Tagged: Things and Ink

Long Term Illness and Tattoos

Our guest blogger is illustrator and crafter Rachel Rawlings, creator of Rachel Vs Body blog. On her blog Rachel writes  about her various chronic conditions and how they affect her life and have changed how she experiences the world. In this post she talks about her tattoos and how they help her to regain control of her body… 

The human body is an interesting thing. Take mine, for example. In 2012, I was in my final year of studying for my illustration degree, working as a healthcare assistant in my spare time, spending most evenings in the week cooking and hanging out with my friends and coursemates. I was 20 and everything was – for the most part – working fine. But then, I got sick.

It was just a virus to start off with, but over time, I didn’t get better. I was constantly in pain; I felt dizzy at the smallest motion; food became my greatest enemy, triggering nausea and cramps at the most pathetic nibble; my concentration was shot; walking became something akin to climbing mount Everest; and, above all, I was EXHAUSTED. Not tired; not fatigued; not sleepy or dozy; but that all consuming physical exhaustion that you get when you’ve had a particularly bad bout of flu. I was diagnosed with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and P.O.T.S (postural tachycardia syndrome) on top of my existing health conditions (chronic migraine, IBS, eczema, eczema herpeticum and asthma), and three and a half years on I’m still undergoing tests to see what’s making me so unwell.

Moth by Paul Davies at Loki Ink, Plymouth

Things got progressively worse, and these days I can’t work or study as I’m mainly confined to my bed (although on good days I make it to my living room); I use a powered wheelchair ( or crutches if I’m feeling particularly perky) to get around because walking is so difficult; I’ve lost a lot of friends who can’t figure out how to cope with me being poorly. Trying to be well is my full time occupation.

With my body failing me in such an extravagant fashion, there is one thing that makes me feel like I have some modicum of control over it; getting tattooed. I got my first one in early 2014 while I was doing my MA and had been sick for a couple of years. It’s a small deathshead moth on my wrist done by Paul at Loki Ink in Plymouth, a subject matter I chose because of its connotations of transformation and freedom.

Connor Tyler at Joker Tattoo, Portsmouth

Getting tattooed is a bit of an ordeal for me. The actual tattooing is fine – I’m very lucky to have a high pain threshold (pain holds very little fear for someone on painkillers as strong as the ones I’m on) so I can sit under the needle for hours without it bothering me. The issue is everything else.

First off, I have to get to the place – which is hard. I usually only leave the house once a week, twice if I’m lucky, and always with someone else (it’s not safe for me to go out alone), so the logistics of organising that can be tough.

Then, getting there, I have to deal with the sensory overload of a place full of people and buzzing machines and music; with M.E., your senses are often in an extremely heightened state and any noise, light, touch can be excruciating. The noise is a particularly tough one for me as I get migraines and tinnitus, so I have to really prepare myself for the aural onslaught of a tattoo shop.

Chrissy Hills at Kingston Ink

Having to sit or lie in one position really still is hard for anyone, but when you get muscle spasms and convulsions on top of chronic pain, it can be … interesting for all involved. P.O.T.S causes tachycardia, dizziness and blackouts if you’re upright for too long, so I have to be in a position which is safe for my particular conditions. I have to bring my medicines, lots of water, layers of clothes, my walking aids, ear plugs, sunglasses, a whole bunch of nonsense just to get through the session. After a tattoo, I’m always in agony – but the tattoo itself isn’t the problem, the joint and muscular pain incurred is.

It took me a while to draw up the courage to get tattooed – not because of the pain (note the aforementioned painkillers), but because I was scared of doing something so permanent to myself. But my body was already permanently altered from the way it should be, so that was no longer an excuse. I was scared that people would judge me on sight – but if you’re a twenty-something having to use a wheelchair or crutches, people give you some odd looks anyway. So, sod it, I thought – let’s give them something to stare at.

Marcelina Urbańska, Rock’n’Ink, Krakow

It seems like a lot to go through just to get an image on my skin, but for me it’s worth it. After feeling like my body had turned traitor, I have taken back the reins and forced it into a form which makes me happy. Sure, I may be covered in scars, a bit chubby from the medication, pale as death and with eyes like pissholes in the snow, but I’m still in control of how my body looks – on a superficial level, at least. Tattoos have helped me accept the changes that have been forced upon me by letting me shape the way I look, even if I’m powerless to control the way my body works. There’s a lot to be said for a needle and ink and the power of positive thought – it might not make the crippled walk, but it can damn well make us feel good sitting down.

Miniature Ink II

Miniature Ink II kewpie by Jondix sneak peek

ATOMICA GALLERY AND THINGS&INK MAGAZINE PRESENT:
‘MINIATURE INK II’
OPENING NIGHT: WEDNESDAY 23rd SEPTEMBER 2015

Atomica Gallery and Things&Ink magazine are delighted to announce Miniature Ink II, the second exhibition featuring miniature original artworks from over 100 of the world’s leading tattoo artists.

Join us for the opening reception on Wednesday 23rd September (exact location to be revealed soon) with complimentary drinks kindly provided by Sailor Jerry.

Rsvp@atomicagallery.com, or attend our Facebook event.

There will be no preview list of artworks, first come first served!

MORE INFORMATION AND ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON…

Have a look at last year’s celebrity and cocktail filled Miniature Ink opening night.

Keep an eye on the #MinitaureInk and #MiniatureInkII hashtags for more kewpie capers.

Check out what some of the artists have been up to on Instagram…

@iris_lys

ir

@lalhardy

lah@sadeeglover

gl

 Top image by James Stittle

Focus Group: Tattoo Spotting

Last night we had a focus group in London to find out what our readers love and don’t love about Things&Ink magazine. We met these three lovely ladies who shared their opinions about our articles, layout and, of course, tattoos! There are lots of exciting changes ahead for Things&Ink

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Above from left: Columnist ReeRee Rockette, editor Alice Snape, editorial assistant Rosalie Woodward and our three panel members… 

We couldn’t resist the opportunity to street spot and chat tattoos to our panel members…

Name: Emma Age: 27 Lives: London  Job: Photograph researcher for Merlin
Tattoo: Skull by Ray Hunt at Diablo Tattoo in Kent

street

 

Name: Laura Age: 40 Lives: Maidstone, Kent  Job: Dinner lady/ toddler rugby coach
Tattoo: Abi Cornell at Inkfish in Maidstone
street2

 

Name: Silvia Age: 24 Lives: London Job: Digital marketing executive
Tattoo: Lady by Angelique Houtkamp at Salon Serpent Tattoo in Amsterdam
street4

If you have any suggestions or comments about the magazine get in touch, email us at hello@thingsandink.com

Burning Desire: Body Branding

Burning Desires is a short film created by Channel 4 that follows tattoo enthusiast Kerri as she has traditional Viking runes (letters) burned/branded onto her skin. ‘Burning Desires’ sits within a Body Mods C4 shorts series, which also features other forms of body modification including ear pointing and corset piercings.

Kerri chose the designs based on her fascination with Viking travellers and the way that they marked their skin. The runes, representing love and victory, are burned onto her skin with 500C-700C heat.

Watch the video below to see Kerri’s whole scarification experience:

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: The Cost of Permanence

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 and second posts in the series. 

Aren’t you worried how dated your wedding photos will look when you’re older? How can you justify spending all that money on your wedding when there are starving children in the world? Don’t you think it’s a bit selfish getting married when some people who are still single might get upset about it? You’re wearing a red wedding dress, wow you must be a slut!? No men will ever find you attractive once you’ve gotten married. How on earth will you get a job after you are married, employers will just think you’re unreliable and unprofessional – needing all that time off to have babies!?

Be honest, you would never, ever say any of those things to a bride. Getting married is often an expensive affair that will change you and impact the rest of your life by a means of permanence. I use the wedding analogy as I and many other tattooed women face this strange barrage of questions on a regular basis. Yet there is no shame, no recognition that doing so is rude and insulting.

Backpiece by  Tacho Franch

Aren’t you worried what you will look like in your wedding photos with all those tattoos when you are older? How can you justify spending all that money on tattoos when there are starving children in the world. Don’t you think it’s a bit selfish getting tattooed when so many people are offended by them? You have tattoos, wow you must be a slut! No men will ever find you attractive once you’ve gotten heavily tattooed. How on earth will you get a job once you have visible tattoos, employers will just think you’re unreliable and unprofessional – scaring off all the customers!

It’s a given that people will be curious towards those of us who are tattooed, those who choose to go past the holiday dolphin on the ankle and cover a large part of our skin with ink. Most questions come from an innocent mouth, intrigued rather than insulting yet producing that result all the same. I’ve had a woman chase me down the street and try to lift up the back of my shorts to see a Sailor Jerry style wolf on the back of my thigh. When I turned around to give her a mouth-full I saw she was with her two young children so I bit my tongue and answered her question as to where I had gotten it done – how she could tell it was a good tattoo from the miniscule part of it that was on show I’ve no idea.

Wolf by Kelly Smith

By far my worst experience was a group of guys at a crowded bar talking loudly about my back piece as I stood in front them. I’d left the girls to guard our seats and battled to the bar for a round, suddenly I felt very alone. The bar was jam packed so I couldn’t escape and resigned myself to listening to them mutter, when one managed to saddle up beside me ‘that’s a big tattoo’ he yelled, ‘how far down does it go’ and he proceed to try and pull down the back of my dress. I couldn’t tell you what I said but luckily it was loud enough for the bar security to drag him out. ‘Bloody hell he didn’t mean any harm’ I heard his mates protest on the way out. Harm meant or not, it was caused, I’m now wary of going out at night with my back piece on display without my boyfriend. Anyone trying to pull down the dress of a non-tattooed girl would have been accused of sexual harassment. Us tattooed girls are tough, we spend hours upon hours having needles sunk into our skin, but experiences like that would upset anyone.

On a lighter note there are of course the ridiculous questions which can only be met with an entertaining answer. How much did your tattoos cost, how can you afford it? Oh I get paid extremely well from my high profile job – OMG yes tattooed people can have careers too. We also save up our hard earns just like people save up for a car, a holiday, a designer handbag. Why the choice to decorate your body with tattoos is still such an enigma for some I cannot answer, but I sure do enjoy a good witty comeback story!

Create a life you love with Sarah Starrs

Sarah is a 27-year-old writer, coach and creator of SarahStarrs a Punk Rock Personal Development blog. We chatted to her about her journey of self-love, achieving your goals and her beautiful tattoo collection… 

Can you tell me a little about your blog and what people can find on it? You can find my blog at SarahStarrs.com, where I help women get their shit together & create a life they love. I mainly write about self-love, personal development, lifestyle design, creativity, and achieving your dreams. I believe that it’s absolutely possible to achieve your big goals and that it all starts with learning to adore yourself. But this doesn’t happen by sitting idly by and wishing for good things to happen. I show people how to get down and dirty with the universe to make magical things happen. But you have to do the work. That’s why I call it “punk rock personal development.” I’m launching a podcast with that name on 14th August, which I’m very excited about!

How did you become a blogger? I’ve been writing online in one form or another since I was a preteen – I had Angelfire, Geocities, Livejournal, Myspace, etc. My current website, SarahStarrs.com, was born out of my old website The Laughing Medusa, which I launched in 2011. I started blogging that time around out of a kind of necessity. I felt really stuck and strangled in my job as a magazine editor. I was longing for a creative outlet and editorial freedom, so I decided to start a blog. At the same time I was undergoing a lot of personal transformations as I learned about personal development and got into healthy eating, so my online space became a place for me to explore these new interests. It began more or less as a personal/lifestyle blog, but has evolved a lot over time to become the business and resource it is today.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I’m most inspired by people who are balls to the wall following their passions and going after their dreams in an unconventional way. A lot of my writing is inspired by the things I learn from these types of people, as well as my own experiences learning to transform my life. But, as cliche as it sounds, I find that inspiration can spring from anywhere: a great conversation, an interesting film, a beautiful pattern, catchy lyrics… anything that catches my attention and gets me to look at things in a new way.

You are an advocate for self love and following your dreams how did this come about? Oddly enough, it started in a university philosophy class about existentialism. People know me as a positive, upbeat person who gets an idea and runs with it, but I wasn’t always like this. In truth, I used to be a bit of a neasayer. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression all of my life, but I also just didn’t think the things I wanted were possible for me. I let fear rule my decisions for a long time. Existentialism is based on the idea that all of us is radically free. We all face limitations imposed on us by physical realities, our histories, material circumstances, etc. But we’re always free to choose our actions and reactions. And that’s who we are: the product of our choices and actions.

That really struck a chord with me. To be honest, I resisted the whole thing at first. It’s hard to accept that our destiny is in our own hands. It’s a lot of pressure! Around the same time that I was taking this course, I started delving into the world of personal development, reading bloggers like Gala Darling and Alexandra Jaye Johnson. I saw a lot of similarities between the concepts of self-love and existentialism – namely an emphasis on personal responsibility and taking control of your own life. I started incorporating the things I was learning into my life and my mindset started to shift. As it did, it was like my whole world started opening up. Not all at once, but slowly I started to take risks because I knew I had to take complete responsibility for my life. The things I want were possible and it would be my choice if I denied myself them. Since then I’ve focused on making bold, sparkly choices and intentionally designing my life.

Has it taken you a while to love yourself? Do you have any advice for readers? I like to make it really clear that I am not finished learning to love myself; I do not have it all figured out. Self-love is a lifelong journey. I still have my bad days when my inner critic gets the best of me or I start comparing myself to other people and I want to give up on everything. I still struggle with my mental health and have dark periods that are difficult to crawl out of. The difference is that I now have a toolbox of strategies, practices, rituals, and mindsets that help me navigate those times with love and kindness for myself. Those are the things that I want to teach people. I know now that my mind can play tricks on me and my thoughts are not always real, but I have the ability to choose a more loving thought.

I’ve created a whole course on starting your self-love journey but if you’re looking for a simple place to start, I would look at incorporating some simple mindfulness techniques into your daily routine. I’m working on a post about this right now but a simple way to start doing this is just a spend a couple of minutes connecting with your breath and noticing your thoughts, perhaps labeling them as “planning,” “worrying,” etc. and then letting them float away. As you practice, you’ll strengthen your ability to clear your mind and you’ll gain more control over your thoughts. I’d also recommend either writing down the things you’re happy and excited or grateful for or just taking note of them mentally. It’s a great practice to do first thing in the morning and before you go to bed, so you’re starting and ending each day filled up by the good things in your life.

What first steps did you take to achieve your goals? I’m still very much in the process of achieving my goals, but I guess the first step was learning to put myself out there. It can be so difficult to share your dreams or your creative work when you’re so far from where you want to be, but that’s the only way that you’ll learn and grow. You have to take action or your dreams are just fantasies. When I started blogging, the work I was putting out there was so reiterative and my inspirations were so obvious. I had to write myself into my voice and find my unique message, but if I hadn’t put that early writing out there, I never would have gotten to where I am today.

Can you tell us a bit about the courses you have on offer? I offer a self-guided ecourse called Romance Yourself: A 40-Day Journey to Self-Love. I think of it as the guiding hand, encouraging voice, and kick in the ass I wish I’d had when I started my self-love journey. Self-love is pivotal to living the life of your dreams, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Romance Yourself will show you the way. The course provides a daily practice for you to start cultivating that feeling of love for yourself as well as daily insights and exercises to start exploring your thoughts and beliefs and creating a practice that is unique to you.

For anyone who’s feeling a little bit lost, I also have a free Define Your Dreams workbook to help start creating some clarity around your goals and what you want your life to look like. It’s completely free and you can download it from my website.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my new course, The Daydream Revolution, which is by far my biggest and best offering yet. It’s an 8-week course on achieving your dream and making big shit happen. If you have a bigger-than-life idea, whether it’s starting a business or going on an international adventure, or anything in between, but can’t seem to make it happen, this is for you. Through the course we’ll overcome resistance, tackle your fears, and drag your big dream into reality. At the end of the course you’ll walk way with a detailed action plan, a clear picture of how you can afford your dream, and the tools to stay motivated. Registration isn’t open yet, but if you hop over to my website and sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be the first to know when it does + you’ll get an exclusive discount.

What was your first tattoo? How old were you and do you still like it? What do you think about tattoo regret?  My first tattoo is a line of text that says “Dance like nobody’s watching” in my own handwriting around my wrist. I was 19; I got it for my birthday. It’s not my favourite tattoo but it’s unobtrusive and it’s part of my story. It’s not the quote I would be most drawn to now but it sums up my personal philosophy of living life on your own terms and always being true to who you are.

I think tattoo regret is part and parcel of being a tattooed person, the way I sometimes wake up and absolutely hate my hair, some days I wish I could wake up and erase one of my tattoos. But I’ve never experienced any lasting regret about any of my tattoos. I plan to be more or less covered in ink, so if I end up with a tattoo that I’m no longer wild about, it won’t stand out that much in the bigger picture of the canvas that is my body. And they’re all part of my story.

Which is your favourite tattoo? Do any of them have a special meaning?
All of my tattoos have some sort of special meaning attached to them, even if it’s just an association with a particular time in my life. If I had to narrow it down to my favourites, they’d be my chest piece which was done by Jessi James in Newbury. It represents self-love and personal transformation. And also the rose and bee on my knee by Cassandra Frances; I plan on getting the other one done to match. That tattoo was born out of a silly conversation with my friend about being “the bee’s knees” but I absolutely adore it.

Do you have any future tattoo plans? Are there any artists you admire? I want almost my entire body tattooed, but I like to think of it as a collection and I’m happy to curate it slowly as I can afford to get the work I want. I’m particularly keen to get pieces from Tiny Miss Becca, Emily Rose Murray, Rebecca Vincent, Peter Aurish, Danielle Rose, and Antony Flemming.

How would you describe your fashion style?
I describe it as technicolour punk rock chic! I’m a big fan of bright colours, fit & flare dresses, vintage silhouettes, statement jewellery, & motorcycle boots.

Tattoo inspired art: Alisha Murray

Alisha Murray is a 28-year-old freelance artist from Metro Detroit, Michigan. We chatted to Alisha to find out more about her tattoo inspired illustrations, her own tattoos and she has also created an original piece inspired by Things&Ink magazine.  

Do you have a background in art? Yes, I have been doing art since a very young age. It evolved as I got older and better, and even branched into crochet and the culinary arts. Ultimately, traditional artwork is the most rewarding to me. Most of the techniques I’ve learned over the years are from trial and error, but I also learned some of the fundamentals through elementary to high school, but I never went to college for it.

Where do you get your inspiration? Inspiration comes from all places. Lately tattoos both modern and traditional have been a great source of inspiration. I  get a lot of inspiration from the walls of tattoo shops. I have always been drawn to flash art since I was a kid. My grandfather had some ink from the Navy and it always fascinated me and made me want to create similar pieces. As I got old enough to get tattooed, I really paid attention to details of pieces whether American Traditional or Traditional Japanese pieces. They are both styles I admire very much.

How would you describe your style? Most of my newer pieces are a fusion of tattoo flash and hand gestures. I really enjoy making hand gestures that aren’t very politically correct, but still have beautiful tattoos. It’s amazing how much people accept and appreciate some of my more obscene pieces. It makes me happy to know people are just as weird as I am. There are many tattoo artists that create beautiful hand gestures on flesh and I hope I’m doing them right on paper.

Are there any artists that you admire and that influence your work? There are so many amazing artist out there that I admire, such as Bryn Parrot and Liz Clements. Others such as Garth Hixon, Daniel Cotte, Iris Lys, Drew Linden, Anna Sandberg, and Gareth Hawkins have inspired and impacted my work immensely. Every day I see new work from these amazing tattoo artists and I can’t help but be inspired. Their talents make me want to better my work and my knowledge of the tattoo culture.

What medium do you use? I use many different mediums, but I mostly use pen and ink mixed with digital for my hand gestures. I line everything out and finish the background on Photoshop to give it a clean solid colour. Once in a while I’ll use ink and nib with liquid acrylic and watercolour to practice my line work.

Do you have tattoos? Do they have a personal meaning to you? I have many tattoos. I can’t really count them any more. I’m completely solid from my neck to my knees with traditional Japanese pieces. From under my knees down I have some American traditional pieces that I have created or my artist has. I’ve always wanted a full body suit and I’ve been working on it since I turned 18. I always embraced my grandmothers Japanese heritage and was raised learning some of the traditions. Most of these pieces I have are based on Japanese folklore monsters. I always loved the stories behind the mythology of Yurei and how each Provence has different adaptations of them. I knew it was taboo to get ink and be completely covered in tattoos, but I can’t imagine anything more beautiful that someone could do to their own body. It’s definitely the only body enhancement I will partake in. I also have matching tattoos with my husband of our two dogs that I designed. Definitely the biggest matching tattoos I’ve seen. Garth Hixon of Village Tattoo in Romeo, Michigan is the artist behind 99% of my existing body suit.

Where can people buy your art? My art can be purchased at a couple of online stores such as society6.com/alishaannredbubble.com/people/aamurray, and my very own website, scoobtoobins.com. Society6 and Redbubble also carry my work on apparel, bedding, and more.

Ilaria Pozzi – tattooed model and muse

Ilaria Pozzi is a model, a muse and so much more. In photographs we see her portrayed as a woman, who is obviously tattooed, but that it not what stands out the most. The way that she can show her audience more than one person, more than just one facet in a two dimensional photo, is inspiring. The emotions that Ilaria can project hits the observer in so many different ways, meaning that she can be numerous people at any one time. 

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to her about the tattoos on her body and the emotions connected to her photo shoots…

Which photo would you choose to introduce yourself to those who do not know you? The one above. Titled ‘Almost Blue’ by Francesco Tretto. 

Was your first love tattoos or photography? What is the relationship/connection you see between the one and the other? They both are two forms of art expressed through images, the mean of communication with which I have always had more affinity. They are often linked artistically but in my opinion their relationship is, above all, a huge historical and cultural value. The first memories I have are about photography. I remember that my grandfather took pictures of me in his garden.

 Mira Nedyalkova

Beauty is fragility. Beauty, however, is also strength. What is your concept of beauty?  For me, it’s uniqueness. I usually find beautiful what is outside the box, that is not how it should be or as you do not expect.

What emotional impact does getting a new tattoo have for you? How do you feel after a photo shoot? I choose to get tattooed because it makes me feel good. I am happy after every tattoo. After a photo shoot I feel different emotions, depending on the type of work and the team. I can be excited, stressed, calm, etc.

Ilaria’s favourite photo by Mira Nedyalkova

In many of your works we see you are almost or completely naked. What is your idea of intimacy? To me the moments of my private life are intimate, my thoughts and my feelings. As those who wear a uniform at work, I can be naked or I wear clothes that I will not use in my private life.

You cannot separate the body from the soul. True or false? False. There are two distinct realities: the physical one, which has a structure inherently mathematical, determines every physical process, chemical or biological. And there is psychic reality, that generates feelings and thoughts and that transcends the laws of physics.

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

A photo, a memory, can often become a tattoo. Those who photograph you also capture your life and your memories. How does this make you feel? I believe that, whenever you portray a tattooed or not tattooed person, you always capture their history, life and memories, etched on the face, the body or in the eyes. Yes, I can feel vulnerable, but if I have faith in who is behind the camera, that doesn’t happen.

Which are the tattoos you are more connected with? And the artists you admire the most? I am attached to all of them, because they were made by friends who are also artists I really admire. Here are some: Stefano Prestileo (who also tattooed my back piece) Carlo FastColors, Krooked Ken to name just a few.

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

How do you feel when it’s you behind the camera? I like to be able to observe and capture what I see as I see it. In a simple yet direct way, I can create an image from my point of view, always having a lot of respect for who or what I’m observing.

Do you have any ideas for your next tattoo? I should colour the snakes on my head, done by Stefano Prestileo, and I was also thinking to get a duck on my left foot!

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

Interview with tattoo artist: Johnny Gloom

Johnny Gloom is a 23-year-old tattoo artist who works out of a private studio in Paris. Here at Things&Ink we are memorised by Johnny’s simple, yet elegant style and her sophisticatedly seductive women have captivated us. We chatted to Johnny to find out how she became a tattooist and what inspires her…

How long have you been tattooing? One year.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have a background in art? Not really, I was studying communication and advertising in Paris, but it was the wrong direction for me. One day I fell in love with tattoos. I now find myself here in the world of tattoos.

How would you describe your style? I don’t know actually. Minimalist and black.

What inspires you? Absolutely everything inspires me, but mostly emotions. I’m very sensitive to my own emotions. We are all humans and we have common emotions, if it’s about me, someone else too. Love, hate, violence, passion, sex.  Love is the burden of humanity, everyone recognizes it.

What is it about women that means you to chose them as a subject?
I love women, they are the most beautiful things I think. I particularly like Parisian girls, I find them very elegant. I love watching them, their positions, their hands, how they smoke cigarettes, and when they are sad.

Do you admire other artists? Are you influenced by any? I admire lot of artists and tattoos artists. But I try to be influenced by artists who don’t create or have tattoos,  for example photographers Helmut Newton, Steve Klein and Guy Bourdin. They make things that are different.

Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? Maybe, I have planned nothing. I salvage and I love my freedom.

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.