just enjoy every second of what we’re doing. We’ve scaled back a bit, we might be touring a little less, but we’d definitely want to get some packages together and then perhaps to a few shows here and there as well.

And are you finding the touring experience any different this time around?

Brandon Saller:  I think we appreciate it more now. For us it’s been great, the energy at our shows has been pretty fucking crazy.

Alex Varkatzas: We’re touring in a smarter manner these days, not just taking every single show that comes our way. The way we see it is that it’s a lot easier to get through some sprints, than it is to run 10 miles. So we can just put more effort into it. So for me, if I know I’m only going on tour for a couple of weeks, I can just go all out. If you’re going out for 3 months, you can’t do that. Plus it’s not so much fun when you’re just doing the same thing every day, so we just come out here, really push ourselves, give the cliché 150%. Then I feel more engaged with it and I think the audiences are more engaged. A good way to describe it is like the NFL season in America – it’s only 16 games, every game counts.

Dan Jacobs: We want our touring career to be like the NFL season and not the Baseball season which is way too long!!

Well we know the London show in April delivered on that so if it’s half as good tonight we should be in for a hell of a time!

Brandon Saller: It should be great, it’s been sold out for some time I think, I think the kids are excited and we’re excited too.

Ashley Riot & Cristina Gogo Blackwater

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to travelling tattoo artist Ashley Riot and artist Cristina Gogo Blackwater. The couple share their work, relationship and hopes for the future in this intimate interview… 

Chris&Ashley (1)

 photo: Carlo Carletti | editing: Claudia Cosentino

How would you introduce your other half to our readers?
Cris: Ashley is an undeniably talented tattoo artist and painter with deep, intelligent eyes and a kind soul. He is gentle but fearless, patient but constantly curious, handsome and brave. He’s also really sweet while having a certain kind of dark side about him, a particular combination of pluses and minuses that makes us similar, and that I believe brought us (and keeps us) together. He’s my space captain, my everything.

Ash: My own personal muse. An equally beautiful and intelligent woman with her head and heart in the right place. Cristina’s curiosity and quest for knowledge and adventure are on par with my own. My soul mate. She’s a jack of all trades, easily picking up new hobbies and making rad new things. Most people would say, “oh, she’s that babe on the cover of all those tattoo magazines.” They aren’t wrong, but there’s many more layers of awesome tucked away in this one.

Traveling is part of your lives, is it a stimulus that enriches you, or a taxing, tiresome experience?
It can be both enriching and exhausting, but the highs are much higher than the lows. There is this famous Bill Murray quote that goes something along the lines of  “if you think you met The One, don’t just date and get married. Buy a plane ticket and travel the world, in places that are hard to go to and get out of. If you’re still in love when you come back, then you know you found the one” and I couldn’t agree more. I am seeing the world with the one I love. I am sharing every memory, every moment. I’m an only child so being alone was always a big part of my life. Now we can be alone together, and grow up together.

Ash: My wife crushed it. I can’t say how many excellent humans we’ve met already in our travels and how many more we look forward to meeting.

Cris&Ashley (3) (1)

 photo: Carlo Carletti | editing: Claudia Cosentino

Is your work your only passion, or do you have any future projects?
Cris: The great thing about making a living as an independent artist, is that every hobby and every passion can be a part of your work. Certainly this is much less secure than having a regular pay check, and is sometimes a risk, but I don’t live to make money as an ultimate and absolute goal, because it’s not money itself that was ever my passion. Each year my favorite part of my job is different. Right now, I am completely enamored with my hand embroideries of tattoo flash designs. Very few things make me happier than creating something with my hands.

Ash: Work definitely keeps us both busy. There’s always ideas brewing in the back of my head but very often, after drawing designs for tattoos and making those tattoos, I’m shot. It’s a very demanding craft both physically and mentally.

Ashley Works (12)

Tattoo by Ashley

Is there a correlation between tattoos and sentiment?
Cris: I would say so.  I don’t think that the subject of a tattoo necessarily has to signify something sentimentally relevant, in fact I have very few tattoos like that. I prefer to get inspired by a vague idea of something I like, and then bring it to a particular tattooer and let them interpret it in their own way. At the same time, the more time goes by the more each tattoo reminds me of a particular moment in time.

Ash: Certainly each tattoo contains sentimental value; I don’t have names, dates, or memorial tattoos on myself, but each tattoo most definitely has a memory attached to it. I can look at each of my tattoos and reminisce on numerous situations, cities and friends. I can see times of sadness, madness, and most importantly happiness that have sculpted me into the human that I am today.

Cris&Ashley (1)

photo: Carlo Carletti | editing: Claudia Cosentino

To which of your (and his/hers) tattoos are you most attached to?
Cris:  I am most attached to the ones that I got out of love and friendship. As far as Ashley’s tattoos, I am extremely fond of the ones on his torso. Perhaps because I’m not very tall so my gaze often falls on that area, or maybe it’s because it makes me think of our closest moments.

Ash: I think on myself I have too many good ones to have a personal favourite. I could say which I hate my most, but I’ll hold my tongue! Cristina has a bunch of really nice tattoos. I would say that the ones I did are my favourites.

Does your life together follow a specific style, or philosophy?
Cris: I guess because of how we look and what we do, we could easily fit the stylistic profile of others who live similar lives as us, but I tend to focus on the core of things, and in my head the only philosophy that matters is very simple: to experience everything, regret nothing, and to be decent, respectful people. To never intentionally hurt anyone, nor each other, nor ourselves. To love each other, and have fun together, and mostly never take anything too seriously. It’s always a work in progress of course, but to me, that’s really ALL there is to it.

Ash: She definitely speaks for both of us on this one.

Embroideries by Cristina (2) (1)

Embroidery by Cris 

What does “forever” mean to you?
Cris: I can’t really grasp the concept of forever as an absolute, it’s just too much to wrap my head around. I can have a very vague scientific understanding of it, but that’s sort of irrelevant, in a way. In my very limited, relative to my life kind of way, I like to be a little bit of a romantic and think that love is forever.

Ash: F-O-R-E-V-E-R? I think it’s the outside edge of our mental capacity to understand such a massive span of time. I feel like it’s easier to think of it in a narcissistic way; as the span of time from birth to inevitably becoming worm food. This tiny window of time which holds every memory and interaction that will ever exist is your personal forever.

Ashley Works (8)Tattoo by Ashley

Personally, I believe that everything that is made by hand (be it a tattoo, or an embroidery), captures the energy of its artist. Do you think this is possible?
Cris: I think it’s absolutely possible. Perhaps I’m overly optimistic and positive about it, but to me, even when the work in question appears to be rushed and meaningless, a little bit of the soul of who made it is inevitably embedded in it.

Ash: I try my best to live up to that philosophy. Sometimes there’s only so much of yourself that you can put into someone else’s dream about their tattoo. After all, it is their tattoo. I’m mostly certainly up for this challenge each and every time.

Have you ever tattooed each other? If so, what was it?
Cris: I have a few tattoos that he did on me by now, and I love them all so much!  And I scribbled on his leg once, a few years ago: it’s horrible of course, but it’s a great memory of our first trip together.

Ash: I can happily say that I lost count. I really like to test myself when I tattoo Cristina.

Embroideries by Cristina (1)Embroidery by Cris

When Tattoo Culture and Fashion Collide

Our guest blogger is Jade-Bailey Dowling, fashion writer and creator of Nouvelle Noir, a blog dedicated to dark fashion. In this post she explores tattoos in the world of fashion… 

Fashion and tattoo art appear to have very little in common . While fashion is fleeting by its very nature – trends change twice a year – tattoos are a life-long commitment. Yes, there are, of course, “trends” in tattooing (take the tribal mania of the ’90s, or the current love of the mandala), but when deciding to get tattooed, you put far more thought into it than which new season shoes to purchase.

However, fashion has repeatedly looked towards the tattoo community to gain inspiration for their own craft.


Designer Jean Paul Gaultier has repeatedly drawn inspiration from body art in his designs. His signature style originated from nautical influence, and this too included the body art and tattoos sported by sailors. While the Breton stripe was prominent in his early work, traditional Japanese style patterns were seen in the Spring/Summer 2012 collection – printed on women’s shoes and handbags, as well as earlier in the Gaultier menswear. His tattoo infatuation was enhanced further when designing the Diet Coke bottles (also in 2012), a campaign that saw Gaultier cover model Daisy Lowe in temporary body art to promote the collection.

Coca Cola

And Jean Paul Gaultier is not alone in bringing tattoo art to haute couture. In 2012, Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel, sent models down the catwalk covered in Chanel-esque temporary tattoos. Designs included pearls, the brands signature interlocking Cs and brands namesake and creator, Coco Chanel’s favourite flower, a camellia. They had been designed by the brand’s former make-up director Peter Philips, and at £45 a sheet, fashionistas could get the tattoo trend without the commitment of a lifelong addition.


This seeming ‘tattoo trend’ looks to continue into Spring/Summer ’16, McQueen has designed a new take on the brand’s signature skull scarf to incorporate traditional flash style artwork alongside it. At £95, tattoo flash sheets become wearable in these silk scarves.

Alexander McQueen

Kate Moss is noted for having a small swallow tattoo on her wrist, but previously models, in particular female models, were discouraged from having large, visable tattoos in the fear of hindering their careers. This seems to be changing gradually, with the likes of Cara Delevingne proudly showing off her many visable artworks, including a lion on her finger. Also, at the Met Gala this year – a yearly fashion event held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by U.S Vogue editor Anna Wintour – Cara Delevingne decorated herself with cherry blossom airbrushed body art, done by New York tattoo artist Bang Bang, in keeping with the theme of Chinese Whispers: Through the Looking Glass.

W Magazine

More recently, cult shoe brand Dr Martens looked towards tattoo artistry for inspiration. Their Spring/Summer 2015 collection included shoes, satchels and dresses adorned with traditional style tattoo patterns. Similarly, for Brighton Pride 2015, Dr Martens teamed up with tattoo artists from the local area to come together for a charity raffle with prizes including shoes and bags custom decorated by local tattoo artists.

Dr Martens

Tattoos and fashion have collided in a more permanent way (forget the temporary tats) on the high street too… A few years ago, consumers could not only get their fashion fix, but they could also get a tattoo in the Metal Morphosis studio in Topshop’s flag ship store in Oxford Circus. And last year, legendary department store Selfridges had a pop-up tattoo parlour for two weeks.

Although it’s great that body art and tattoos are seemingly being more accepted into society, especially within fashion, taking inspiration from the late Yves Saint Laurent quote, perhaps trend seekers should remember that fashions fade, while tattoos are eternal.

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.


Charity Tattoo: Still Standing

Our Italian contributor Ilaria went to the charity event ‘Still Standing’ at Adrenalink tattoo shop in Marghera, to raise money for the victims of a tornado in Venice. Here is her diary of the day and the tattoos that were created…   

admin-ajax (5)


On 8th July, a tornado hit the Venice outskirts along the Riviera del Brenta, known for the magnificent Venetian Villas. Many people have volunteered to help those who have been affected by this terrible misfortune.  When a tornado hits a place it doesn’t consider religions, borders or the colour of skin. It just follows its own route and destroys. Many homes and lives have been ruined. Millions of euros worth of damage has been caused and hundreds of families have been left without a place to call home. The fear was – and still is – huge, because such an event has never occurred in Italy before.

To support those victims of this natural disaster Adrenalink tattoo shop decided to organise a charity event!

admin-ajax (6)


Crez and Stefy, tattoo artists and owners of the shop, who are known in the tattooing industry for creating high quality tattoos, influenced by Japanese history and culture. On Sunday 26 July 2015, they came together with tattoo artists Rio and Diego to help those who are unfortunately now in difficulty, with a 100% charitable event called ‘Still Standing’.


admin-ajax (7)

Tattoos by Rio

The walk-in day started from 4pm, with tattoo flash prepared especially for the occasion, there were prints available to buy as well as DJ sets and entertainment.

admin-ajax (8)


Everyone loved the array of flash and each tattoo started at €50 and then people would bid on each design, the highest bidder would then have the flash tattooed. I thought this was a great way to raise money, as everyone could help give to charity and the starting bid was really affordable. Every one who got tattooed during that day was also thinking about helping someone else. And that’s simply great.

admin-ajax (9)


Tattoos by Stefy

admin-ajax (10)


Tattoos by Crez

Once again tattoos are a force that brings people together, beating down old barriers. What better way to show your solidarity to others than with a charity tattoo? All of these tattoos have a story and piece of life to tell, they are now connected with the tornado and the disaster that ensued.

Dad gets cochlear implant tattoo to support daughter

Alistair Campbell, a father from New Zealand, has got a cochlear implant tattoo to support his hearing impaired daughter. His six-year-old daughter has two of the implants to help her hear, as she is profoundly deaf in one ear and has a condition which limits the amount of sound transmitted to her brain. Now her dad has one to match.

He had the tattoo to show his daughter that “he could go through a little bit of pain for her too.”

When Charlotte saw her dad’s version of a cochlear implant she giggled, touched it and told him it was “cool”. Charlotte’s mum, Anita Campbell, wasn’t so sure her daughter had quite grasped the significance of the tattoo yet.

Images and family quoted from NZ Herald

Anti-racism Tattoos

Austrian tattoo artist Alexander Smoltschnik offers free tattoos to customers from his studio Pride & Glory, on one condition… that the message is one of anti-racism.

Alex has received over 500 enquiries after he posted a message on Facebook offering free tattoos when people booked in before 18th July. With 200 people instantly signing up to get anti-racism tattoos. The designs range from two stick people of different races holding hands and a fist punching a swastika.

By getting a tattoo you’re making a statement. It is something very personal, you wear it on your body, it’s very visible



Image and quote from BBC & Alex’s Studio

Interview with tattoo artist: Natalie Gardiner

Natalie Petal Gardiner is a 25-year-old tattoo artist who works at Old Town Tattoo in Edinburgh Scotland. She is known for her beautiful animal tattoos filled with ornate detail and character. We chatted to her to find out more about how she started in the industry, what inspires her and why animals are her main subject matter… 

How did you get into the tattoo industry? Art has always been important to me. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a day that went by without me sketching or creating something.  When my older sisters began getting tattooed, my drawings quickly became more tattoo inspired. My walls started to fill up with traditional paintings and drawings. I would tag along when they were booked in and I couldn’t wait to get tattooed myself!

When I got to uni, I started getting tattooed regularly and taking my artwork more seriously. I knew that when I graduated, I was going to begin my search for an apprenticeship. When I moved back home, I got a job in retail and spent every night slaving away over my portfolio.

One morning before work, I plucked up the courage to approach some tattoo studios. I went into each one in Chelmsford, asking advice and showing them my portfolio. Finally I came across Eternal Art. After looking through my drawings and having some nerdy art chat, he offered me an apprenticeship.

How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing professionally now for three years. I had a short apprenticeship, with Prizeman at Eternal Art, which lasted around 6 months. He was very critical of my artwork, strict with my technique and boarder line OCD with hygiene. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that he gave me and for teaching me to push the boundaries.

Do you have a background in art? Academic subjects weren’t easy for me, I still can’t even tell the time! (Hooray for Casio watches). All of my subjects chosen at school, sixth form and university were creative. People sometimes assume that I studied art at university, I actually graduated in video and photography. You don’t need a degree or GCSE’s to get an apprenticeship. When you finally pluck up the courage to approach studios, all you bring is your portfolio and your brave face.

How would you describe your style? I would describe my style as detailed neo-traditional. My friend Josh tells me that I’m autistic, not artistic.
I enjoy building up lots of texture with line work, exploring movement within my subject matter and creating a piece which makes people look twice.

What influences you? What inspires you? The main things that inspire me are animals, plants, nature and jewellery. I have a huge collection of bird books and gardening books. If a stranger was to walk into my house, they would think a green-fingered old lady lived there.  I find wildlife and nature so fascinating. I regularly visit zoos, farms, garden centres and antique shops for inspiration. I’m always captivated by the silliest things, such as wild mushrooms growing in a field, a different bird siluette in the sky or hand painted pub signs.

Are there any artists you admire? Salvador Dali was the first artist to truly inspire me. His surrealist film, photography and artwork was unique and pushed boundaries. Although my designs are usually far from surreal, he is still a key influence in all of my work. There are also many tattoo artist that inspire me, such as Tiny Miss Becca, Antony Flemming and Sam Clark. The neo-traditional ‘scene’ has so many strong artists right now. I enjoy seeing their work on my news feed every day, it encourages me to push and better myself.

What draws you to animals? Are there any subjects you would like to tattoo? My family have always rescued small animals. When I was younger we pretty much had a zoo in the back garden. My weekends were always spent mucking out hutches and handling animals.  I find animals intriguing. They can be much more intelligent, beautiful and loyal than us boring humans. Which is why I have always been drawn to them.

I love that people contact me to book in for a variety of different animals. I also don’t mind taking on some of the more popular tattoo ideas; such as owls, rabbits and foxes. I enjoy the challenge of creating a new and unique design, even if I have drawn the animal many times before. I would like to take on more reptile pieces though. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the fluffy things!

Is there anything you won’t tattoo? I understand that everyone likes different things, so I try not to reject any ideas. Sometimes I help to guide them in a better direction if their ideas a bit naff though. It’s not exactly a design that I wouldn’t tattoo, more the placement. I get asked a lot if I’ve ever tattooed a willy before. The answer’s no and I intend to keep it that way!

Do you have any plans for guest spots or conventions? I have lots of plans for conventions and guesties! Conventions will kick off next year all around the UK, possibly creeping outside of the UK too. As for guest spots, I guest in Essex every month for a whole week! I also guest regularly at Timeless Tattoo, Llanelli, Wales.