Tagged: tattoo

Interview with Ruslan & Tonya

26-year-old Tonya and 29-year-old Ruslan are tattooers from Russia. The couple work together in their private studio Abusev Tattoo in Moscow. We speak to Tonya about their unique style of tattooing…


When we’re not tattooing at our studio we travel around Europe, soon we’ll be working in Barcelona, then Istanbul and Berlin.

We started our tattoo collaboration over five years ago in Russia. Since then our tattooing has transformed into what we call BIOGRAFIKA. It is not a style it is more like a way to see form and composition on human body. We both tattoo in black and color ink, although I mostly enjoy playing around with my colours and Ruslan likes to stick to black.

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We both work on the composition of a tattoo, creating its shapes and forms. Although I enjoy using colour  in my work, I do agree with Ruslan that black fits best on skin.

Inspiration is what makes our collaboration so special. We inspire each other to be better people, better artists, better tattooers! Working together is not always easy, it takes a lot of patience, and a great will to create something truly unique! We always try to bring something new into every tattoo project.

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It is pretty hard to describe how we met and how we started tattooing together, but each of our lives had wild twists before fate brought us together. Ruslan was working as a professional tattooer when I found him, he did a cover-up for me, and it all went from there – it’s our crazy story!


One which you would love to see in a movie. I truly love the place we have reached so far, it’s a happy life of two tattooers that never let eachother get bored. Tattoos brought passion into my life. And from what I see, every tattoo we create brings a new life chapter to the person wearing it.


Interview with Lucy O’Connell

Lucy O’Connell creates stunning tattoos filled with colour and personality at Red Tattoo and Piercing in Leeds, UK. We chat to  Lucy about her evolving style and inspirations…


What made you want to become a tattoo artist? I started drawing tattoo designs for friends who were older than me when I was around 14. And through doing doodles for them, which I now realise is the most irritating thing to receive as a tattooer, because I knew nothing about the fundamentals of tattoo design, I realised I could do this for a living when I started to do more research. Fortunately tattoos were more accessible in terms of media. I would buy all the magazines available from my area and then go and look up the artists.

What do you love most about your job? I love so many aspects of my job. I love developing my practice, the ability to share ideas and discuss with people I admire, working on a moving canvas is forever a challenge. I just feel like I’m learning all the time, but I also like talking to new people about their experiences in life. And currently I’m really trying to give myself a shove to develop myself more, I give myself a hard time a lot.


What inspires your work and drawings? Everything. Recently I’m trying to look more into myths and old stories to inspire me, but I’ll probably sit on them for a while as they’re such epic tales I need a while to ponder it before I know how to combat it. Nature has a lot to play. Whatever I’m watching can have an impact, or just my mood in general. I find if I’m struggling I’ll watch Attenborough or go to a gallery. Just kind of soak something new in.

What would you love to tattoo? Like I said before I’d like to sink my teeth into some myths and legends. Maybe some religious stuff too from all faiths. Norse gods are really interesting. I think subject matter that’s way bigger than me so I can try break out of my comfort zone. And always birds.


Do you have any designs that you really want to do? I’ve got loads of designs I wanna tattoo, I keep a majority in a little book and take them everywhere with me, and the big ones don’t often get a home so they end up getting painted. I’m struggling more than ever to get rid of stuff I draw, which I can’t decide if that’s me, social media or brexit. I’ll keep trying.

How would you describe your style? It’s a clash of a lot of things. I can’t quite put a definition on it, I’m usually categorised as neo-traditional but I wouldn’t put myself there. I think neo-traditional lines have been blurred. I kind of think I’m a pop culture, neo-trad, art nouveau clash.


Is it fair to say that it has been evolving lately? I hope so, I’m trying to evolve all the time but I’m very aware of it, currently. Since the first convention of the year I’ve had a fire lit under me that makes me want to push myself somewhere that’s not so comfortable. But I hope everyone likes it or can see I’m trying.

What kind of direction would you like to take your work in? I’d like to go into a more layered version of my work. And making everything more animated. I’m also trying to take in light sources. We’ll see what happens.


Do you have any conventions or guest spots planned? I do! No mor plans other than these:

Newcastle – Big North Tattoo ConventionApril 28th & 29th

Essex – Jayne DoeJune 14thth, 15th & 16th

Leeds Tattoo ExpoJuly 7th & 8th

Berlin – Sticks and StonesAugust 9th, 10th & 11th

Palm Tattoos

In this post our editor, Rosalie shares some of her favourite palm tattoos…

There’s something so beautiful and intriguing about getting the palms of your hands tattooed. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the pain and the ink falling out, but this won’t stop any us getting them inked. So I’m going to share a few of my favourites to honour your bravery!


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Forever More The New Tattoo

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


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

Matt Lodder, Preface


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

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



Careers: Tattooed E-Commerce Stylist

We chat to 30-year-old Ecommerce and Editorial Stylist Rebecca Griffin, from Leicester about her tattoo collection…

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What drew you to tattoos, did anyone influence you? I was always fascinated with tattoos and body adornment from a young age, and I chose to research this as a subject when doing a self-directed art project at university. During my college years I was particularly interested in tribal and international cultures, and the meanings behind the traditional ink work you would see covering the bodies of tribal men and women. My fascination then developed into looking into fashion subcultures and how they adorned their bodies with piercings and tattoos, which similarly were influenced by their surroundings.

Can you tell us about some your tattoos? I got my first tattoo at 27, all my tattoos I have are of birds and the reason that I left it so long to get any tattoos, was because I wanted to be sure. As I never want to have any tattoos I’d live to regret. My second tattoo work is a number of birds sitting or moving within wild flowers and leaves. These are my favourite and are by the lovely Tiny Miss Becca!

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Bird tattoos by Tiny Miss Becca

I had originally had the idea to have two birds positioned flying up from he tops of my feet to my ankles surrounded by flowers. Once these was done I decided I wold really love to extend them up and a around the bottom of my legs with more birds and flowers. And Becca agreed and thought it would look great too. Becca has drew each bird to have it own personality and work with each other so they look like they are part of a flock. There is a total of seven birds and the cutest little egg basket.

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I never really been a fan of my legs as I am a very pale person and feel all my vain’s show to much so was never one to get my legs out in public. I now absolutely love my legs and they are my favourite part of me thanks to Becca. She really powers through to achieve the amazing work she done for me. I love that even though we was only planning to start and finish with just the two birds she’s managed to create a design for me that looks as though we always planned to have all the birds wrapped round to begin with. Becca is such an amazing talent and I feel very privileged that she was excited by my idea and wanted to carry on the work for me.

How did you get into your current role? Before I was a e-commerce stylist I was working as a fashion designer, which I enjoyed doing but wanted to have another creative outlet outside of my job. Before I became a designer I used to do visual merchandising for a high street store and wanted to get back into a role similar. I began to style for fashion photographers, I began to build up a fashion styling portfolio by working with models and MUAs. I slowly progressed to improve and have a greater understanding of what was required to fully organise and style a fashion shoot and began to feel inspired to change my career path and get into styling full time. A close friend of mine knew of a e-commerce Stylist opportunity that had arose and advised me to go for it, I did and I got the job and I’ve not looked back since.

Can you tell us a little bit about your other projects too? I still style a lot of fashion shoots out of my full time styling role as I really love the chance of organising and directing a shoot that is fashion editorial inspired. E-commerce styling is great and I love that too, but it’s very commercial and sometimes a little restricting creatively. I really like having a diverse portfolio that shows the work I can create commercially and editorially.

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Photoshoot styled by Rebecca

Did you have to study or have you worked your way up? I have worked my way up to this role and made it a personal goal to keep working hard to gain as much experience in this role as possible. It’s not easy to be able to get models, photographers and make up artists to work with you, which is why it so important to be persistent in your search and communication with fellow creatives.

What is a typical day like? I style in a photo studio based in Rugby, these products are then uploaded to the fashion retailer’s website. When I arrive there is normally a rail of clothing I will need to style a shoot on a standard model size mannequin. I get to use a really cool price of equipment called a style shoot which allows me to get the clothing product I’ve styled shot without the requirement of a photographer. Some days I do style clothing on a mannequin set also, working closely with a photographer to achieve an editable shot that will be re-touched before going on to the retailer’s website. Also the products I shoot need to be shot as symmetrical a possible which sometimes can be a challenge, but is all part of the fun.

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What do you love about your job? The studio I work in means that I get to see and style lots of big name brands, such as Moschino, Alexander McQueen, Emilio Pucci and Versace. I really love having the chance work with these products. I also working in a really nice environment where we all work closely and well together as one big team.

How do you dress for work? Quite casually, jeans and nice t-shirts or shirts with Dr Martens or bright colourful trainers. My style is a little boho hippy, skater-ish rocker with a little sports mixed in. As you can tell I am not very good at describing my style, but my usual aim when I get dressed for work is to wear what comfortable but has a little personality to it.

Do you show off your tattoos? Yes, I do. I’m very lucky to work somewhere that does not discriminate against or does not like tattoos on show.

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How do people react to your tattoos? Majority of the time people love them and are really interested and ask lots of questions. I do on the very rare occasion get disapproving looks but it’s a personal preference thing and I love them which is all that matters

Do you have any advice to other people considering their careers when getting tattooed? I would say go for the career you want to do, you can still have tattoos just be mindful where on your body to have them. If you want a career where tattoos can potentially lower your chances of getting a job then get them in places you can cover them with clothing.

Emily Malice & PETA

Our babe tattoo artist Emily has collaborated with PETA to create a ‘No Fur’ enamel pin, and we love it! 

Mixing a fierce fox design and her signature barbed wire, Emily is spreading the ‘no fur’ message. If you’re a cruelty-free fashion love you can now wear your heart on your collar with the fox and wire pin, modelled by Anaïs Gallagher.


photographer, Chloe Sheppard

“Fur belongs on the animals who are born with it, and I’m proud to rock my fur-free status with this pin,” says Gallagher. “Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for animals – they need us to be their champions.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – notes that animals on fur farms are confined to cramped, filthy cages before they’re drowned, beaten, strangled, electrocuted, or even skinned alive for fur coats, collars, and cuffs. Animals caught in the wild in steel-jaw traps can languish for days – facing blood loss, dehydration, and attacks by predators – before being suffocated or bludgeoned to death.



The pin is available to buy here. For more information, visit PETA.org.uk.

Give Away & Interview: Stuart Gardiner Design

We chat to Stuart and Sam, a husband and wife duo producing design-led, British made home-wares and founders of Stuart Gardiner Design. Check out our Instagram for details of our giveaway (you could win the oven gloves in this photo!)


When did you set up your business? What did you do before? I set up on my own in 2008 leaving behind a job in the music industry designing album covers etc, which after a few years seemed to be a dying business. Going alone seemed like the only option for me, and after that and I had lots of ideas. Sam is a textile designer by trade and she worked at Laura Ashley HQ for 14 years, designing fabrics and wallpapers, but has always had a hand in the business. I used her colour skills from the beginning.

What inspired you to do so? How did it all come about? My degree course was in Graphic Information Design, so this was the info graphic direction was the format my first designs took.


How long have you and Sam been together? How did you meet? Why did you decide to work together? Who is more creative?! We met at school about 25 years ago! We went off to different colleges/universities (me to Falmouth, Sam to Huddersfield). I got my first job in Bristol and Sam in London, so it was a few years before we lived in the same city again. By 2011 the business was growing, we’d had our first child and so after maternity leave Sam joined me in our studio in East London. We made the move out of London two years ago and Sam now works with me three days a week researching and developing new ideas, doing our social media and sales. I wouldn’t dare say who is more creative but it would have been handy if one of us was more business minded – we just have to wing that side of things!

What influences your designs? I grew up heavily into music and skateboarding, and still am, so the rich visual culture of both have had a massive influence on my design work. I’m very drawn to typography and graphic images/illustration in general which I think comes across in my work.


You create a host of tattoo inspired products, do you have tattoos? What draws you to tattoo artwork? We don’t have any ourselves – as a designer I could never commit to having a permanent image etched onto myself – I change my mind too much. I also remember desperately wanting a Celtic band tattooed on my bicep when I was about 18. If I’d had it done, I would never get my arm out now! Saying that, I am very drawn to the graphic styles of tattoos, and I really love the work of tattoo artists like Mike Giant. Someone has had one of our designs tattooed on their leg though (see below)!

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What types of things do you sell? Do you design the illustrations? How are pieces created, what is the process? I never intended the business to be so focused on tea towels and oven gloves, that’s just how it’s happened! My first design ‘A Seasonal Guide to British Fruit and Vegetables’ was originally going to be a print to frame and hang on the wall. But I then thought a tea towel would be handier and always in the kitchen.  The design side is just down to me at the moment. We generally pick a food or drink related subject, research the hell out of it, and then begin an appropriate design solution. It can often take a long time as we try to be as thorough as possible, and we often don’t know much about the subject matter.

Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your products? We do occasionally work on commission and have done projects for Liberty London, the V&A, Selfridges, Friends or the Earth and Lurpak. We have just finished a commission for a new shop called Naiise, a print all about gin. Our products are sold all over the country from gift shops to delis and vineyards, but you can buy the whole range from our website and we ship all over the world.

Head to our Instagram to find out how you can enter our give away to win a whole host of tattooed oven mitts and gloves!

Natural History Museu​m ​of Los Angeles: ​Tattoo An Exhibition

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This November, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles showcases an exhibition 5,000 years in the making. The art of marking skin with ink spans cultures, continents, and has evolved over time. We find ourselves with a mysterious fascination with both ancient and modern tattoo practices. Are they considered a part of sacred ritual or an act of rebellion? A sign of belonging or expression of individuality? In the special exhibit Tattoo, you’ll explore the history, technique, motivation, and sheer artistic genius that are connected to one another by ink.

19th November – 15th April 2018

The Natural History Museum, LA

Buy tickets here 

The exhibit will feature more than 125 images and objects, ranging from historical artefacts to intricate contemporary designs tattooed onto silicone models of the human body. Each tells the story of this unique and diverse art. The Museum will enhance the West Coast incarnation of Tattoo with objects from the Museum’s expansive collection, as well as features specific to the rich tattoo cultures of Southern California, from Ventura to Los Angeles to Long Beach and Orange County.

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Interview With Igor Puente

We chat to 25-year-old travelling tattoo artist Igor Puente, about his style, how he got started and his future guest spot plans…

When did you start tattooing? How did you begin? I started tattooing  six years ago  in my home, as I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to have me as apprentice in Madrid. In the beginning it was quite difficult, but I worked hard and studied art the first three years, which turned out to be the perfect combination to become a professional tattooer.


What inspired you to become a tattooist? I wanted to be creative in my work, and I thought that tattooing was the best way to do that. Sometimes my clients come to me for one piece of my art and they give me lots of creative freedom, to me this is like the paintings or sculptures in the Renaissance period. People back then had art on their walls and now people have it on their skin.


How would you describe your style of work? Has it changed over time? Right now I’m into creating mutated animals with lot of eyes and heads, and if the customer lets me do it, then I like to use red .I really love animals, so for me it’s amazing that I get to create lots of animals. When I started out I loved horror stuff and black and grey, but this changed when I saw the work of tattooer Eckel. I couldn’t shake the beautiful drawings out of my mind and that was when I decided to work in a more neo-traditional style.

You tattoo a lot of animals, do you enjoy making these? What would you love to tattoo? I really love animals! My first career choice was to become a vet, but I decided to choose something much more creative. Animals are my favourite thing to tattoo. If the animal is also red and has lots of eyes than I am in heaven!


What influences your art? Are there any artists you love? I am influenced by everything, from nature to films, TV series and books. I love a lot of other artists and they influence my everyday life. Eckel, of course is for me the master, but I also admire Alex Dörfler, Antony Flemming, Adrian Machete and many many more.


Do you have any guestspots or conventions planned? Yes lots of them and I am every excited!
23 November – 22 December  10 Thousand Foxes Tattoo, New York
5-9 December Mystic Owl in Marietta, Georgia
16-20 January Tattoo Addicts, Bilbao Spain
24-25 February Brighton Tattoo Convention

Apprentice Love: Tammy Bestwick

We spotted the work of 22-year-old tattoo apprentice Tammy Bestwick on Instagram and instantly loved her traditional style tattoos. We chatted to Tammy to find out more about her life as an apprentice at Black Rose Tattoo, Barnstaple, Devon where she works…


How long have you been tattooing? I worked at a tattoo shop in Exeter doing my apprenticeship for two years. I got to do a few small tattoos here and there but it’s only really since working at Black Rose that I’ve been able to tattoo regularly. I started working at Black Rose back in June so it’s just going into six months of tattooing now!

What did you do before? Do you have a background in art? My first job was selling tickets at a zoo. Straight after that I started my tattoo apprenticeship for two years, I did a couple temp jobs where I made some of the most wonderful friends who still come and get tattooed by me now! I studied art at GCSE and A-level but I didn’t find it overly enjoyable, it was more about looking deep into the meaning behind why a square could’ve possibly been painted green and writing essays than actually being artistically creative. It was only since leaving college that I started to draw what I enjoyed.


How did you get your apprenticeship? As soon as I finished college, I took some of my drawings into a tattoo shop that was just over an hour away from where I lived. I didn’t really know anything about tattooing at this point but I’d been interested since I was 13. This shop was just opening and my mind was blown by the work of the tattooists there, I’d never seen anything like it before and so I just knew I had to try my luck. I wasn’t expecting much to come of it as it was the first shop I’d attempted to try work at and I was fully aware I had a lot to still educate myself on and so much more I could try do with my portfolio. A week later and they got back to me and they were willing to give me a trial run! Nothing could compare to that feeling when I found out I was being given a chance at something I’d wished to do for so long.

What drew you to the tattoo world? I started off being fascinated by all kinds of body modifications which then developed into tattoos. Anything a little different or controversial always drew me in. Being creative was the only thing that ever kept me interested so I knew I had to do something with it. I’m quite a quiet person and I love to have my own head space and be free with what’s on my mind, no rules or anyone to answer to. That’s what drawing was for me.

I used to draw a lot with my gramps. He painted beautiful acrylic landscapes and was a signwriter, so that’s definitely where I get my artistic flare from! The tattooists that inspired me to begin with are very different to the tattooists that inspire me now. My tastes and opinion of tattooing has developed a lot.


How would you describe your style, what do you like to tattoo? I’m never really sure how to answer this. Before I tattooed I only ever attempted realism. Currently I do different styles according to the customer’s needs and I’d love to get to the stage where I could do anything anyone asked of me and really challenge myself. Having said that, I’d be perfectly happy if I could only ever tattoo traditional again. That’s what I enjoy tattooing the most, super bold and colourful or just a lot of black! I’d love to get to do more movie related tattoos too.


What or who inspires you? Nature and books but Instagram is a god send for being able to closely follow my favourite tattooists and their daily work. Gem Carter (this is insanely cheesy because I now work with her) has inspired me from day one, before she was even tattooing herself I followed the work she was doing. Currently, I obsess over the work of Sammy Harding, Jack Peppiette and Bradley Tompkins to name a few. But I am completely fascinated about where traditional tattooing began – Ben Corday, Percy Waters, Amund Dietzel. There is just so much inspiration and so much more to be found that it’s overwhelming.

What is a typical day like for you? I very rarely will be tattooing 11-6 at this stage so I take my time with the customers I do have in and the rest is spent providing ultimate banter, replying to emails and drawing!


Can you tell us about your own tattoos? None of my tattoos have any meaning. I get something from a tattooist because I love their style of work, so I’m happy for them to do whatever they’d like to do or choose something they already have drawn! If I get tattooed by someone I want it to be a piece that is distintive to their style. I currently have work done by Danielle Rose, Sammy Harding, a re-work by James Pool (I’m dying to get something of his own too), Sento and mega babe Gem Carter.