Tagged: tattoos

Songbird Tattoo Studio

Songbird Tattoo Studio has recently moved to Exeter’s High Street, becoming the most central shop in the Southern City.

This beautiful emporium is a custom shop, which is open to the public but maintains the ambiance of a private studio. A highly unique space with much to spark the imagination, the studio has an air of relaxation and friendliness about it.

Studio owner and tattooist Nic Smith works mainly in Mehndi, geometric pattern decorative styles, and also enjoys colour work. She’s inspired by patterns, fabrics and varied religious iconography. All of these things not only inform her work but have impacted on the shop’s interior.

Syluss focuses his attention on custom illustrative work and also excels at portraits and black & grey.

Ryan Ousley works primarily in a bold new school style, favouring bright colours.

Email songbirdtatoo@live.co.uk for booking and enquiries and follow Songbird Tattoo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for studio updates and more tattoos.

 

 

 

Beauty is not only ink deep – a tattooed photographic portrait series

Have you seen the latest project focusing on tattoos? Photographer Niall Patterson has created a personal project to show the beauty in tattoos and those who wear them. He wants to move away from the stereotypes and negative social prejudices attached to tattoos and instead show the world how truly beautiful they can be. The project is called Beauty Is Not Only Ink Deep.

Each photograph in the collection displays a quote from the person in the picture, describing how they feel about their tattoos and what they mean to them.

Images from Beauty is not only ink deep.

My tattooed body

In issue 9, stripped back, we asked the Things&Ink team how they feel about their naked bodies, now that they’re tattooed…

We got in touch with blogger Rachel Bradford, creator of Illustrated Teacup, to discuss how she feels about her body now that it is beginning to be covered by tattoos…

“You don’t have to go far on the internet or on social media to find a debate of body positivity or body confidence. A particular area of contention is tattooed people, especially women, and even more so, anyone who has an extensive collection of tattoos.”

“Apparently it isn’t attractive to have lots of beautiful images on your body. It takes away from your ‘natural beauty’. It isn’t ‘ladylike’. It’s not ‘pretty’.”

Green lady  by Dani Green at Dragstrip Tattoo, Southampton

“Obviously this isn’t everyone’s feelings, or no one would have tattoos, but I’m here to explain why I think tattoos are a good thing for body positivity.”

 

“Take a look at Things&Ink Issue 9 for some examples:”

 ”I see my colourful tattoos before I see the shape of my body, and then I notice the gaps. I get lost in the ideas of what would fit where and the work I could collect from other tattooists. With tattoos you are never truly naked, they are one thing you can never take off, and I love that!”

Editorial Assistant Rosalie Woodward (Page 5)

“I like to think of my tattoos as ‘permanent accessories’ and they make me feel very glamorous when I’m in the nude”

Beauty Editor Marina De Salis (Page 5)

“I feel like I’ve created my own body, rather than just being stuck with the one I was given”

Columnist Reeree Rockette (Page 5)

 

“Three talented, smart ladies, with tattoos, who feel better about themselves and their naked bodies because of their tattoos. And quite frankly, what is wrong with modifying your body if it makes you happier? That is what we all want isn’t it? To be happy with our bodies?”

Cat and compass by Saranna Blair at Urban Image Tattoo, Bournemouth

“Personally, my tattoos have boosted my confidence no end. My confidence and happiness with my own body, comfort on my own body, grows with every tattoo. It’s an experience in itself. My tattoos distract from the things I dislike about my body. And fill me with happiness every time I see them. They catalogue my life so far, and remind me of my journey. I feel like I wear my life on my body, miniature pieces of artwork carried around with me all the time.”

“To me, I am enhancing what I was given, and making my body my own, rather than it just being borrowed for a little while.  I think that is the most important part of body confidence. Being comfortable in your body, making it your own.”

 Belle by Dani Green at Dragstrip Tattoo, Southampton

 

 

Can you be friends with your tattooist? A reader’s response…

When we asked the question, Can You Be Friends With Your Tattooist?, reader Sarah K got in touch to say, yes you can. Sarah is 31, a heavily tattooed human rights lawyer and law professor, living between Brussels and Brooklyn… 

Tattoo by Drew Linden“This tattoo is the first one on my right leg, the only limb left to be inked. I got it done this June by Drew Linden who had started at East Side Ink in NYC. Initially, it was supposed to be much smaller and a filler on my left leg. Leave it to Drew  to expand and make it more amazing.

“It is now the fourth tattoo I’ve gotten from her, it started from a wonderful lady gypsy / sugar skull combo in 2011. We hit it off right away, we’re about the same age, she’s stunning, a life force, yet so sweet and kind. She has a strong identity, a refined and unique personality, traits I look for in a person. We had friends in common and we spent the duration of the tattoo talking about them. I knew I’d come see her again.

Photo from June 2012, when Drew first tattooed Sarah.

 

“The friendship developed quickly, we kept in touch via text and social media. She was always extremely supportive of me – 2011 / 2012 were years during which I got a lot of work done while processing a lot of personal stuff. My work had been put on hold after an accident, and I was struggling to gain control of my body as well as of my life. The tattoo process, led by two key artists, helped immensely – and Drew was the second female artist that redefined how I saw my own body.

Gypsy by Drew Linden Gypsy by Drew Linden

 

“In 2012, I wanted to get my chest tattooed. On the day of the appointment, Drew had actually redesigned it entirely so it would not be vertical and along my sternum, but across my chest. She added flowers and dot work, to make it “less aggressive.”

“But Drew, I *am* aggressive.”

“Not just.”

“But-”

“Sarah, you’re a woman, too. And you can be lovely. And this is a very feminine part of your body. And it’s a huge deal, working from limbs to chest. You’ll be *heavily* tattooed, all in black and grey. I know you’re not girly. But you deserve something that shows you can be a lady, and there are parts of you that are not lawyer-soldier.”

Sarah's chest piece Sarah’s chest piece

“Five and a half hours later, and a bonus cup on my bra due to the swelling, my chest piece was done. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My globe tattoo signals the fact that as of May 2014, I will have been a lawyer for 10 years. In June 2014, I told Drew I wanted a globe, with the phrase “jus cogens” – a Latin phrasing that refers to the peremptory norm, which is to say, the most fundamental, unalienable of human rights. As a human rights lawyer, working internationally and in war zones, this sounded perfect. She started on my right leg, the way she started my left one three years before. Her best friend sat next to me and held my hand during the session – that she belted in under an hour. The hands and flower are of her own making.

“I thought we’d have the hands over the globe, you know, protecting it.”

“Ah, but design wise it doesn’t work, and this is the old school symbol of friendship, love and fraternity. With the globe, it’s the fraternity of all peoples.”

“Equality and protection.”

“Yes. That. Like you.”

“The arrow is pointing straight forward on my leg that was once injured.

“Drew is not just my friend and my tattoo artist. In many ways, she is also a therapist, a healer, a psychic, a drinking enabler, someone I once flew all the way to San Diego to see, literally on the other side of the globe. She made my world manageable again.

“She and Jessica Mascitti, one of the first artists to work on me, made me a woman. I transitioned from prodigal lawyer girl to full fledged woman of the law because of them; they inspired me and blew confidence beneath my skin. I became stronger, and more focused as a result. And I stand proud.”

Our pick of bird tattoos

We’re desperately hoping that spring is soon on its way and with sunshine comes birds…

Heres our pick of some bird tattoos we’ve seen flying around Instagram, see what we did there? Anyway here they are and don’t forget to share yours with us!

@pacocasero

@pengitattoo

@hannahpixiesnow

@cubatattoo

@criscleen

 

@marcustattoos

@pari_corbitt

@valeriemodernclassic

@kate_selkie

 @nomi_chi

@tattoo_drew

Tattoo Inspired Furniture Upcycling

Here at Things&Ink we love all things tattoos! On discovering Taylor Made, a small business located in Fife, Scotland, which specialise in upcycled furniture inspired by all things tattoo, we had to talk to owner and creator Grace Taylor. 

How did you first start upcycling furniture? When my partner and I moved into our first proper home together we had to start from scratch. A lot of our second-hand furniture wasn’t completely to our taste, or was looking a bit sad and unloved, so I decided to try and transform it and give it a bit more life to suit our new living space. I started doing more pieces when I had to take some time off work for health reasons, and found that it was a great way to pass the time!


Have you got your own business? I never intended on this being a business and so far it has just been a hobby. However, I have had such a wonderful response from my facebook page that I am now currently in the process of turning this hobby that I love into something more. I have had lots of exciting opportunities arise from this so far and one day I hope to have my own quirky wee shop.

How did you learn how to do it? I am completely self taught, I started from scratch and hadn’t a clue about paints, techniques, decoupage, or different products you can use. I have spent countless hours and a small fortune trying to discover what is out there and what I like to use best. It’s been a fantastic learning experience, but also rather frustrating at times. I guess you have to start somewhere, so I started from the bottom. I am still learning – with every new piece I learn something more so it never gets boring.

Where do you find the materials? All over the place! I get my furniture from a range of different places. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s vintage or a modern reproduction. If I like it, I take it. I buy all my materials from all over the place, I pick up things on eBay, online shops, high street shops, charity shops and car boots.

What inspires you? I like quirky things and I have a passion for tattoos, so a lot of my pieces are inspired by old school tattoo flash, in particular Sailor Jerry. I use a lot of fabrics with skulls and I like to try and do something a bit different as opposed to the ‘shabby chic’ style of upcycling. I also love stags, so I uses a lot of stag designs such as fabrics, paper and stencils. I can’t stand boring, straight out of the catalogue home decor, so I strive to make things unique.


Do you have any tattoos? I have quite a collection! Though not nearly enough.
I have a half sleeve on my right arm, which is a beautiful portrait of my mum surrounded with flowers, in the style of our favourite artist, Alphonse Mucha. This was done by the awesome Marcus Maguire of Custom Inc/BathStreetCollective, who has also done a large, beautifully coloured peacock stretching from my hip to my knee. This is a tribute to my Dad, along with my of my other tattoos. I have a portrait of him on my other arm, my feet are covered in script with an old saying of his, ‘Far Out!’ done by Stephanie Scott of Old Town Tattoo, and I have two wee chicks on my ankle as he called my sister and I his chickens, by Jamie Adair of Crossroads Tattoo.

I have an awesome large mandala and stags head on my thigh by Ema Sweeney of Custom Inc/BathStreetCollective, and a cute wee bird with hydrangeas on my calves by the wonderful Amanda Grace Leadman, amongst others. I may also have an L and R on my thumbs, as I’m not the quickest with direction…

Do you have any tips for people who want to upcycle? Just go for it and have fun! Make sure you are prepared with everything you need before you start, and don’t wear your best clothes like I always do, or you won’t have anything decent left by the end of it. Painting a piece of furniture and transforming it can be such a therapeutic and rewarding thing to achieve, so don’t let yourself get stressed out. Sometimes if you make a mistake, it just adds to the overall character of the piece you are working on. Enjoy every moment of it!

Follow Grace on Instagram to see more of her tattoo inspired creations!

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Freelance illustrator and project manager Ruth Bridges, 30 from West Yorkshire is the creator of fashion illustration blog x+y=. She has exclusively drawn three unique illustrations for Things&Ink influenced by tattoos and fashion. 

Ruth was an artistic child!

 

What inspires your illustrations? I love slightly off-beat street fashion. Style has always been much more influential to me than trend. I find drawing people with striking faces really satisfying, especially edgy women. I’m not into overtly pretty things, much preferring a grungy feel – minimalism with a twist.  I do also have a soft-spot for slightly bonkers high end fashion – I’m a fan of Pam Hogg, Louise Gray and KTZ.

What medium do you use? Nearly always pencil, with paint, colour and photography occasionally collaged in digitally.

Do you have a background in art? Yes – I studied Fashion at BTEC level, then went on to complete an Art Foundation and, after taking a gap year to travel, a Degree in Fine Art for Design. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the visual arts but until now the time hasn’t been right. I’ve been freelance for about 3 months now, and so far it’s going well.

Where can people see and buy your work? I have a website - www.xplusyequals.co.uk and I also occasionally contribute to Amelia’s Magazine and Guys and Girls Directory. Since going freelance, I’ve mainly been working on commissions so I don’t have prints on sale at the minute but I’m looking for opportunities to exhibit. I’m currently working on a collection of drawings that complement each other that I can sell as limited edition prints.

Have you been published? I’ve been featured in digital magazines for a while now but have just been included in a published collection of illustrations and articles, published by Amelia’s Magazine called ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’ – it’s out any day now.

 

Tattooing Under Martial Law

Our Australian contributing editor, Fareed Kaviani, is currently in Bangkok getting a back piece from Guy Le Tatooer. While over there he caught up with Six Fathoms Deep owner Nicholas Mudskipper to find out what it’s like tattooing under military rule.

On 22 May 2014, the military announced that it had taken control of the country in a coup implemented ostensibly to restore order and enact ‘necessary’ political reforms. Martial law continues to be imposed nationwide. Although the political arena is a complex entanglement of loyalties, royalties, and corruption, the situation can be simplified by reducing it to a civic battle between different coloured garments.

The yellow shirts wanted to suspend the constitution and depose the democratically elected government on the charge of corruption. Their desire was to appoint an interim administration to oversee political reform.

The red shirts were loyal to the ousted government.

Due to the civil unrest, most foreign governments have been advising their citizens to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Thailand.

I arrived on the 9th to get tattooed by Guy Le Tatooer while he’s guesting at Bangkok’s Six Fathoms Deep. Although Bangkok appeared to be business as usual, news reports of police harassment suggested otherwise.

Tourists and foreign nationals have become targets of what many claim to be systematic ‘racial profiling’. Accosted by police, people have been asked to present identification papers and visas, with some even forced to provide on the spot urine samples designed to detect hard drugs. As one report cautioned, an empty bladder is no excuse: ‘when he couldn’t produce, he says they forced him to drink four liters [sic] of water and pressed forcefully on his bladder to make him urinate and touched his penis.’

Using the threat of immediate arrest, they have been aggressively cajoling unsuspecting tourists into coughing up ad hoc ‘fines’ for failing to provide substantial documentation. Although Martial Law applies exclusively to the army and its soldiers, and Section 93 of the criminal code clearly states that searches conducted in public are prohibited without probable cause, it is believed that the police have had to improvise due to the Army obstructing their usual swindles.

Six Fathoms Deep’s Nicholas Mudskipper has experienced their intimidation first hand.

‘Yeah man, vultures on the streets shaking down people for payouts. I was headed back from a ju-jitsu session and I was told I’m a Russian selling coke around the red-light areas, [the officer] greedily stuck his hands into my gym bag to find a sweaty ju-jitsu gi! These guys’ other rackets are being squeezed by the military so they need to find other ways to buy Christmas goodies this time of year.’

‘So, are you red or yellow shirted?’ I asked in jest.

‘I make my own shirts bra! Black white and grey for days!’

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Nick came to Bangkok several years ago to set up shop with his business partner, Dillon Pienaar.

‘Bangkok is a beast that can swallow you up fast, a city full of interesting things, a sunny place for shady people!’

I asked Nick what it was like to run a tattoo studio, while under Martial law, inside the belly of that beast.

‘Bro, Six Fathoms Deep is like a bubble, once you’re inside, doesn’t feel like I’m in Bangkok anymore: no dramas, no politics, just tattooing and Masters of the Universe figures surrounding me. If all else fails I’m sure Skeletor will get my back. Our Tattoo shop is a friendly creative family for good-hearted tattooers far from home. We are all about doing good clean tattoos, good vibes, toy collecting and of course big BBQs!’

Speaking of toys, the interior of Six Fathoms Deep was peppered with an array of figurines.

‘I’m crazy about Masters of the universe and other 80s toys, Matt Adams is into Ninja turtles, Miss Ink is super into Russian and Kewpie dolls, David Chaston is into other strange stuff too, so yeah it’s just our man cave full of items that influence us and that we’re nostalgic about.’

And why Six Fathoms Deep?

‘I originally wanted to call the shop Six Feet Deep, but that was kind of taken, ha-ha. I grew up around the Atlantic Ocean and have always been curious of the mysterious depths and legends of giant creatures fathoms deep under the ocean, so I blended those together! Boom!’

Six Fathoms Deep’s resident artists are Nicholas Mudskipper, David Chaston, Miss Ink and Big Matt Adams.

Current guest artists are Guy Le Tatooer and Etienne Memon.

Cakes and Tattoos

Anmar Odendal is a  pastry chef, wedding cake baker and social media addict from Aldeburgh in Suffolk. We chatted to her about her tattoo inspired cakes and cake inspired tattoos as well as her new book venture. 

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? I only got my first tattoo in February 2013! I love the idea of being able to permanently carry with you your experiences and things that you hold special. Getting inked and discovering the world of tattoos has come at the perfect stage of my life, as I am now in a position where my both my style in my career and  personal life have become my trademark. Every tattoo I have tells a story  and means the world to me. It’s my journey, on my skin, that I take with me everywhere. My tattoos make me feel like a million bucks – and if someone doesn’t like it it doesn’t bother me at all. My skin, my way!

Who did it your first tattoo? My first tattoo was only a tiny rainbow infinity sign on my wrist. I know the infinity sign has now become one of those tattoos that every one has – but to me it means “what goes around comes around”. A really horrid relationship just confirmed how much I believed in Karma – and that is what it symbolises to me. I don’t look at it in a negative light at all – I love it and it reminds me I was the stronger one and that I came out better, and stronger on the other side.


My first real tattoo (and I say real as I mean this was designed from my own concept) was done by Dolly at Needles & Nails s in Brighton. She has since moved to Occult in Worthing and has also done my thigh piece for me. I knew she would be the perfect artist for my dream of having a tiered wedding cake tattoo! Her style is bold, mega colourful, girly and super bright. I now have a massive pink wedding cake on my forearm – and I love it. People don’t wonder about my job any more!

How do your friends and family react to your tattoos? I don’t know if anyone really honestly says what they think about tattoos. It’s clear that tattoos are still a big no-no to lots of people and I understand that.  Most reactions have been good as they suit my personality.I am South Africa and grew up on a farm over there. I do sometimes wonder what the reaction will be when I do go home, as tattoos are still very much frowned upon.  People always ask ‘what are you going to look like when you are eighty?’

Why are people so worried about what were going to look like when we are eighty? When I’m eighty my body will tell an amazing story of the live that I have lived!

Do you have any future tattoo plans? Definitely. I had one of my feet done by the amazing Jody Dawber and I still need to have the other one done! The fab Miss Dolly will be doing my other thigh – I’m not so sure what I’ll get, but I look unbalanced with one beautifully tattooed and the other bare.  I also have a space booked with the amazing Hollie West for one of her fab chubby ladies – with a baking theme of course!

When did you start baking and when did you set up your own business? I’m lucky as I come from a family of very talented bakers.  I never specialised as a pastry chef/ baker as I trained as a professional chef, but always found myself in the pastry kitchens. I always loved making cakes,but it was only once I moved to the UK with my then husband that I decided to do it full time and start my own business. I saw a gap in the market in the area for big, bold beautiful cakes and set CRUMB up in 2010.
I am very lucky as Crumb grew really fast and by 2013 I won the regional award for “best wedding cake designer” in the East of England at the National wedding industry awards in London. I am also listed in 2014′s “most incredible wedding cake bakers in the UK”.

What do you usually create? As well as running Crumb I also work as the pastry chef at a local hotel. I create anything and everything really! I always like to say- “If you can dream it, I can bake it!” At the moment my mini meringues and macarons are very popular and I’m doing numerous master classes and workshops teaching eager bakers how to make them. Food demonstrations on stage is another great passion I have – I love theatre cooking – something I never thought I’d get in to!

Do you have any favourite cakes that you have baked? There are many! One of my favourites has to be a massive black, red and white wedding cake that was topped with a life size solid white chocolate skull, red glitter encrusted red roses and black lace for one of my favourite couples ever. I made a very opulent cake for a celebrity couple that also featured in OK! Magazine last year. I love doing big over the top cakes – shows topper cakes – things that Marie Antoinette would have approved of! I also make birthday and other celebration cakes when I have the time – some of my favourites include a Mexican sugar skull cake and some cupcakes topped with designs from the jewellery brand Tatty Devine.

Do you have any future projects?  I am currently working on a new baking recipe book, with a bit of an edge. I’ve rounded up 12 of my favourite female tattoo artists who are all letting their creativity flow and designing their dream wedding/celebration cake in the style and theme of the tattoos that they create. The book will feature all 12 artists, and I will make their artwork into a real cake, with recipes, tutorials and tricks to recreate the cakes, or design your own cake. The book will also contain some amazing other recipes that are my favourites including macarons, meringues, cookies and brownies.

Follow Anmar and her book for exciting news and delicious bakes.

Keep your eyes peeled for a future blog post for Anmar’s recipe on how to make a rainbow unicorn cake…

Comedic Tattoos

Would you get a tattoo just for comedy value? Is your desired outcome roaring laughter or do you wish your tattoos to be art.

Colin Bonsall had the slogan comparethemeerkat.com tattooed across his stomach with the sole aim of making his granddaughter Bethany giggle.

We watch them together and Bethany thinks they’re hilarious.   

Colin Bonsall, owner of the comparethemeerkat tattoo

Maybe I’m a mug but I find it funny. I’ll see how well this one goes down first though before I get another one.

 Colin Bonsall, tattooed Granddad 

I myself have a few comical tattoos, ones which signify my sense of humour as well as inside jokes but is having a more annoying than funny television advert a step too far?

My boyfriend and I got matching watermelon tattoos as a joke and a way to mark our five year anniversary. The tattoo makes our friends laugh and it also brings a smile to my face when I remember the story behind it.

Do you have the beholders of your tattoos in mind when you get inked or are your motives more selfish? Ultimately the question lies in what motivates you to get tattooed? How do you choose the subject of your tattoo?

Tattoos are another way for people to attempt to read someone’s personality. Should your sense of humour be on display without you opening your mouth and laughing

 

Images and quotes from www.mirror.co.uk
Watermelon tattoo by Sophie Adamson, The Projects, Plymouth.