Tagged: Things and Ink magazine

Miniature Ink II – tattoo artist announcement


Atomica Gallery and Things&Ink magazine are pleased to announce the exhibiting tattoo artists for Miniature Ink II, the second exhibition featuring miniature original artworks. See more information in previous blog posts.

By Sadee Glover By Sadee Glover


List of exhibiting artists: Aaron Anthony / Adam Downing / Adam McDermott / Adam Ruff / Adam J Machin / Aimee Cornwell / Alex Bage/ Alex Binnie / Alex Edwards / Allan Graves / Alexandra Wilkey / Alix Ge / Amanda Toy / Amy Savage / Andrea Furci /Andrew Hulbert / Annie Frenzel / Anrijs Straume / Araceli 4ever / Ashley Luka / Antony Flemming  / Anthony Civarelli  / Big Sleeps /Bradley Tompkins / Brian Wilson / Cesar Mesquita /  Charissa Gregson  / Chiara Pina / Chris Crooks / Christos Serafeim / Christina Hock / Claudia Ottaviani / Clare Hampshire / Clare Lambert  / Dan Frye /  Daryl Watson / Dave Condon / Deno / Deryn Twelve / Dexter Kay / Diana Jay / Dominique Holmes / Drew Linden / EJ Miles / Elliot Guy / Elliott Wells / Ellis Arch / Elmo Teale / Emily Alice Johnston / Eszter / Flo Nuttall / Friday Jones / Grant Macdonald / Guy Le Tatooer / Hannah Pixie Sykes / Hannah Selina Maude Oliver / Hannah Westcott / Hanan Qattan / Harriet Heath / Harry Harvey / Hen Bo Henning / Henry Big / Heinz / Hollie West / Holly Ashby/ Holly Astral/ Holly Ellis / Iris Lys / James Lovegrove / Jason Corbett / Jesse Singleton / Jessi James / Jessica Mach / Jo Harrison / Joanne Baker / Jody Dawber / Jondix / Jon Peeler / John Fowler / Just Jen / Keely Rutherford / Kelly Violet / Lal Hardy / Lauren Hanson / Lauren Winzer / Lianne Moule / Liz Clements / Lou Hopper /  Luci Lou / Lucy Blue / Lucy Pryor / Marcos Fam /  Marie Folklore / Mark Jelliman / Matty D’Arienzo / Max Rathbone / Megan Fell / Michelle Maddison / Michelle Myles / Miles Monaghan / Miss Juliet / Mister Paterson / Miss Jo Black / Mymorg / Natalie Petal Gardiner / Nikole Lowe / Olive Smith / Paul Davies / Paula Castle / Paul Haines / Paul Hill / Peter Aurisch / Peter John Reynolds / Rachel Baldwin / Rafa Decraneo  / Rebecca Vincent / Rich Evans /  Ricky Williams / Rhianna Jones / Robert Ashby / Rose Hardy / Rose Whittaker / Ruby Wolfe / Sadee Glover / Sam Rulz / Sam Whitehead /  Sarah Carter / Sasha Unisex / Simon Erl / Stefano C / Stephen Doan / Steve Morante / Snappy Gomez / Susanna Widmann / Tanya De Souza-Meally / Tomas Tomas / Tracy D / Virginia Elwood /  Wendy Pham / Zoe Binnie

Plus more…

By Alex Binnie By Alex Binnie

Join the Facebook event for more information about the opening night – Wednesday 23 September, from 6pm.


Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Erasing the Past

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the third of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which Natalie will be telling us about her life in tattoos. Catch up on the first, second, third and fourth posts in the series. 

Are we tattoo snobs? I think I might be. I have not so long since covered up my last teenage tattoo. I had laser removal for some of them and it was during this procedure that a friend challenged my intentions. ‘Why would you get a tattoo removed? Don’t you know they are permanent, they are markers of your life, don’t throw away your memories’. His body is covered in what must be close to one hundred tiny tattoos, each linked to a memory, a person, an event, an emotion. He collects his tattoos using his body as a trinket box. None of them you would describe as a piece of art, but they are pieces of him.

Beginning of backpiece with cover up

The tattoos I had early on in life I wanted covered up for two main reasons, firstly they were badly done and secondly they were taking up space on my body which I wanted to cover with large, professionally done tattoos. My tattoos now could be classed as artworks on my skin, they are beautifully executed and original in design.

But is that the point of getting a tattoo? I really don’t know, we all have different reasons for going under the needle. It cannot be as simple as collecting art, I could and do have a multitude of art hanging on my walls at home, there was no need to have it on my body. Most of my tattoos cannot be put down to any special meaning either, of course there are the traditional meanings, I have a rooster which is my Chinese zodiac sign, I have a Foo-dog which represents protection but these aren’t meanings deeply personal to me. I have a peony on my knee which is solely there to fill an awkward gap, there for aesthetic purposes does that make it purely fashion?


Like fashion, tattoos can cost very little or exorbitant amounts. You have the high street budget fashion comparison in the street tattoo shops, often boasting special offers ‘all you can sit for £250’, ‘full sleeves £300’, ‘any two names £20’ (all genuine offers seen on the streets of Sheffield), you can get a full outfit from Primark and your boyfriends name tattooed for under £50. On the opposite end of the spectrum you can pay $500 per hour – I won’t say who quoted that but on large pieces you can pay an average £80-100 per hour. Some artists charge by the piece and depending on the size and details a fairly large tattoo can cost between £200-£500. Just like a Chanel handbag, if you embark on a body suit you will look to pay into the thousands.

Therein lies the elitism, not everyone can afford the best artists and the largest tattoos. For some having a spare £50 for a tattoo is a struggle. When I had my early tattoos done they were the ones I could afford.  But does erasing those tattoos mean I’m erasing my past? Am I trying to hide my working class background? Every now and again I forget I had my first tattoo covered up and get confused for a second when it’s not on my wrist, there instead the snake concealing it. Throughout our lives we change, we change – our clothes, our hair, our jobs, our homes so why not change our tattoos to better reflect the people we are now rather than the people we were.


 Snake by Kelly Smith

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Ink Poisoned

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the fourth of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which Natalie will be telling us about her life in tattoos. Read the first, second and third in the series. 


I just tapped out during a tattoo session…

It’s one of the biggest fears people have before their first long sitting but for those of us regularly taking 3-5 hours at a time we are used to the process and become a little blasé about it all. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been a few places I’ve been tattooed that have made my eyes water – I very nearly did a little cry having my ribs tattooed. Once you know what to expect however, you learn to eat something beforehand, drink some water throughout and breathe deeply to get you past the tough spots.

Tattoo by Tacho Franch 

I generally enjoy getting tattooed, it’s exciting, it’s fun chatting to your artist and hanging out in the studio. I don’t even mind the Bepanthen rituals in the days that follow, the Clingfilm wrapping and the bizarre clothing choices you have to make to avoid any rubbing. The past few times however I’ve not been as enthusiastic, confessing to my boyfriend ‘I really don’t want to get tattooed today’. But when you’ve made the bookings and you really want a piece finished you just put those thoughts to one side and get on with it.

I went into the sitting without any worries, we were going to finish off the little bits of colour on my back piece and get the lines in to extend it down the back of my legs. I’ve got fairly big tattoo in that area already which wasn’t a problem so I had no feelings of apprehension.

I knew I was in trouble after the first line, I couldn’t relax into it like usual. Not a word was uttered as I hid my head under my hoodie. My amazing artist sensing the struggle just cracked on with it as fast as possible. How I even managed an hour I have no idea, by that time I was shaking all over, boiling hot and feeling sick. My body simply couldn’t take it and I tapped out. After some food and a hot drink, I calmed down and felt much better. The guys at the studio really looked after me as always and I was able to continue the rest of the session just with some little bits of colour on a different area – certainly no more lining!

After that we agreed that my body needed some TLC, I’d pushed it too far. I usually only have one sitting a month at most but I’d had four in a month, three of those in just one week. I usually heal quickly, within 6-7 days for the main stages but I still had unhealed patches from two weeks earlier. These patches struggled to heal well and ended up in deep sores, which will now have to be retouched. So my artist has put me on a tattoo ban for two months, during this time I am also going to take a much needed holiday in the sun. Falling back into unhealthy eating habits and missing out on gym time due to unhealed tattoos had taken its toll.  This break will be hard for me, especially if I end up at any conventions in the meantime, but it’s been a real wakeup call that we have to love our bodies from the inside just as much as the outside.

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: New Tattoo Blues

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the second of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which Natalie will be telling us about her life in tattoos. Read the first in the series here

I woke up with a deep crushing regret for the tattoo I’d gotten the day before. Thoughts of laser removal and cover ups running through my mind. Don’t get me wrong it was an utterly beautiful tattoo by a talented artist, it just wasn’t the tattoo I thought it was going to be…

These thoughts and feelings weren’t all that alien to me, nor did it seem to others too. Only days before my friend had confessed that details of her latest addition had been lost in translation with an Italian artist. I too bore in mind the first large and highly visible tattoo I had, a rooster stretching from ankle to knee. Bold and unapologetic, dark against my pale skin. It was something on me, rather than part of me. Yet as it healed and settled into my skin, became smooth to the touch, my eye grew used to seeing it everyday, my body and gaze accepting it as part of me.

Cockerel by Max Rathbone 

As the day went on I found myself going through a series of emotions, I felt like I was betraying my artist by admitting my concerns, whilst feeling ashamed of myself for ending up in this position. Why hadn’t I put across any specifics that I wanted to the artist, before letting someone etch this onto my skin for the rest of my life?

In truth I was exhausted that day. It was the third time in a week I was getting tattooed. For the past few months I’ve gotten tattooed on average 2-3 times each month. You could say I’d become a bit blasé about the whole thing, when you have most of your body covered in tattoos another small one really doesn’t make that much difference – or does it?

I’d decided on the design based on the artists flash and asked her to do something similar. I didn’t see the design till the night before, again nothing unusual – in fact for all my other tattoos I’d not seen the design until right before it was to be tattooed. I choose artists because I like their work and I trust their judgement. But of course you are the one who will carry this art on your body for the rest of your life (possibly). I’ve never been too specific in my tattoo requests, I’ve given indications  and let the artist get on with it.

So why was I so upset about this tattoo? This was the first tattoo I’d gotten which had meaning, real meaning on a personal level.I have a Japanese bodysuit on the go and lots of Western traditional tattoos so yes of course in the symbolical sense all my tattoos have some meaning, however this one held personal meaning. It was my heart on a plate that I couldn’t explain away. It was my soul laid bare in a great big heart on my thigh. I realised I wasn’t worried about explaining the tattoo to anyone else.

Tattoos by Kelly Smith, Holly Ashby, Max Rathbone & Paul Goss 

No, the shock was in admitting to myself what I had actually done. This tattoo I got because of my boyfriend, not for him, not a gift, not an unyielding declaration of my love. He knows that without the need to permanently mark it on my body. I got it for myself. As a reminder not to run away when things get tough.

Now the swelling has gone down, the blood and plasma washed away, my new tattoo somehow fits.  I like to trace the tattoo with my finger whilst it’s still raised. If I had the chance to alter it now to what I’d previously imagined it to look like, I can safely say I wouldn’t – a tattoo that would have sat alongside my others, small and hidden, no that doesn’t seem right now. I adore this tattoo, its mine, its part of me. It might not have been the tattoo I first expected, but it’s definitely the tattoo I needed.

Post script: My tattoo is now healed and I utterly adore it, the overly emotional state passing in two days leaving me puzzled at how I could ever question such a perfect tattoo. I think we underestimate our bodies sometimes and the endurance we put them through in life. My advice, if you choose an artist whose work you adore and you trust them you can’t go wrong. Getting a permanent addition to your body is a big deal, let yourself be emotional about it but also give yourself time to adjust to it.

Interview with a tattoo artist: Holly Astral

We chatted to 31-year-old tattoo artist and jewellery maker Holly Astral from Hertfordshire about her painting style, her inspirations and the art shows she has been involved in. 

Do you have a background in art? I studied art at school and college before doing a degree in model making and special effects. With regards to painting and drawing I’m self taught, just figuring things out as I go along.

How did you get your apprenticeship? Why did you want to become a tattooist? I am trained as a model maker, and spent the first ten or so years of my working life prototyping toys and products for manufacture. To cut a long story short, I realised I wasn’t in love with what I was doing any more and decided to make a change. I love to paint and draw, and I had been thinking about expanding this. I wanted to learn to tattoo for years, but it was always a kind of distant far away dream. It occured to me that the only way to learn would be to make that dramatic change and immerse myself fully into learning to tattoo. I was working for myself at the time, so I stopped saying yes to model making jobs, closed my toy making company and got cracking with finding an apprenticeship!

How long have you been tattooing? Just over a year, but it’s gone so quickly! This year has flown by. I am loving every minute of it!

What kinds of things do you like to tattoo? I love tattooing animals and flowers the most so far! Flowers look so lovely flowing across the body. I am still just working on smaller, simple pieces right now.

How would you describe your tattoo style? I’m still just getting started, so my style is still very much in the developing stages. I’d say it’s pretty girly and some times cute but not too cutesy-poo. And more spacey, dreamy and magical when it comes to my art. In terms of painting I love to paint spacey pin up style ladies, and I hope my tattooing takes me in that kind of direction once I’ve built my skills up further to do larger pieces.

What mediums do you use? Oil paints mostly, sometimes acrylics. I always add some gold leaf to each painting, too. I like a bit of sparkle

Where do you get your inspiration from? Magic, nature, films – I love fantasy films and anything with ghosts or aliens in it. I am also really inspired by the vast loneliness of space, it kind of depends on how I’m feeling that day. Usually I start by sketching away in my sketchbook, I draw every single day, and then I see which ones start to flesh out and feel real to me on their own. My favourite part of any drawing is adding all the tattoos and long swishing hair.

Can you tell me about the gallery shows you have been involved in? I’ve exhibited at galleries in Europe and the USA, including The Sho Gallery Wales, Forbidden Planet London and the Japanese American National Museum in LA.  A lot of the shows in the states I sent my work over, but I always prefer to go to the show and getting to meet all the other artists involved. My art has taken me all over the place, all around England and Wales, and LA. I used to run my own line of collectible plush toys called Cavey, I produced a small numbered run of them each month in a different design, a bit like beanie babies. For Cavey’s birthday each year I would put on an art show where other artists and toy designers would contribute their own interpretation of the Cavey platform. The show was held at a pop up location each year in London, but one year I put the show on in LA. That was a lot of fun!

In April I put on my first solo show at Toycon in the UK and I’ve also curated shows at pop-up locations in London and LA.

Were the pieces you created for the galleries based around themes? Often the show will have a running theme that the artists are encouraged to work to, and I really like to work this way. Having a little bit of direction as to what to produce really gets the creative juices flowing!

A favourite show of mine was ‘Dragons’ which took place in Wales. Each artist was given a blank plastic dragon toy to customise, and everyone made their own interpretation of he platform. I made mine in the image of Falcor from The Never Ending Story. It was such a fun night!

Where can people buy your art?  I have a small online shop where I sell my silver jewellery. My artwork is available to purchase privately by emailing me at hollyastral@gmail.com

Holly is currently doing guest spots in Hertfordshire, if you’d like to get tattooed by her email: hollyastral@gmail.com

Follow Holly on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for more artwork and tattoos.

Are matching tattoos a curse?

With so many celebrity couples getting matching tattoos these days, our editorial assistant Rosie asks: ‘are matching couples tattoos a relationship curse or a way to further cement a loving bond?’

The latest celebrity couple to get matching tattoos in honour of their love for one another is Ellie Goulding and Dougie Poynter. ‘Skullin ell’ was the phrase Poynter used on his Twitter account to show the world his new ink.

But looking at other celebrity couples it seems that matching tattoos are a type of relationship curse. For instance Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Chris Brown and Rihanna, the list could go on and on.

By getting a matching tattoo are you adding a sense of dooming permanence to your relationship or is it merely a way to document an important part of your life. Is there a pressure that your relationship has to go the distance because of the ink in your skin?

I hope not as my boyfriend of six years and I have two tattoos that we have gotten together. Although the pieces are similar in design they are not entirely matching, and unless we tell people no one really guesses that the images are part of a pair. Our tattoos are of our first pet we got together, Elsie the hamster, and we bought each other the tattoos as Christmas gifts. I knew I wanted to get something from Charlotte Timmons at Modern Body Art in Birmingham, and as she does animals so wonderfully, Elsie was an obvious choice.

To me it makes no difference whether or not we have these tattoos, they do not control our lives and impact our future. They represent the fun we have had together, the things we have done as a couple and moments in our lives. I can look at them and remember the exact time we had them done nearly two years ago and why.

Would you consider getting a matching tattoo with your partner? Have you already got one?

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: My Life In Tattoos

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the first of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which she’ll be telling us about her life in tattoos… 

I got my first tattoo aged around 16, three four-leaf-clovers circling my outer wrist. A badly executed inking of a pretty little doodle I’d drawn. Aged 32 I decided after living longer with it than without it, the time was right to have it covered up with something that didn’t scream ‘crap teenage tattoo’. The ink was faded and it covered easily with a thick black traditional snake. That was the last of six teenage tattoos to be covered up. From the ages of 16 to 20 I had acquired the odd small tattoo over the years, growing up in the 90s I had earned my tribal and inaccurate Chinese kanji. I couldn’t tell you now what had prompted me to get tattooed back then, to be honest I probably couldn’t give you a reason as to why I get tattooed now. Perhaps it was some kind of rebellion, an attempt at carving out my own identity, a desire to be ‘tough’ and ‘cool’. Neither can I remember anything about the pain, I remember getting all of the tattoos, the shops, the designs chosen but nothing about the pain.

My second tattoo was a tribal-style design in black, green and purple on my lower back, they call them trap-stamps these days, I don’t think they did at the time, if so unbeknownst to me. I got it on holiday in Gran Canaria because a girl in the next hotel room really wanted to get a tattoo but was too scared to go alone. She got something similar on her foot and screamed the place down whilst holding my hand so tight I thought the bones would shatter. I remember leaving a wet bum print on the stool I sat on from my still wet bikini. The design was just a flash off the wall, I wonder how many others got that same tattoo? Do they still have it? Do they still love it? The tattoo ended up raised in scars as I disregarded the tattooist’s advice and went swimming in the pool right after having it done.

My third tattoo was another holiday venture, this time in Aiya Napa, Cyprus. The studio was called Alien Nation and I had walked past it every day for two weeks.  On the last day of my holiday the artist was sitting outside sketching tribal designs, I stopped and chatted to him. He altered the design he was working on to fit the curve of my foot. It was beautifully done, sharp and bold. He made me walk home barefoot warning of the damage the strappy wedges I had on would do to my new tattoo

My final tattoos of that time were three clumped together on my right thigh, a string of bad Japanese possibly Chinese, ignorant as I was symbols, a red and orange butterfly and a floral vine. I know that the butterfly and vine were the last but can’t remember where the other came in now. Done by the tattooist who had done my first tattoo, a guy called Buzzard, who I think I had a bit of a crush on due to his tattooed and long haired rough cut image. Nice guy that he was, draw he could not and the tattoos were really only scratcher standard. Patchy, wobbly lined and badly coloured. Did I mention the inaccuracy of the characters? I found that out thanks to the guy down the local take-away. It was meant to spell out my name, but in fact said nothing of any sense – I later would tell people it said ‘Won Ton Soup’.

Roses on foot by Kelly Smith

Anyway the butterfly and vine was another sketch I had drawn myself, again I was disappointed at the badly tattooed result. Yet I lacked the knowledge of how and where to get better tattoos from. As I entered my twenties the tattoos stayed with me, but my desire to seek out more faded. Tattoos were expensive and as a student clothes became my only luxury purchase. I never really thought about my tattoos, every now and again I might get asked about them but that was that. They didn’t bother me, they were just there.

A good while after university I found myself living in Sheffield, to me there seemed to be a new tattoo culture emerging, one where tattoos were pieces of art not small marks collected here and there. I came across some old books on Japanese tattooing and the historical tattooed ladies which captured my imagination and were the first prompt in me deciding to go and get tattooed once more. At first my sole desire was to have the bad Chinese (as it turned out) writing covered up, being surrounded by a lot more international students had made me slightly paranoid about it. The artist I had in mind was booked solid for a whole year, so I left my deposit and embarked on a series of laser removal to fade the tattoos on my thigh before the cover-up started.

Cover up by Paul Goss

I wonder now had I not had to wait for this tattoo would I still have ended up with 50% of my body covered in ink. If I could have had that tattoo right away would that have quashed my desire? Or would I still have been compelled to gain more – most likely. Either way during this time I scoured books, magazines and compiled online searched. Researching styles of tattooing, different artists and the history and meaning behind tattoo symbology. During my waiting time I decided to treat myself to just one more tattoo – at this stage I was still in the mind-set that I would only ever have discrete tattoos. I ended up with a huge Sailor Jerry style wolf head and rose on the back of my left thigh. This was the start of me getting four traditional tattoos by the same artist around that thigh. I can’t tell you when or how exactly my attitude to tattooing and tattooed women changed during that time, but my next stage was to embark on a full Japanese style back piece. I fell in love with the idea of having this vast amount of work invisible to everyone but those I chose to reveal it to.


Cross-Stitch Tattoos by Eva Krbdk

Turkish tattoo artist Eva Krbdk from Daft Art Tattoo creates beautifully crafty cross-stitch tattoos. From up close the designs are made up of tiny crosses, the tiny brightly coloured stitches also look like pixels, but look at the image from a far and you will see a colourful design, much like any cross-stitch embroidery.

Follow her on Instagram for more amazing tattoos

Channel 4 Tattoo Fixers

The new series of Tattoo Fixers on Channel 4 is set in a pop-up tattoo parlour where three tattoo artists transform unwanted and regrettable tattoos. The team work on a mixture of clients who wish to change their embarrassing, badly done, rude and crude tattoos. People come to the studio and show the team the piece that  they want covering, while giving a short brief and each artist draws a tattoo design and the customer picks the one they want to get tattooed.

The team includes:

Jay Hutton who manages his own studio in Cheshire, where he tattoos realism and black and grey work on celebrity clientèle.

The wonderful self-taught Lou Hopper of King of Hearts London, who was one of the artists tattooing at our recent Feminist Flash day.

Sketch who specialises in traditional bold colour tattoos from Reppin Ink London..


Watch the trailer for the programme below.

Missed an episode? Watch the series here.

Please note that this is a blog post about the programme, we are not actually running the shop. Please get in touch with the artists personally if you have any questions.

Image from Tom Barnes


My Anxious Heart Photographic Series

Katie Joy Crawford has created a series of photographs titled My Anxious Heart to capture and expose her struggles with anxiety and depression. 

Katie explains on her blog that:

My Anxious Heart explores and identifies how emotionally and physically depleting general anxiety disorder can be from a personal perspective. As I have carried anxiety for the majority of my life, I’ve chosen to photographically depict this battle and its constant presence. Since it is within my own mind where anxiety is born, I have decided to interpret my roles as both instigator and victim through self portraiture.

Each portrait depicts a part of depression that Katie struggled with, each accompanied by a caption to explain the altering affects of her mental state.

“My head is filling with helium. Focus is fading. Such a small decision to make. Such an easy question to answer. My mind isn’t letting me. It’s like a thousand circuits are all crossing at once.”

“A captive of my own mind. The instigator of my own thoughts. The more I think, the worse it gets. The less I think, the worse it gets. Breathe. Just breathe. Drift. It’ll ease soon.”

“A glass of water isn’t heavy. It’s almost mindless when you have to pick one up. But what if you couldn’t empty it or set it down? What if you had to support its weight for days … months … years? The weight doesn’t change, but the burden does. At a certain point, you can’t remember how light it used to seem. Sometimes it takes everything in you to pretend it isn’t there. And sometimes, you just have to let it fall.”

Follow Katie on Facebook for my photographs and updates on future projects.