Tagged: tattoos

Tattoo Journeys – Portraits from London Tattoo Convention

Portraits from London Tattoo Convention 2015 byHeather Shuker Photography

A snapshot of people who attended the infamous London Tattoo Convention 2016 including artists, the general public, organisers, performers and more. As they posed, they were interviewed by Alice Snape and Keely Reichardt.

tj05hamburg-sonja-punktum-tattoo-artist

Sonja Punktum, 38, tattoo artist, Hamburg
“I’m not an angry person, but people who aren’t tattooed see rebellion, so are sometimes scared. People often comment on my tattoos, even if I don’t ask for it. Tattoos make people react, but I think that is because they are intense, they are created through pain and last forever, there is nothing else like it.”

tj56arrienette-ashman

Arrienette Ashman, 26, tattoo artist, Bournemouth
“I was 19 when I got my first tattoo, I went big straight away, as I always knew wanted to be heavily tattooed. My mum picked me up after the appointment and was shocked, but she has learnt to love them over the years. I love the thought of having art on me always. It is not just physical – it is a spiritual process.”

tj127ashley-green

Ashley Green, 27, sports coach, Harrow
“I was drunk when I got my first tattoo at 16, it was a Chinese symbol. All my other tattoos are now family related, including a portrait of my mum.”

tj98george-crew

George Crew, 21, tattoo artist, Leicester
“I was 16 when I got my first tattoos, it was a rose on my stomach. I got it because everyone around me was getting tattooed. If I could go back, I would think about it more and get something of better quality. I am saving my back, though, as a backpiece is the most important tattoo you will ever get, as it is the biggest canvas.”

tj140monami-frost

Monami Frost, 21, model/blogger/social media, Liverpool
“I cannot imagine my life without tattoos. Getting tattooed, for me, is a never-ending process. They are part of who I am. I think they are beautiful and they make me feel more full.”

tj76ermine-hunte

Ermine Hunte, 37, buyer for an airline, Luton
“Tattoos and piercings are so empowering and can change who you are as a person. I have gained more confidence as they have covered scars from a kidney transplant. I am constantly evolving and gaining control over my body.”

Interview with GaldaLou

26-year-old GaldaLou is a retail manager and SuicideGirl  from Leicester, England. We chatted to Galda about how she began modelling, her tattoo collection and how she has learned to love her body…

galda4

When did you first become a SuicideGirl and what inspired you to do so?  I applied in August 2008, shot a few sets that weren’t bought, until early 2009 when I had my first set make Set Of The Day, and was made an actual SuicideGirl. At 15 I came across SuicideGirls. I was all of a sudden exposed to these women who were themselves. They seemed so confident and unafraid of being who they wanted to be, and at 15 I was desperately craving to find my place in the world. I made it my aim even at that young age that I would become one.

How have people reacted to our photos, or decision to become a suicide girl? My friends and family are overwhelmingly supportive. I’ve been with my boyfriend Russ since I was 17, and since the beginning he knew of my hopes to pursue things with SG.  He shot my initial application pictures for me, and even a couple of photo sets right at the beginning. My Mum actually follows me on Instagram and Twitter, she’s that supportive. Everyone at work also knows about my online life, which makes things so easy.

galda

What advice would you give to someone wanting to become one? Think long and hard about it. Whilst it’s been a huge part of my life for the last eight years, not everyone has such a supportive set of people around them. If you’re on a serious career path for example, being naked on the internet may well reflect badly on you.

Have you always liked your body? Have you always felt confident in yourself? Oh hell no. And I still have days where I hate myself! But you just have to keep in mind that it’s just a day, and tomorrow you’ll feel differently, and that every single person out there feels the same way about themselves. What I have always done is project confidence. It’s a fake it til you make it sort of thing I think.

galda3

You used to follow a shake diet plan,  what motivated you to change your body in this way? Do you think this was a drastic way to do it? It was originally my doctor who put me onto the idea of doing Lighter Life a few years ago as I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and often ladies with PCOS struggle with losing weight due to a chemical imbalance. I lost four and half stone in four months. It was hardcore, the last straw was when I started to lose my hair, because my body didn’t have the energy to grow it anymore. At the time, I lost my identity. I felt completely separate from myself. Sure, the compliments were nice from everyone, but they were complimenting the act of weight loss because it’s what society expects them to do. I’ve put a lot of that original weight back on in those three years since, but now I feel much more comfortable with myself as a whole.

When did you realise you had PCOS? Does it make you see your body differently? I had some unfortunately symptoms at first, like pain and copious amounts of bleeding after sex. I was 20 and I went and saw my doctor about it, and after some investigations was diagnosed with PCOS. It explained recent weight gain, and made me look harder at my body. At first I resented it for being another thing wrong with a body I already didn’t like, and hated the fact it most likely took away my choice to ever get pregnant naturally and easily, and it really took a while for me to get my head around it all. Now, at 26, I’ve realised I’m more than happy collecting cats instead of having a baby, so the only thing I resent is still having to have disgustingly painful periods each month.

galda1

You’ve had breast enlargement surgery, did this influence your decision to start modelling? I started modelling at 18, and didn’t have my breast enlargement until I was 23. I was always a little blinded by my boob hatred, and I found it really hard to look past them and see the good parts of the rest of me.

Have your tattoos helped you to feel more confident? Absolutely. I can’t wait for my legs to be well and truly covered so I no longer have to worry about my thread veins being on display. It’s nice to be able to choose what people see and don’t see about me, but most people’s snap decisions of me are usually based on my tattoos and hair, and I’m fully okay with that.

glada2

What would you say to people who aren’t supportive of the SuicideGirls group? Or who think you share too much on Instagram?  We are all different and that’s glorious and to be celebrated. SG gets a lot of stick sometimes, and some of it’s fair and people’s opinions and some of it’s unfounded gossip, but for me it has provided massive amounts of opportunity, and more importantly, gained me some friends for life.

Do you think tattoos have to have a meaning? No. Whilst some of mine do, actually the vast majority of mine are simply there because I appreciate that tattooer’s artwork. I am practically a walking timeline of Jody Dawber’s work, having one from the beginning of her career, and still being tattooed by her now. I adore her artwork, and her as a person. I’ve other pieces from artists that I adore, but don’t have any deeper meaning other than I love their style.

galdalou

All photographs shot by Shannon Swift

Shaded: Dean Robinson

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 22-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people that wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Dean Robinson is a 25 year-old Brighton-based musician and visual artist who creates violent and visceral sonic landscapes under the pseudonym Knifedoutofexistence, as well as contributing fuzzed clouds of texture and depth when it comes to his collective noise project Swallowing. In conversation with ‘Shaded’, the purveyor of seaside distortion demystifies the influences behind his work, the story behind his Bonnie Tyler tattoo and speaks about the relationship between the worlds of extreme music and body modification.

12901239_10156602907545251_891279103907288866_o-2

Can you talk about what it is you do as a musician? Firstly, I would say that calling myself a musician is a stretch, and probably does real musicians and myself a disservice. I currently work with two main projects: Knifedoutofexistence, which is a solo project in which I make noise and sounds with a range of objects, gear and vocals. I am also a member of the band Swallowing, where I add noise in the form of guitar feedback to the grinding dirge created by my band mates.

When did you start exploring musical performance? I have been playing in bands since I was roughly 16 years old, but I performed as Knifedoutofexistence for the first time in February 2013.

558769_607160129317552_1874546527_n

Skulls by Slim at Bournemouth’s Electric Skull

What initially influenced you musically? Knifedoutofexistence was inspired by a range of conspiring factors. I wanted to take the challenging and questioning ideals of punk and apply that to the actual sound itself. Why should it be that the only structure that punk doesn’t challenge is musical rules themselves? The band Column Of Heaven were a massive influence on both the sonic element of the project and the gravity I gave to the subject matter I work with.

Knifedoutofexistence is actually a reference to a sample at the end of the first Column Of Heaven release, ‘Ecstatically Embracing All That We Habitually Suppress’. Swans also opened my mind to the power of loops and repetitiveness – to the ability to create the same kind of aggression that’s stereotypical of extreme genres of music as Hardcore Punk, but in this polar opposite way. Instead of a quick blast of emotion, Swans create something that slowly drags you into it. ‘Filth’ taught me how to be covert with aggression.

Can you speak to what is currently inspiring you as a musician? The desire to make something constructive and creative out of the negative aspects of my personality and life is a constant inspiration. My motive for making noise has always been catharsis.

10724841_807105599340249_1843187530_n

Boar by Scott Move

Can you tell me about your tattoos? I think, like most people who’ve been tattooed a decent amount, I’ve stopped counting them. Most of my tattoos are music related, as that’s always been the biggest part of my life. I have tattoos in tribute to a long list of bands and artists: Man Is The Bastard, The Doors, Iron Monkey, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Closure, Black Sabbath, Carrion Sunflower, Dystopia. I suppose Bonnie Tyler can be added to that list as well!

When I was out in Canada playing a few shows recently, I was in this bar that had a juke box. There was a group of us who thought we’d annoy everyone in the place by pouring all of our money into this machine and repeatedly requesting ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. It kind of backfired though, as the more we listened to it, the more we started to dig into the song and the lyrics and it ended up hitting us hard. We all got ‘love in the dark’ tattooed on us in honour of the experience. All of my tattoos have been done by a range of talented tattoo artists. My friends Sam Layzell and Rosie Evans who work out of their own private studio MVL in Leeds have done a decent amount of my work between them. Slim at Bournemouth’s Electric Skull did my knees. Scott Move, who is one of my favourite artists, produced this rad boar on my arm.

What attracted you to tattoos in the first place? They’re just something I’ve always been drawn to. I guess they go hand in hand with the subcultures and aesthetics I’ve always found appealing. The permanency of them is definitely a massive attraction for me. It’s something that, once finished, is forever a part of your person. My first tattoo was the logo of this band Reuben. I waited outside of the tattoo shop on my 18th birthday and got it done at 9 in the morning!

12912725_1113227838740848_2077958783_n

Do you have any plans for future work? There’s a lot of work I’ve got planned. I’d like to get “No Doves Fly Here” across my chest in reference to The Mob’s Post-Punk classic, as well as a portrait of the legendary futurist painter, composer and writer Lugi Russolo on my ribs. There’s a lot of incredible artists I’d like to get tattooed by.

Do you find that there’s a relationship between tattoo culture and the world that you gravitate towards creatively? Absolutely! Both tattoo culture and the world of extreme music have an outsider mentality to them and are not often given credit as “valid” or “real” art forms, although an approval that many involved do not seek to gain or actively work against. Noise is for the punks. Tattoos are for the punks.

Lea Katz Illustration

19-year-old Lea Katz is a resident artist based in Melbourne, Australia, soon to be living in Bavaria, Germany. We chatted to Lea about the beautiful women she draws and how tattoos make her feel about her body…

IMG_20160811_180939

Inspired by Things&Ink Lea created this illustration just for us…

tatt mag

What medium do you use? How do you create each piece? I work digitally and traditionally. For my digital paintings, I use a graphic tablet and Photoshop. When I work traditionally, I usually rely on pencils, ink and sometimes watercolour. I also love mixing my drawings with other elements to create a collage-like look. I have some gold paper for example, that I combine with my drawings, sometimes I use photos from magazines for that and on other days, I just take whatever I can find and glue it to my sketches.
When I get to work, my usual process is to start out with a very messy sketch that I refine until I’m happy with it. Once that’s done, I begin to work on details to achieve a semi-realist look on certain parts of the artwork (like the face, when I draw a portrait), when I’m finished with that, I start bringing in flat shapes and lines and in the end, I combine it with different scans (in digital paintings), older drawings and photos.

witch ebenen

What kinds of things do you draw? I love drawing portraits, but I also enjoy drawing flowers, nature and birds. Every now and then I also do some typography, but I really need

What is it about women that makes you want to draw them? I guess it’s something that I do since I’m a kid, so it’s almost like a habit now. I love women, I love being a woman (most of the time, at least) and women get so much shit so often, that I just want to celebrate women and femininity in my paintings. I draw them as queens, strong, proud and independent, cover them in gold and all things fabulous.

What inspires you? Huge inspirations for me are art history and music. I’ve always been a little art nerd and a huge fan of art nouveau and surrealism, which are two big influences on my work. Music is a big part of my life, I always listen to music, I love singing (even if I’m a horrible singer. Doesn’t stop me though) and there are always songs that just make me want to catch the vibe of it and put it in a painting.

queen

How would you describe your style? I’d say my style is a mixture of semi-realism, art nouveau, graphic design and sometimes surrealism. It’s basically a huge collage of styles that I love and try to combine into one piece of work.

Do you admire any other artists, do they influence your work? Definitely! Frida Kahlo, Alfons Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Cindy Sherman, Man Ray and Hannah Höch are people that never stop inspiring me. I love Frida’s self-portraits, Mucha’s girls and Klimt’s golden paintings. Cindy Sherman’s photography is simply fascinating to see, as well as Man Ray’s and Hannah Höch’s dadaist collages.

Can you tell us about your tattoos? I just got my first tattoo in March this year when I visited Amsterdam so I don’t have too many yet. My first tattoo was a beautiful little heart by Angelique Houtkamp, as a souvenir that reminds me of one of my favourite cities. Next, I got a flower on my wrist and after that Frida Kahlo from her “Wounded Deer” painting, which is a piece of art that has a lot of personal meaning to me. And since this Frida was tattooed in a more traditional style, I decided to get another one. This time, full on classic Frida as we know her. It was also my first tattoo in Australia, done by the amazing Marian Machismo.

whale

How do tattoos make you feel? Have they made you feel differently about your body? Tattoos make me feel great, they make me feel like a badass and I’m happy that they give me the ability to carry things that I love with me wherever I go. They definitely changed a lot about how I view myself and my body. I, like probably every person who had to go through puberty, have a lot of insecurities, I’m unhappy with that part of my body, this could be thinner, this patch of skin has too many freckles, blah blah blah. You probably know what I mean. Covering myself in art that I love changed the way I look at myself. I don’t look at my arm and worry about it being too fat or too whatever anymore, I look at it and see my beautiful tattoos and feel incredible. In fact, I’m happy for every inch of skin that I have because it’s potential tattoo-space.
Do you have any future tattoo plans? Definitely. My next appointment is in September, with Clare Hampshire from Hot Copper Studio here in Melbourne. And I have a lot of Australian artists on my list that I need to get a tattoo from before I move back to Germany in January.

Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your art? I do! I love doing commissions. I sell prints, shirts and a ton of products with my drawings on it via redbubble and I’m always open to sell my original, traditional drawings.

Apprentice Love: Jessica Ashby

Meet Jessica Ashby, she is a tattoo apprentice under Mike Stockings at Legacy Ink in Haverhill. This is her story of how she came to be a tattoo apprentice and the hard graft involved…

IMG_8691 

How long have you been tattooing? Looking back through my diary, I’ve been tattooing on a regular basis for about 7-8 weeks now. I started my apprenticeship in October of 2015 and my mentor let me tattoo myself after about four months so I could get a glimpse of the world I was stepping into. I tattooed myself again a couple of months later and then a handful of my wonderful friends volunteered to let me tattoo them, and then all of a sudden I’m tattooing every day alongside all the other artists at the shop. This is something I’ve wanted for so long and sometimes I still wake up and think ‘is this really my life now?!’

How did you start? What did you do before? I remember telling my tutor at college that I wanted to be a tattoo artist and she looked at me blankly with no advice to give. I then went to university for a year, worked in bars and restaurants, went travelling for a bit, all the while knowing I still just wanted to tattoo.

It got to the point where I couldn’t stand my job any longer and I plucked up the courage to email Mike Stockings (my mentor) and asked if he would be willing to see me to discuss the possibility of an apprenticeship at his studio. I had been avidly following his work for years and I had my heart set on learning from him. He agreed to see me, went through my work, picked it apart, gave me some advice and then told me to go away and draw some more. I don’t think he expected that I’d ever come back, but I continued to take more work to show him for about six months until he offered me the apprenticeship.

IMG_9162

Do you have a background in art? Drawing was always ‘my thing,’ when I was younger. I remember going round to other kids’ houses to play and being shocked that they didn’t put the lids back on their colouring pens, or that they only had scrap paper to draw on. Looking back, I’m so grateful to my mum for nurturing my interest in art. Even at a young age she would take me to exhibitions and buy me good quality drawing materials.

I studied art at college and even went on to university to start an illustration degree. I probably thought my art classes were boring at the time but I realise now that they really did teach me some valuable things about composition, light and shadow, complementary colours etc.

IMG_8687

What drew you to the tattoo world? I remember seeing some of Guy Aitchison’s luminous bi-mech work when I was about 16 and I was instantly blown away. It was like at that moment, my eyes were opened to a whole world of tattooing beyond the high street flash that I was familiar with. I then went on to discover Emily Rose Murray, Tiny Miss Becca, and (dare I say) Kat Von D who were all women starting to make waves in a male dominated industry at the time. I was so inspired and excited that you could make a living out of drawing wonderful pictures on people. I was desperate to get tattooed when I was a teenager and now I’m starting to build up a nice collection of my own I feel more comfortable in my skin than ever.

IMG_8952 (1)
Are there any artist that influence your work? I really like all the bold, bright work that is coming out of Germany at the moment. Lars Uwe Lus lips, is one of my absolute favourites. His use of colours, line weights and style in general is pretty mind-blowing. I love the illustrative quality of Kate Selkie’s work and I am always reminded that good drawing skills are the foundation of a good tattoo. And of course, watching Mike work is probably my biggest influence. His work has so much character and he’s always trying to push boundaries and put out fresh new ideas. It’s impossible not to be inspired.

IMG_9280

Describe your style, has it changed? I’d say my style changes a little bit with every tattoo I do. I think my work is leaning towards neo-traditional, working with bright colours and bold line. The guys where I work taught me early on to follow the fundamentals of traditional tattooing, emphasising the importance of clean lines and getting a good amount of black into any tattoo to create contrast and a tattoo that will age well.

What inspires you? Everything really. I guess that’s a pretty terrible answer but it’s true. I’ll often find myself sneaking into people’s front gardens to take photos of their flowers to use as reference, or stuffing a leaflet in my bag because I like the colour palette that’s been used. I feel like my eyes now scan everything to see if it’s a possible reference or inspiration in some way.

I love Japanese art and culture, art nouveau, pop art, film photography, and really enjoy going to museums and galleries. Even if the work doesn’t influence mine directly, I always feel so creatively energised after seeing another artist’s vision come to life.

IMG_8975

What would you love to tattoo? I consider myself incredibly lucky that Mike gives me the freedom to tattoo what I want already. He has always really emphasised that if you do work you enjoy then that will be evident, and people will come to you.

Eventually I’d like to be tattooing larger scale animal designs and faces (tattoos of faces, not tattooing on faces!) I love the idea of working on a project and can’t wait to be piecing together ideas for a sleeve or back piece. For now though, I am happy doing my little designs, trying to make each one cleaner and better than the last. I think there’s a fine line between continually pushing yourself to improve, and trying to run before you can walk. The guys at work will often tell me that I’m not ready to tattoo a certain part of the body yet, or that a design is too complex and then I just have to take a step back and remember that it’s still really early days for me.

IMG_9133 (1)

What is a typical day like for you? I usually get to the studio at around 9 am, mop the floor, clean the grips, set up Mike’s station and try to make sure everything stays tidy during the day. I’m trying to do one tattoo a day at the moment and truthfully I couldn’t tell you anything that happens in the shop during that time!

Megan Massacre Colouring Book

We chat to the infamous Megan Massacre, 30, tattoo artist and co-founder @GritNGlory, about her new colouring book, reality TV and her tattoo style

Megan, we love your work! How would you describe your style?
Thanks! My tattooing style is mostly known for my very bright, colourful palettes and I usually mix a few tattooing styles together such as realism, traditional, neo-traditional and new school.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 16.28.19

Tattoo by MeganWe loved you in America’s Worst Tattoos and NY Ink… Did you enjoy doing reality TV, what were the highlights?
Yes very much! The highlight for me was getting to share my work with such a large audience of people.

If you could tattoo anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Probably Gwen Stefani, I’ve loved her since I was a kid listening to No Doubt!

What made you decide to venture into colouring books?
I’ve always wanted to make a book of my tattoo drawings, tattoo flash is what we call it in the industry. When I realised it could double as a colouring book I thought it was such a cool, fun idea that even more people could enjoy.

Book Cover_Marked in Ink

What do you hope people will get from it?
I like to think of it as a book for both tattoo artists and fans, as well as colouring fanatics. I hope that tattoo artists and fans find the book useful for tattoo ideas and flash, as well as fun and therapeutic for colouring as well.

Cat portrait

It is aimed at adults and children?
Yes I think it’s great for both!

Do you think colouring books are important for wellbeing?
I think colouring is a great way to relieve stress and relax your mind while also working in a creative outlet and creating something awesome you can feel proud of.

Is it important for you to be involved in lots of different creative projects?
For me personally yes. I always have a few different projects going on, I like to stay overly busy. I also like to be involved in as many different creative industries as possible, it allows me to keep learning through art.

What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to make more colouring and art books for fans to enjoy, and to continually keep breaking into new, creative industries.

When will you next be in the UK?
I don’t have any plans at the moment but I try to go once a year, I’ll definitely be posting on my social media when I’ll be heading there next!

Flaming heart

You can order a copy of Marked in Ink, the colouring book by Megan Massacre from Book Depository

Interview with Melodie Perrault

26-year-old Melodie Perrault tattoos out of Tattoo Lounge MTL in Montreal, Canada and creates detailed line work tattoos inspired by the funny things that happen in her life. We chat to Melodie about her style and what drew her to the tattoo world…

IMG_1011

 Photo taken by Monsiieur

How did you start? What did you do before? I have been tattooing for four or five years professionally. I’ve always been in love with tattoos, I used to draw all over my body. I just bought a shitty machine on the internet and tried to learn by myself when I was 18. I was in art school back then, studying art and graphic design, and I worked in a sex shop, before that a Boardshop.

melodie

What drew you to the tattoo world? I just love it. I love the fact that people get an illustration they love so much they want to see it forever. It’s wild but it’s such a big commitment.

Melodie1

How would you describe your style, has it changed in any way? I only use black ink, so dot work and line work with lots of details. I always drew the same way, kind of –the only thing that has changed is that I used to do a little bit of colour and I don’t anymore. I love tattooing the things I do, I only do tattoos that I want to do in my own style.

IMG_2296 (1)

What inspires your drawings and tattoos? I love to draw and tattoo animal, devils and naked ladies. With my illustrations I try to be a little bit funny, so I’ll think of funny things in life and draw that. My own body is covered in the things I love.

IMG_2448

Shaded: Rich Wells

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 22-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people that wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Rich Wells is a 29-year-old tattoo artist, clothing designer and co-owner of Dock Street Tattoos, who is currently living and working in Leeds. As part of Things & Ink’s ongoing interview series ‘Shaded’, the documentary enthusiast sheds light on his love of C-list celebrities, his relationship with simplicity and how he sees his Louis Theroux inspired clothing range, Jiggle Apparel, evolving.

13495229_165230013892320_3639897774974251554_n (1)

What is Jiggle ApparelJiggle Apparel is a Louis Theroux influenced clothing range that’s mainly centred around his infamous rap episode. I design the t-shirts and my friend John, who runs the operation with me, screen prints them and looks after all the online stuff. It’s a Louis Theroux obsession that’s gone a bit too far.

Can you speak about your relationship with Louis Theroux? I’m an old-school Louis Theroux fan. His ‘Weird Weekends’ series is definitely my favourite thing that he’s done. I’ve watched them hundreds of times and they never get old! It’s the only reason I have Netflix.

What influenced you to design and print the first t-shirt that eventually led Jiggle Jiggle Apparel to come together? The first Jiggle Apparel design was originally drawn up as a tattoo design for a flash sheet. I hadn’t thought about putting it on a t-shirt until I uploaded the design to my Instagram account. It got way more attention than I thought it would, so for a bit if fun I decided to print it. People were really into it and Jiggle Apparel was born!

13267501_1274788042549934_1832671765_n (1)
What do you do when you’re not thinking about Louis Theroux? A good 80% percent of my day is spent thinking about Louis. You know, working out how I could meet him, or maybe just brush past him at a UFO convention or a swingers party. The other 20% I spend tattooing at Dock Street Tattoos Leeds. I co-own the place.

What inspires you artistically? I’m really into documentaries and I draw a lot of inspiration from the strange side of human nature: cults, conspiracies – all that type of stuff. I also like to design things around words, like, quotes or songs. I find it’s a really good foundation for a solid idea.

What do you admire in other people’s work? Simplicity is one of the things I admire in other people’s work. I can appreciate tattoos with incredible detail, but I personally get more out of simplistic, bold, powerful designs. The ability to create something effective using only simple techniques really appeals to me.

13628078_2053607574863674_1855676876_n (1)

Can you tell me about your own tattoos? I have a photo-realistic black and grey portrait of Ross Kemp on the back of my calf. I got it done as a bit of a joke really. Rather than getting an A-list celebrity tattooed on body, I thought I’d go a little more C list with Kemp, as I was watching a lot of ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’ at the time. I ended up going to one of his book signings that he held at ASDA a few months after having it done. I told him I had a little something to show him, pulled down my jeans and presented him with the portrait. He was totally freaked out by it. I think he thought I was going to stick a potato sack over his head and stick him in the boot of my Corsa. I haven’t seen him since.

What attracted you to tattoos in the first place? No one in my family really has any. The influence came from seeing the bands I was into at the time with them. I thought they were really cool! My first tattoo was done in a street shop that was next to my old school. I got the tiny sunflower that’s on that girl’s t-shirt on the cover of Green Day’s album Kerplunk. It’s really small, but I thought it was the best thing ever at the time.

Most tattoo artists have no space left on their body for additional work, but do you have any plans for more tattoos in the future? Yeah, I still have some space to get some more work. I’m not totally covered yet. I’d like to get some more single-hit traditional pieces. I guess a Louis Theroux tattoo is on the cards as well.

396884297 (1)
Since you have now found yourself bridging clothing and tattoo art with Jiggle Apparel, can you speak about the relationship between the world of fashion and the world of body modification? I really like the crossover! The high end world of fashion collaborates with tattoo artists all the time. I think company’s like RSI Apparel who commission tattoo artists and illustrators to work on designs for them offer artists a whole new platform for their work to be seen which is really great. However, I could definitely live without Ed Hardy’s diamond studded jeans…

How do you see Jiggle Jiggle Apparel evolving? We’re looking at getting some more merchandise; hats, hoodies, patches. Maybe our own brand of red, red wine would be nice! The ultimate goal though would be for Louis to actually see what we do, stick one of our t-shirts on and possibly take us out to dinner. If he could be there when we open our first store that would also be pretty great.

Interview with Olivia Olivier

24-year-old Olivia Olivier works out of Everlasting Tattoo in San Francisco, California and creates wonderfully traditional tattoos. We chatted to Olivia about her inspirational mother and what drew her to the tattoo world…

olivia

How long have you been tattooing? Four and a half years now.

How did you start? What did you do before? My mom’s boyfriend owns a shop that I started working at doing miscellaneous jobs and counter work at 15, then started full time at 17. And at 18 started my apprenticeship. I haven’t had any other job!

image4
Do you have a background in art? I have always had drawing going on around me, my mom is a phenomenal artist. She encouraged me to draw ever since I can remember. I have learned a lot from her, especially about figure drawing. She teaches at San Francisco’s City College and I have taken her class along with others multiple times.

What drew you to the tattoo world? Definitely the idea of being able to make art for a living, somewhat on your own terms. I love being able to make people happy by tattooing them. Also the ability to travel, and essentially work anywhere in the world.

image3
Describe your style, has it changed? I would say I pretty much stick to traditional tattooing, bold lines are very important. Although I do use fine lines as well, and a wider range of colour, it’s too much fun to stay away from. I don’t think I’ve been tattooing long enough to have changed styles, I’m still learning what works for me and developing one.

What do you like to tattoo and draw? I love to tattoo women, whether it be full body pin up or just a bust. Happy, sad, sassy or lusty! Also flowers, plants, animals, insects, creatures in general. Fancy things like jewellery, religious imagery. Anything organic or decorative.

image2
What inspires you? Like I mentioned before, figure drawing has been a big inspiration. I like going to the library and look at art books, from Greece’s marble sculptures to renaissance paintings, baroque jewellery and decoration, up to modern pop art. I also take a lot of inspiration from my surroundings, growing up in San Francisco being around really creative and unique people.

What would you love to tattoo? And what would you refuse to do? I would love to tattoo lady faces on a larger scale, and more black and grey. Things I usually decline are tattoos with no outline, watercolour style tattoos, and tattoos on the finger because I think they generally age poorly. And definitely no hate symbols.

image6
Do you have any guest spot or conventions planned? Currently, I only have one guest spot set, at Icon Tattoo in Portland, OR. August 11th-13th. I hope to be travelling more often, and will post dates on Instagram. I have worked the Star of Texas convention in Austin the past three years, and Salt Lake City the past two and will hopefully be back to both this coming year.

Can you tell us about your own tattoos? My legs are where I stared, one shot, just for fun stuff. Arms are a bit more planned, I stick to black and grey and still have real estate open that I am saving for certain things. I also kept the black and grey theme on my chest and stomach.

image1 (1)

Learning to Love my Body and my Stoma Bag

27-year-old Caz Caines, from Newbury, Berkshire is a make-up lover and compliance administrator. We chatted to Caz who is sharing her story about her stoma bag as a way of celebrating her body, spreading self love and helping others… 

caz

 

How did you feel when you first had the bag fitted? Can you tell us about why and how you came to have it? I have had my stoma [a pouch placed over the stomach to collect waste products that usually pass through the colon] for six years now. I was really poorly and admitted to hospital with a very swollen stomach, turns out my large intestine was so stretched and my organs were shutting down. When the surgeons opened me up my large intestine split. They had to operate and create a stoma, which I named Krang. I was so scared and upset but relieved. I woke up from surgery with the bag, totally unexpected and a big shock. After I got over the initial shock, I felt relieved because I knew that I’d feel better in myself, this could give me a new lease of life.

IMG_0705Did you always feel so confident? Nope, definitely not! I found that when I had surgery my body changed so much – I lost four stone while in hospital as I wasn’t allowed to eat for 10 days. I really started looking at it differently as I now had this ridiculously big scar with added poo bag on my stomach, not something you see everyday. So I felt a bit self conscious at first, that didn’t last long though. I started blogging soon after, speaking to other young people with stomas and really trying to encourage others to see themselves as the attractive, positive person they are or soon could be.

What advice would you give to others who struggle to feel good about themselves? You just gotta think this is the only life you’re gonna have so appreciate yourself and focus on the things you like. I love make-up and creating different looks with that, it really does make me feel better about myself. Get your nails done, put on your favourite music. Surround yourself with wonderful, hilarious people. My friends helped me out so much when I was poorly, they’re absolutely brilliant people. You always need that friend who will tell you to stop wallowing, I like people who are forward, you need people like that in your life.

IMG_0324

How do you try to celebrate your body? Is Instagram a way for you to do this? I just try and appreciate it the best I can, I’m not one to deny myself a pizza every week. Instagram can be a way, my recent bag picture did get a lot of positive comments and attention which is great, social media is crazy! I have spoken to more people who had bags, there is a big network of Ostomates on Instagram, more people are showing their bags off. I definitely have my down days and hangs up like everyone, I try not to let it get to me, I just need to remind myself that my bag saved my life so I should be bigging it up.

Why do you think sharing your story and spreading body positivity is important? Because there are so many people out there who probably feel a little lost after surgery, you really don’t feel 100% so I just want to show people, it’s cool, you’ll get back to feeling good again! You just gotta embrace what you have, even those without bags! You have one body, don’t listen to the magazines, you don’t have to be a certain way. I don’t want people who have bags to feel like they’re ugly, nor the people who don’t have them to think we are. I get messages from so many young people saying I’ve helped them feel more confident, it’s just so great, it’s nice knowing you’ve helped someone just by saying what you truly feel.

1526756_10151908431898590_192256769_n

How have tattoos helped? I had tattoos before surgery, I’ve always loved them. I do have a piece which I got last year by Jody Dawber – it is a lady with two sets of eyes, as if to say ‘don’t see yourself through other people’s eyes’. I wanted to get something that tied in with my message of body confidence and my bag as well as looking fabulous.
When I get a new tattoo it’s exciting, I get such a rush from seeing it go from paper to skin – I can’t stop looking at it once it’s been done and definitely can’t wait to show everyone this fantastic piece of art.

11234979_10152950655728590_6948298739201371468_n
What tattoo plans do you have? The plan has always been heavy coverage, I love the look. I was a stupid 18 year old and started on a sleeve which I now can’t stand and I’m working on blacking out. I want to get more work by Jody, she is definitely one of my favourite artists as her style is so cute and distinctive, it also helps that she’s so easy to talk to and would put anyone at ease. I would also love another Danielle Rose piece, her work is so stunning, it takes your breath away. I follow a few artists on IG, it is one of the easiest places to find new tattooers, so I have my eye on a few people currently – Craven Tattooer, Max Rathbone and Aimee Lou are a few I’m loving at the moment.