Tagged: tattoos

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.

Interview with Katie Shocrylas

31-year-old tattoo artist Katie Shocrylas tattoos out of a private studio in Vancouver, BC, Canada and creates mesmerising and bright tattoos inspired by the beauty of nature. We chatted to Katie to find out more about her distinctive style and what drew her to the tattoo world…

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 8.48.08 AM

Photo taken by rolydee.com

How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing full-time for about four years.

How did you start? What did you do before? I became fascinated with tattooing about a year after finishing art school, while I was travelling and started getting tattooed myself. After my apprenticeship I ended up going back to school for art therapy; I took a bit of a roundabout route but ultimately found my way back to tattooing and haven’t stopped since. Now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

I did a lot of different things before I got into tattooing: I spent four years completing a Bachelor of Fine Art degree, a year travelling in New Zealand, and in the time between then and the beginning of my tattoo career had a variety of different jobs in the service industry. My apologies to anyone who got me as a server, I was always terrible at waiting tables and serving drinks!

IMG_0836

Do you have a background in art? I have always drawn and painted, and have an undergraduate degree in visual art specialising in mixed media figure drawing and painting. I also danced semi- professionally until I was 18.

What drew you to the tattoo world? I have always loved the fact that tattooing allows you to make one-on-one connections with other people through images. I think it’s a really unique way to make even just a small difference in someone else’s life, and being able to learn a little bit about their experiences by creating a piece of really personal artwork for them. I am drawn to the directness of drawing directly onto someone’s body; tattoos are aesthetic and I love that they’re a way for people to adorn their skin with images they find beautiful and/or significant – I see tattoos as a movement towards self love and often acceptance and healing. Also, it’s really, really fun and super rewarding to be able to make art for people every day!

IMG_4326
How would you describe your style, how has it changed? I always have a hard time describing my style but I suppose I would say I do illustrative, vibrant, somewhat neo-traditional and mostly animal-based tattoos. Over the past few years, I feel my work has become a little freer and more whimsical – my line work has definitely evolved to have a bit more of a sense of naturalism to it. Also, I find myself working with bright colour schemes in a way that combines black and neutral tones to contrast the hyper-vibrant rainbow palettes I love so much. I think my sense of colour is becoming more refined and I’m really enjoying the depth that results from that.

IMG_1989
What do you like to tattoo and draw? Animals! Crystals! Anything that grows in nature. I love doing pet portraits, anything magical or whimsical, food tattoos are really fun (fruits and veggies and anything sweet), patterns, ornamentation, anything that combines the real world with an imagined world.

What inspires you? I am inspired by nature, pop culture (especially anything from the 80s), travel, and lots of other artists (tattoo and otherwise, both past and contemporary).

IMG_2912
What would you love to tattoo? I really want to do more pop culture tattoos – think X Files, drag queens, iconic musicians, 80s inspired imagery. I’d also love to do more insects, snakes, and exotic as well as mythological animals. I really want to tattoo a zebra, if anyone’s keen!

Do you have any guest spot or conventions planned? I’ll be part of Art Basel again this December with my lovely sponsors Hush Anesthetics! Otherwise I am going to be primarily in Vancouver for the remainder of 2016 as I’ve been on the road a lot this past year and am looking forward to a few months at home. However, I am in the beginning stages of planning some North American and UK guest spots for 2017. I am also planning on heading back to Brighton for the convention in 2017, I was part of the convention this year and had a blast.

IMG_5011
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Half of the tattoos on my arms are cover ups, and my favourite tattoos rarely see the light of day – I’ve got a little collection of animals on my legs (a horse, toucan, squirrel, puppy, kittens – still lots of space on my one leg to fill with more creatures!) Steve Moore is doing a full backpiece for me, we’re two sessions in, I’m pretty excited about that as his work has inspired me since before I even started tattooing.

Interview with Iris Lys

30-year-old travelling tattoo artist Iris Lys is based in Liège Belgium, where she guets at a friend’s shop every month. We chat to Iris about her love for cats, how her tattoos have progressed since she began tattooing and how she wants to create larger pieces… 

lys

How long have you been tattooing? I started tattooing in 2005 and I made my first tattoo ever in 2003, when I was just 17. That was in an awful shop in France, so I don’t count it, I started a real apprenticeship in Helsinki Finland at the end of 2004.

How did you start? What did you do before? I have always loved body modifications and I have always drawn and somehow I just knew it was my thing. I moved to Finland (where my mum is from) a year after I finished school, with the goal of finding a place to start my tattoo apprenticeship. I remember I arrived in Helsinki and found this shop where I got tattooed and I had all of my drawings in my bag hoping I would get the balls to ask for an apprenticeship. I showed them my drawings and they took me on!

My drawings had nothing to do with tattoos when I began, I think my drawings were pretty bad, but I was young and nobody makes perfect drawings from a young age! I had a difficult apprenticeship, as I was a very shy girl who couldn’t speak Finnish very well. So sometimes the language barriers got a bit problematic! I consider myself to be self made, no one really showed me things or helped me understand things and how to get better that’s why I learnt very slowly.

Irislys3

Do you have a background in art? Both my parents are artists, they always took us to exhibitions and made us draw or do anything artistic. My father was an art teacher for years until he stopped to have more time for his own art, he was a sculptor and amazing painter. My mom also paints, draws and makes traditional Finnish wall tapestry, they both made me love art. I went to an art school in Helsinki for a year too but I wasn’t really into it as I wanted to learn tattooing  and I thought learning how to paint wasn’t really my thing which I now regret since I  would have learn so much.

Irislys6

Describe your style, has it changed? I guess I can call my style traditional with a girly/kitty touch.  I use a lot of traditional images as inspiration that I try to adapt in cat style like rock of ages “rock of kitties”, pharaoh’s horses “pharaoh’s kitties”, handshake “paw shake”, I like to add funny words to the drawings. I also like to create funny and naughty designs with asses and cats involved!

My style has changed in a way and so has my tattooing ability. I am only now after 11 years of tattooing kind of happy with what I do since I have been travelling so much, living in different countries, working in a lot of shops and learning things from others. I am so much happier and confident now, I always knew I wanted to tattoo and I want to until I am unable to keep a machine in a my hand.

Irislys5
What do you like to tattoo and draw? I love to draw and tattoo flowers, hands, lady faces and of course cats!  I’m always happy to have people contacting me about their cat projects, especially when they have very funny ideas! I like doing other stuff too,  I don’t want people to think I’m not able to do anything else than cats or to think I only make palm size tattoos which isn’t right! I like bigger project too and when they have cats in it I am even happier.

What is it about cats that you love so much? I come from a tiny village in south of France where we always had cats and even more cats were coming to our garden, wild ones, I remember trying to catch them very silently to pet them, I have just always loved cats! I started tattooing my first cats a few years back and while I was in Montreal. I started to draw more and more and since people seem to like it I thought this is perfect, now I can make this my thing!

Irislys
What inspires you? My big inspiration is my own cat at the moment, I am completely crazy about her, she is my baby! Also sometimes I see funny cat pictures on my news feed that I use as reference.

What would you love to tattoo? I’d love to find someone who would get a full sleeve in a cat theme or a back piece, I want to make bigger pieces. I like doing palm size tattoos but sometimes I miss making bigger pieces, I feel like people think am not into that!

Do you have any guest spot or conventions planned? I’ll be the last week of July at Salon Serpent, few days at Jolie Rouge London in August and will come back to London in November for a week but haven’t figured it out yet.  As for conventions, I’ll be at Tox Cit Ink Liège (Belgium), Montreux tattoo convention (Switzerland) both in September, at Nantes tattoo convention in October and should be at Lisbon tattoo convention in December.

Irislys2
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? My own tattoos are pretty much all about cats, I have many cat tattoos on myself. A few years back I said that the only thing I would get would be cat related and it has been like that since then, but as I have been running out of space this is header to do. I started getting tattooed when I was younger and some of then have been covered, blasted over and lasered, but some still remain unfortunately. The best tattoos I have are all hidden since I don’t show my legs that much anymore!

Veganism and Ink

In this post our guest blogger Amber Bryce discusses how she thinks veganism and tattoos go perfectly together and she talks to two tattoo artists who also share her point of view…  

In many ways, I think that veganism and tattoos make a perfect pair. They’re  decisions that hold a lot of weight and impact, they can change your entire outlook on life and help to narrate a new kind of future for either yourself, or the world. To discuss the subject further I spoke with two lovely women in the tattoo industry: Avalon, a tattoo artist who works at The Grand Illusion Studio in Melbourne, Australia, and Dina, who owns Gristle Tattoo in Brooklyn, USA.

Here’s what they had to say…

Avalon Westcott, 24, Melbourne

How long have you been tattooing for? I started apprenticing at The Grand Illusion (Melbourne) at the start of 2013 and did my first tattoo ever on myself by the end of 2013. Before tattooing I had been painting for a few years, doing custom pet portraits for people, which was so much fun.

photo3
When did you become vegan? I went vegan five years ago when my fiancé Josh and I moved to the states for a few months. A month into my veganism I realised how amazing I felt, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. At that point I knew there was no turning back and that nothing, no peer pressure, no craving, no situation would ever make me eat animals again.

Is your veganism something that has always inspired your tattoo designs? I can’t count the amount of vegan inspired tattoos that I’ve done. Animals have become my speciality! I usually tattoo a combination of animals together, cows, lambs, chickens (lots of chickens) and piggies. Meeting like-minded people, chatting food, chatting animals and sharing a mutual lifestyle really brings me closer to the clients.

photo1

How do you think tattoos can help veganism? It’s no surprise that people with tattoos are often asked about why they have particular tattoos. My clients get tattooed for themselves, often to celebrate a milestone in their veganism or to commemorate animals, however, if anyone were to ask about why they have a love heart with animals in it tattooed on them I’m sure they’re proud to explain why. I believe that having a vegan tattoo is a very courageous and inspiring thing. To welcome people to question your lifestyle or even comment on it takes strength.

Do you have any personal vegan tattoos? If so, who are they by? I do have a few animal tattoos myself! My most recent is a girl dressed up as a chicken referenced from some vintage flash painted by Earl Brown, circa 1950, on the side of my thigh by the brilliant Becca Gené-Bacon from Hand of Glory in Brooklyn, NY.

photo2
What’s your favourite vegan tattoo that you’ve done? Every vegan tattoo that I have done holds its own meaning and its own memories. Really, they’re all as special as each other for the client, and myself.

Dina DiCenso, Brooklyn

When did you become vegan? I’ve been 100% vegan for six years and the two years prior to that I was 90% vegan (I ate cheese once every four months) and then I was vegetarian for about 15 years prior to that. So when I opened my own business it seemed natural for it to be vegan.

How has veganism informed your business? I use the shop to do a lot of fundraisers for animal rescues. We work with small, local rescues that are in desperate need of funds. We tailor each fundraiser flash to fit the organisation. For example, we do wolves when we work with Wolf Conservation Center, we do farm animals when we work with Skylands or Woodstock Farm Sanctuaries and we have a TnR event coming up so we’ll design cat related flash.

image2

How do you think tattoos can help the cause of veganism? I think tattoos can inspire veganism in a few ways. First, if people encounter enough people with vegan tattoos, they may stop and think about how many people are vegan and that it’s possible for them to change and be vegan too. And second, they may also see an image that inspires them to change their own lifestyle and habits.

Tell us about your tattoos? For me, it’s important to have my tattoos have meaning so I don’t get sick of them. Few things have more importance to me than the animals I’ve rescued, and animals in general, so I’ve tried to get a few of my favourites as tattoos.

-1

You convinced Reprofax to make the first vegan stencil paper! Tell me more about that. I had read online about the stencil paper possibly not being vegan. Rather than take the postings at face value, I tried to contact the company directly. After several contact attempts and no response I had my geneticist friend test it. He came back with lanolin as the offending ingredient and then about the same time I got his results, the company responded confirming it was indeed lanolin — it holds the ink onto the plastic sheet.

I then began harassing them until they agreed to make a vegan stencil paper. Their chemist had retired ten years prior, which is why they were reluctant to create any new versions of the paper. We helped test their early versions and when they had a solid final version, I was the first one to buy it. Many artists are unaware products in the tattoo process are not vegan – they think it’s limited to the ink and aftercare. But it’s the ointment, the soap and even the moisture strip on razors.

Apprentice Love: Jay Rose

We spotted the work of 21-year-old apprentice Jay Rose on Instagram and instantly loved her dark dotwork and floral tattoos. We chatted to Little Jay to find out more about her life as an apprentice at Black Dot Tattoo Studio in Glasgow where she works… 

_Z0A9380-Edit

Photo by Nik Antonio

How long have you been tattooing? I’ve been an apprentice for just over a year, I did my first tattoo on May 18th 2015.

How did you start? What did you do before?  I’ve always had an interest in tattooing, I was exposed to tattoos my entire childhood. My granddad has some really old traditional style tattoos, I grew up looking at pop eye tattooed across his hand, with old school lettering in a heart for his mum and dad. I think being exposed to tattoos so frequently they drew my attention more towards them. I knew I was going to be heavily tattooed; I just didn’t think I’d be the one doing it!

When I started to properly get tattooed one of the people who tattooed me was Raph Cemo, when I went to get tattooed by him I was a little lost, things weren’t going to plan and I’d lost my vision of what I wanted to be doing. I came out of that tattoo session so empowered (and a little physically drained), knowing what I wanted to do and feeling silly for not realising how obvious it was that I should start tattooing. It wasn’t until a year later, when I had set up a clear path and done a lot of self-development that I met Tom and somehow convinced him to let me be his apprentice.

FullSizeRender-2

Do you have a background in art? My parents brought me up drawing and letting me make creative messes in the house, my mum’s a wonderful artist but she’ll never admit that to anyone. My nan used to paint water colours and I’d draw the flowers in her garden when I was a little girl, I guess that’s where my love for flowers comes from as well. I’ve always been artistic due to the way I was brought up, I studied fine art and photography before starting my degree in painting and printmaking at Glasgow School of Art.

What drew you to the tattoo world? I get tattooed for lots of different reasons, but long story short tattooing is allowing me to create a vessel I feel comfortable in and am proud of. My journey with my body is a continuous one that I work on loving everyday but tattooing has allowed me to externalise the vision I hold for my body, watching that come to life and loving myself a little bit more each time is an emotional path. I have never been more myself than I am now due to tattooing, and that’s a really comforting feeling. This vessel is the only thing I will ever truly own, the only thing that will ever truly be mine and I am working on improving it and worshipping it every day.

I am so thankful for all of the artists that have allowed me to sit in their chair and help me with my journey, if I can even help someone half as much as these incredible beings have helped me I’d be overjoyed. Seeing how much of an impact you have had in someone’s life, be that from helping with self-improvement or to be a part of a creation of a memory is magical to see, that’s why I love tattooing.

FullSizeRender-4

Describe your style, how has it changed? I guess the style I tattoo in would technically fall under dot work, my style itself however is constantly changing and developing as I meet new people and discover new things. Tibetan art has been a major influence throughout my life and was a really heavy part of my style and what I was tattooing at the beginning. The impact it has on me hasn’t changed however I’ve naturally moved towards more botanical tattoos as of late. I wish to never become ignorant of the origins and meanings of what I tattoo on others as well as what I put onto myself.

What inspires you? It sounds cliché but for me I gain inspiration from the little things, a lot of my inspiration comes from flowers, I find myself happiest when sitting in botanical gardens surrounded by life continuously blossoming around me.

I didn’t have the most stereotypical upbringing, my mum taught me about Buddhism and took me to galleries so that I was exposed to different cultures and their art. I take a lot from Tibetan Buddhist art and symbolism, their art is not only aesthetically beautiful but the meanings behind everything comes from love and understanding.

People and places are the most vital inspirations you can get as that’s what is continuously surrounding you, if you make a point of living a positive life, surrounded by the most inspiring people, in the most beautiful places you’re going to have such a love filled creative outlet and there’s something really blissful about that.

FullSizeRender-3

What would you love to tattoo? At the moment I’m really enjoying more botanical pieces, I’ve recently grown a love for drawing plants with the bulbs attached. I’ve started to get really into anatomical drawings as well, so I’d really like to do a large botanical/anatomical thigh piece, I think that would be really stunning.

What is a typical day like for you? It normally involves a lot of reading, I get a lot of inspiration from books so am often reading a few things at once and often drawing from them as well. My work outside of tattooing is text based so a lot of that involves writing pieces and hammering them into large metal plates for hours on end. That’s also where I end up drawing up a lot of my tattoo designs, as it’s my creative space and outlet.

I work in a private studio, so it’s by appointment only which means I get to control the amount of tattoos I’m doing a day and I don’t have set hours. Tattooing is where I find my mind the most clear, when I’m tattooing, drawing or reading my mind is simply taking in what is in front of me. When I’m tattooing I am so engrossed in the experience, in what I’m tattooing, in why the person is getting it and who they are, that I often forget this is a job.

FullSizeRender-6
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? A lot of the work I hold upon my own body is that of Tibetan and Buddhist symbolism along with some personal links with friends and family. Everything I hold on my person means something, which can be taken in the form of Buddhist myths to my own personal connections to the objects or imagery my vessel now features.
One of my favourite tattoos is an outlined heart with ‘JuSt’ written inside; ‘JuSt’ stands for Julie and Stephen which are both of my parents names, the font is from my typewriter and the non symmetrical heart is hand drawn by me and was kept imperfect to represent me along side them as a continuous link to one another when I’m far from home.

I also now posses The Three Graces upon my arm which is taken from Botticelli’s painting the ‘La Primavera’, after studying this painting for a year whilst studying history of art at the age of 18 I flew to Florence to view this painting in the flesh.  I sobbed staring at it for hours mesmerised by the impact it had not only on my body but on me as a person. I decided to get the Three Graces tattooed on me due to what they represented as goddesses of such things as charm, beauty, and creativity.

_Z0A9444-Edit

Photo by Nik Antonio

I made a start of my full back piece earlier this year with Hannah Sykes which is not only the largest piece on me to date but arguably the most physically and mentally draining also. The whole process through the amount of time, continuous alterations, and adjustments to fit the vision that both Hannah and myself hold for my body is a long and exciting journey we hope to finish at the end of this year. The piece itself is an array of Tibetan flowers spread over my full back and wrapping around my bum. Getting my back tattooed was a huge decision for me, not only for the amount of space it spanned on my body but also to make sure it fitted and worked with my petite frame rather than over powering it. However any worry swiftly disappeared when I saw the vision Hannah had come up with and altered to fit my body perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier with the way in which this continuation is turning out.

Women With Tattoos: Rosie

A few weeks ago our blog content manager Rosie was photographed and interviewed for the Women with Tattoos blog that explores the stories and art behind inked skin. In this post we share her photographs and interview where she talks about how tattoos have helped her to accept and celebrate her body…



What drew you into the world of tattoos? It all started when my boyfriend booked in to get his first tattoo. I was 18 at the time. If he was going to get one, so was I! I had always wanted one, but until then hadn’t really thought about it or had the guts to go through with it. My family have always been pretty against them. I remember one of my uncles getting a small football team badge when I was younger and everyone hating it.
I’ve always loved henna and mehndi-style patterns so I decided to start small with a floral design on my foot. I was totally unprepared for the pain that I never got it finished. I just couldn’t sit still so there are some wonky lines, but it is mine and reminds me of that time in my life.

It took me three years to pluck up the courage to get another tattoo. When I eventually did, I got a small fortune fish. I am obsessed with lucky symbols and talismans from different cultures and I’m secretly hoping these things will bestow on me some much needed luck! The lovely Sophie Adamson tattooed me and continued to tattoo me for most of my university years. She started my tattoo heyday; in the midst of it I was getting a new tattoo every week. I just loved spending time with Sophie and, of course, I adored everything she created for me.

Goddess sleeve by Lucy O’Connell

Lady Lamp by Sadee Glover

Left: moth by Sophie Adamson, Russian doll by Abbie Williams. Right: butterfly by Sonia Jade, hot air balloon by Sophie Adamson

What role do tattoos play in your life? Right now, they’re kind of a hobby and also a labour of love. Being involved in Things&Ink has opened a whole world of tattooing to me. I can interview, write about and research tattoos for hours! Without the magazine and blog I probably wouldn’t be as tattooed as I am and I wouldn’t have found so many awesome artists. Also my list of people I need work from wouldn’t be so long or frustrating. Tattoos have allowed me to meet some awesome people, make new friendships and travel the country. I’ll always be grateful to Alice (the editor) for the wonderful opportunity she has given me.

Why do you think that tattoos help people feel more confident? I’m not sure about everyone else, but with every new tattoo, I begin to love my body that little bit more. I see it as an empty canvas that I can fill. A tapestry that I alone can weave and create, a thing that I can change in a positive way rather than something that I feel negatively towards. I can make it my own and no one else can dictate what I decide to do with it. Now when I look at my body, I see the blank spaces that need filling, the possibilities and the gaps that have been mapped out for artists and ideas. Tattoos have become a way for me to celebrate myself and my body, a way for me to not only express and explore myself but find out what I find important in life.

Tattoos are beautiful pictures that we carry with us. They become a part of us. They sink into the skin, capturing memories, a moment and the person you are today.


Bird tattoo by Jessi James

If you had to explain what a tattoo is to a child, what would you say? Tattoos are beautiful pictures that we carry with us. They become a part of us. They sink into the skin, capturing memories, a moment and the person you are today.

How long does it usually take you to decide on a tattoo? Do you do lots of research beforehand? It depends whether an artist has drawn some flash that I love or whether I love their style and want them to create something. My left sleeve by Lucy O’Connell is two years in the making. I’ve always loved oriental styles, culture and objects. A trip to Vietnam last year to visit a friend really cemented my love for the Far East. I fell in love with the country that I saw from the back of my friend’s moped, from the beautiful pagodas to the street food. Being in a completely different country with some of my closest friends really helped me decide what direction I wanted my arm to go in. This sleeve is not just beautiful, it’s a tribute to the time we spent together and how important these people are to me.


Peacock quill by Sophie Adamson, bobby pin by Abbie Williams

Is a tattoo artist’s personality important to you? I know someone who makes sure she meets the artist before deciding to go ahead with them. I tend to get tattooed by mainly women, who I always feel more comfortable with anyway. I guess I just prefer the company of women. I also find that the styles of tattoo that I go for – bright, colourful and girly – tend to reflect those who create them. I have met a couple of tattooists at conventions that I didn’t click with or I got a bad vibe from and so I won’t be getting tattooed by them, no matter how much I like their work. If I get on with someone I definitely tend to get tattooed by them more, especially if they enjoy tattooing what I have commissioned. If I have fun – well, as much fun as you can have getting tattooed – I usually feel a lot better about the tattoo. I associate the person, jokes, music or the time in general with how I feel about the completed tattoo.


Tattoos by Lucy O’Connell

You work in digital media and I wondered how you feel Instagram has changed the tattoo scene? I’ve only known the tattoo scene since Instagram. Before then I didn’t know a lot about it, except just the local shop in our town. I think it’s amazing for the industry. There are so many amazing artists to discover and find all over the world. I spend way too much time on Instagram, finding new tattoo inspiration and generally wasting time! Everyone I have been tattooed by I found on Instagram and anyone I have chatted to for the magazine or blog I have found on the app. Instagram opens up tattoos to copycats and trends, but it also allows us to feel a wider sense of community and belonging.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about getting their first tattoo? Firstly, find a good artist whose style you love – there really is no excuse with social media now. Don’t just go to your local artist because they’re cheap or your friend went – tattoos are worth travelling for. They’re an investment, they’re worth waiting for. It’s great to draw inspiration from other people’s work, but get your artist to draw something custom for you – it’ll have more meaning and will age better with you in the long run. Saying that, not every tattoo has to have some grand meaning or story. With each new one I get I tend to notice them less. They just become a part of me that will always be there. Be true to yourself, don’t follow fashions, these are fleeting, it is your skin forever, adorn it with beautiful things and just do it!

Featured artists: Lucy O’Connell, Sadee Glover, Sophie Adamson, Jodie Dawber, Ashley Luka, Abbie Williams, Jessi James, Hanan Qattan, Sonia Jade.

Shaded: Martyna Wisniewska

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 21-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.

Martyna Wisniewska is a 21 year-old photojournalism graduate based in Southampton who is as much a talented live music photographer as she is an ethereal visual artist. Contributing to ‘Shaded’, the South-Western surrealist enlightens us as to what it is that influences her creatively, the importance of tone in her photography and her fascination with crows that’s soon to inspire her next tattoo…

13511536_1704193683175499_1623918067_n

When did you start taking photographs? I moved to Southampton to study at university and started shooting at the beginning of 2014. I was reviewing gigs for three months prior, but I realised I hated writing more than anything so I picked up a camera instead. It hit me following a 65daysofstatic show that I was going to pursue this weird little path I found myself on. I remember running home from the venue with tears in my eyes – it felt like I finally found something I loved doing!

What influences your work? My work is very heavily influenced by people. I would be lying if I said the people I work with don’t influence the look or feel of certain frames. Other than that, I’m influence by the same things as to any other content creator: the internet, books, advertising – It’s all part of it! I look at images all the time. I was that weird kid in my art class, so I always had a wonky sense of what the things I make should look like. Dali was obviously a huge influence along with Eric Lacombe. It’s super tough to pin-point what exactly influences me, but I feel like it’s fair to say the way my work looks is environmental. I adapt my concepts to situations.

13523870_1704193686508832_65509960_o

Can you speak about the artists who inspire you? To be honest, it would be easier to speak of people who don’t inspire me. There’s naturally a bunch of artists who’s work I love. One of them being a German photographer based in Berlin, Gundula Blumi. She makes these dreamy, surrealistic images that I can’t get enough of. The tone of her work makes my brain tingle. It bugs me how one can be so creative. I also closely follow the work of other content creators like Joshua Halling, Sam Haines, Daniel Patlan, Liam Warton, Nona Limmen and Tamara Lichtenstein.

What do you use to create your images? In terms of cameras, anything from compact cameras to my ultimate baby, the Canon 6D. In terms of the look of my shots, I own a bag full of glass that I use to reflect my images and manipulate them. That’s it really. A bag full of glass is the key.

13514484_1704193583175509_2002431569_n

What do you admire in other people’s work? I struggle with tone a lot – my colour palette is so odd! Sometimes it just doesn’t work and it’s the most infuriating thing in the world. Months ago, I went through a phase of making everything look dirty and over saturated. I now strive to get the dreamiest frames I possibly can, so tones and the use of natural light are things I admire the most in other people’s work.

Can you tell us about your tattoos? I don’t really have that many. I’m pretty much covered in animals, bones and plants. When I was a kid, I owned a bunch of lovable creatures, so a lot of my tattoos are either of animal skulls or my pets. I got a stick and poke last October when on tour with Milk Teeth and Title Fight. My pal Daniel Liljedahl did it. Most of my tattoos have been done by a Southampton-based tattoo artist and illustrator called Gemma Piper who works at Ginger Toms Tattoo Studio. I love her style, hence why I essentially let her cover my right leg in her work.

She was an apprentice at Ginger Toms when I started getting tattooed by her. I’ve been pretty lucky to have been able to watch her progress so closely. Sucha Igla produced a pretty big piece of mine. He’s this insanely talented artist who’s based in Gdansk, Poland. The design is a rat skull contained within a wooden hexagram. It sounds pretty gnarly, but it’s actually kind of girly. The only tattoo on my body that can really be considered to have any existential meaning is this funny looking lizard I’ve got tattooed on my calf. He has the word ‘relaxo’ written above him, simply because I forget to slow down and be mindful of my surroundings a lot of the time.

13518194_1704193569842177_1534605099_o

What attracted you to tattoos in the first place? I always liked the look of tattooed skin; my family never really approved. I got in trouble for getting my nose pierced when I was 16, so you can imagine my Mum’s reaction when I first started getting tattooed. She made me promise not to get any more after my first, but 22 tattoos later and I think she might finally be over it all.

Do you have any plans for future work? The only tattoo I have planned right now is a big black crow that’s gonna go on my arm. I recently developed this weird attraction to crows; they’re not only the most handsome of birds but also super interesting to watch. They’re like a bunch of bad boys hanging out, pissing each other off and protecting their turf. There are a lot of artists I’d love to get tattooed by, Hugo Tattooer being one of them. He tattoos the cutest little animals – it makes my heart hurt! I’d also love to get tattooed by this surrealist artist from Holland, Levi Jake. His portraiture is something that inspires my work and I would love one day to be able to get him to design me a dreamy piece to compliment my bag of glass.

13517858_1704193543175513_1976614625_o

Do you find that there’s a relationship between tattoo culture and the world your photography gravitates toward? There is definitely a link between tattoos and music. It’s all art in the end, isn’t it? I think the factor of self-expression is what makes band culture gravitate towards the world of tattoos. Both music and tattoos allow you to express yourself and your values.