Tagged: tattoo

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…   

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!

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’.

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.

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.

Tattoos by Stefy

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.

Liverpool’s First Tattoo Bar Opens

We’ve always been told that tattoos and alcohol don’t mix – and for very good reason…

For one thing, it thins your blood and can make tattooing pretty difficult and messy. Also have you seen the TV shows following drunk people getting tattooed in places like Magaluf, then waking up with their friend’s name or some other random tattoo, and regretting it? However, a new “tattoo bar” called Ink has just opened its doors in Liverpool, meaning you can mix cocktails with a new tattoo…

Ink is a brand new bar that has just opened in Liverpool. It offers not only an extensive cocktail menu, but also a chance to get tattooed on your night out. The bar will host an array of local tattooists in the ‘Tatts n Trims’ section, which will also home celebrity barber Cutthroatpete who can cut your hair for you. This means you can get a new tattoo or a haircut while sipping on a cocktail, genius idea? Or a recipe for disaster…

Check out the Ink Bar Facebook page, for photos from their launch weekend.

Would you get tattooed on a night out? Or have you already done it? We’d love to hear your stories!


Tattoo inspired art: Alisha Murray

Alisha Murray is a 28-year-old freelance artist from Metro Detroit, Michigan. We chatted to Alisha to find out more about her tattoo inspired illustrations, her own tattoos and she has also created an original piece inspired by Things&Ink magazine.  

Do you have a background in art? Yes, I have been doing art since a very young age. It evolved as I got older and better, and even branched into crochet and the culinary arts. Ultimately, traditional artwork is the most rewarding to me. Most of the techniques I’ve learned over the years are from trial and error, but I also learned some of the fundamentals through elementary to high school, but I never went to college for it.

Where do you get your inspiration? Inspiration comes from all places. Lately tattoos both modern and traditional have been a great source of inspiration. I  get a lot of inspiration from the walls of tattoo shops. I have always been drawn to flash art since I was a kid. My grandfather had some ink from the Navy and it always fascinated me and made me want to create similar pieces. As I got old enough to get tattooed, I really paid attention to details of pieces whether American Traditional or Traditional Japanese pieces. They are both styles I admire very much.

How would you describe your style? Most of my newer pieces are a fusion of tattoo flash and hand gestures. I really enjoy making hand gestures that aren’t very politically correct, but still have beautiful tattoos. It’s amazing how much people accept and appreciate some of my more obscene pieces. It makes me happy to know people are just as weird as I am. There are many tattoo artists that create beautiful hand gestures on flesh and I hope I’m doing them right on paper.

Are there any artists that you admire and that influence your work? There are so many amazing artist out there that I admire, such as Bryn Parrot and Liz Clements. Others such as Garth Hixon, Daniel Cotte, Iris Lys, Drew Linden, Anna Sandberg, and Gareth Hawkins have inspired and impacted my work immensely. Every day I see new work from these amazing tattoo artists and I can’t help but be inspired. Their talents make me want to better my work and my knowledge of the tattoo culture.

What medium do you use? I use many different mediums, but I mostly use pen and ink mixed with digital for my hand gestures. I line everything out and finish the background on Photoshop to give it a clean solid colour. Once in a while I’ll use ink and nib with liquid acrylic and watercolour to practice my line work.

Do you have tattoos? Do they have a personal meaning to you? I have many tattoos. I can’t really count them any more. I’m completely solid from my neck to my knees with traditional Japanese pieces. From under my knees down I have some American traditional pieces that I have created or my artist has. I’ve always wanted a full body suit and I’ve been working on it since I turned 18. I always embraced my grandmothers Japanese heritage and was raised learning some of the traditions. Most of these pieces I have are based on Japanese folklore monsters. I always loved the stories behind the mythology of Yurei and how each Provence has different adaptations of them. I knew it was taboo to get ink and be completely covered in tattoos, but I can’t imagine anything more beautiful that someone could do to their own body. It’s definitely the only body enhancement I will partake in. I also have matching tattoos with my husband of our two dogs that I designed. Definitely the biggest matching tattoos I’ve seen. Garth Hixon of Village Tattoo in Romeo, Michigan is the artist behind 99% of my existing body suit.

Where can people buy your art? My art can be purchased at a couple of online stores such as society6.com/alishaannredbubble.com/people/aamurray, and my very own website, scoobtoobins.com. Society6 and Redbubble also carry my work on apparel, bedding, and more.

Interview with tattoo artist: Johnny Gloom

Johnny Gloom is a 23-year-old tattoo artist who works out of a private studio in Paris. Here at Things&Ink we are memorised by Johnny’s simple, yet elegant style and her sophisticatedly seductive women have captivated us. We chatted to Johnny to find out how she became a tattooist and what inspires her…

How long have you been tattooing? One year.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have a background in art? Not really, I was studying communication and advertising in Paris, but it was the wrong direction for me. One day I fell in love with tattoos. I now find myself here in the world of tattoos.

How would you describe your style? I don’t know actually. Minimalist and black.

What inspires you? Absolutely everything inspires me, but mostly emotions. I’m very sensitive to my own emotions. We are all humans and we have common emotions, if it’s about me, someone else too. Love, hate, violence, passion, sex.  Love is the burden of humanity, everyone recognizes it.

What is it about women that means you to chose them as a subject?
I love women, they are the most beautiful things I think. I particularly like Parisian girls, I find them very elegant. I love watching them, their positions, their hands, how they smoke cigarettes, and when they are sad.

Do you admire other artists? Are you influenced by any? I admire lot of artists and tattoos artists. But I try to be influenced by artists who don’t create or have tattoos,  for example photographers Helmut Newton, Steve Klein and Guy Bourdin. They make things that are different.

Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? Maybe, I have planned nothing. I salvage and I love my freedom.

You’re never too old to get your first tattoo

You’re never too old to get your first tattoo and this bad-ass grandma proves it… 

79-year-old Sadie Sellers skipped her care home to join her granddaughter, Samantha at a tattoo studio in Londonderry, Ireland. The grandmother and granddaughter got matching small heart tattoos on their arms. It was a way for both of them to complete an item on their bucket lists: Mrs Sellers said: “You know, when you get to my age, you just have to live life to the full every day.”

The Belfast Telegraph reported that:

Afterwards when asked what her family would think of the tattoo, the grandmother of 11 reportedly left customers at the parlour shocked by retorting: “I don’t f****** care.”