Interview with Neil Dalleywater, editor of Tattoo Revolution magazine

Posted: 09/11/2011 in Uncategorized

A new one for this blog, I’m bringing you an interview  😀

Neil has popped up in my blogs over the years here and there, I’ve bumped into him at conventions and snapped the odd picture of his cheerful face, so I thought you’d like to hear from the man himself! He’s kindly humoured me and answered some questions for us, here goes!!

me–Congratulations on being the hard working editor of the UK’s newest tattoo magazine, correct me if I’m wrong, but I would classify your ex-magazine Skin Deep as an entry level, broad based UK tattoo magazine for beginners and the generally curious, as opposed to the more specialized, (maybe nerdy even) publications aimed at the international aficionado market.
Where do you pitch Tattoo Revolution in this, what would you most like your magazine to do? Do you have a mission as such?

ND– I’m not too sure if I should be congratulated; maybe certified more like!
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my job and the craft that I work within (tattooing) but it is extremely hard work, but beats digging a ditch for a living. I feel truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to put TRM together.
We are hoping to offer an alternative to the other tattoo magazines currently available by offering the reader a well-produced and informed tattoo magazine that (excuse the pun) gets under the skin of those wishing to not only celebrate their skin art but to explore the deep meanings and history behind tattooing. We took the decision to make Tattoo Revolution a classy, almost coffee table magazine that gives the reader a whole month’s worth of articles with an emphasis on extremely good photography and editorial content from around the globe. We aren’t afraid of ruffling feathers to spark debate and get conversations flowing within the tattoo community either. It’s good to talk.
I’d like to think that Tattoo Revolution is aimed at those wishing to view and read about tattoos and the craft, where I know other magazines seem to cater for the ‘lowest common denominator’ and are only interested in generating sales by having barely tattooed but scantily clad models on their covers. Our approach won’t make us millionaires but TRM is more about helping to celebrate tattooing, not feeding off of it.

me- -I know you are putting together your first tattoo convention (which I’ll be working at, looking forward to this!) Apart from the obvious question of ‘are you mad, don’t you have enough on your plate as it is’ ; I’m interested in whether this convention is an extension of what you are trying to do with TR or if you just fancy a right good knees up with all your tattoo connections from around the UK 🙂

ND– It’s going to be called the Tattoo Tea Party, are you planning something different from the traditional convention?
Now you know why I don’t have any hair!
The aim and thought process behind The Tattoo Tea Party is to celebrate the UK and Ireland’s rich tattoo history. How many shows have you been to where the organisers fly in big named tattoo stars from abroad and pay for their hotels, travel only to have the UK artists (whom are as equally talented, if not more so in some cases) almost treated as second best and have to pay their own way.
You know that Artists rarely make any money working a convention (closing the studio, hotel costs etc) and I feel that this creates a two-tear system.
Tattoo Tea Party plans to celebrate the British tattoo scene in all its glory and therefore will be only open to studios and artist working in the UK and Ireland. It is also an invite only show so you can be guaranteed of the highest calibre of tattooist attending.
We have an incredibly rich and colourful tattoo history and some amazing talent that can be easily compared to any other artist in the world, so let’s celebrate them at a proper convention!
We have big plans for many attractions and I can announce that UK Rock band; Terrorvision ( will play in the evening creating not only a unique tattoo event but a knock out gig to finish off the Saturday night.
Having been to over thirty shows this year alone, I like to think that I have seen the good and the bad shows, so we aim to make The Tattoo Tea Party a culmination of all the great elements of those good shows. (fingers crossed, haha!)
Go to for more information as we will be updating the site with new features daily.
We have some very unique ideas for the show including the chance to win a collaborative tattoo from Matt “Oddboy” Barratt (Real Art Tattoos, Leicester) and Matt Lapping (Creative Vandals – Hull) to be tattooed at the show. Keep an eye out for this and more tattoo competitions in the next issue of Tattoo Revolution Magazine. (on sale 30th November)

Me–You can be found at all the main tattoo events around the world, you often get asked to judge at the tattoo contests and you photograph thousands of people and their tattoos for your magazine. The amount of tattoos you have seen must be mind boggling.  If anyone is in a position to spot a global trend, it’s you! Is there one? Has something struck you as being ‘the next big thing’?

I think there is a huge and growing interest for the more graphical style of tattoo as done by Simone and Volker of Buena Vista Tattoo club. Also guys like Lionel (Out of Step – France) and Belly are doing this stlye of work. I do remember putting one of Lionel’s Tattoos in a previous mag I worked for about five or six years ago and was universally hated and slagged off for publishing this so-called “childish” style of tattooing. But it seems to be “The” style now…
Colour portraits are still big business but I do think that there are some artists that have nailed this style (Mike DeVries, Cecil Porter, Nikko Hurtado et al) And there are some that clearly should leave this hard to do style to the experts.
Also, I’m seeing a lot of cartoon style work from Matt Lapping & Andy – Creative Vandals, UK, Kelly Dotty – Off the Map Tattoos, Scott Olive – USA,  Jesse Smith – Loose Screw Tattoos, USA, Tanane Whitfield – Studio Evolve, USA are just a few names that spring to mind.

Me–I’ve noticed over the years that tattoos from eastern Europe have a tendency to the softly shaded, monochrome and horror genre, whereas the Us artists like more colourful and chunky comic based art. Do you think this could be mostly down to local fashion and trends or do you view tattoo art as a more deep rooted reflection of a peoples’ history and culture?
How does a convention in the US differ from one in Poland or even Asia?

ND–I get the feeling that the colourful tattoos from the US tend to reflect their positive and upbeat attitudes. Black & Grey horror tattoos also come out of the States but as you say, Eastern Europe seems to have a penchant for this style of tattooing. Could this be due to the social hardships and economic atmospheres that these artists are coming from? I’m not too sure…
I’m am sure that we are seeing an incredible influx of outstanding tattooists appearing from countries such as Poland, Hungary and Russia. These are the guys to look out for at the moment. Many are coming direct from a high end art school backgrounds and are taking to tattooing like duck to water. If you don’t believe me, check out a 21 year-old girl called Katerina ‘Mikky’ Volkova (Bunker Tattoos) from Russia.
Oh my lord, she’s good!

Me– I was interested in your decision to get Tattoo Revolution on the shelves as a paper edition, as opposed to publishing it online. I’m assuming the future of tattoo magazines is not net-based for now, but how do you see the internet and exchange of information affecting the tattoo industry? Do you feel that Facebook, twitter and blogs will have an impact on how the tattoo scene evolves?

ND– TRM was doing well and holding its own as a digital and website paper version but in order to increase sales and attract more advertisers, we felt it was a logical progression to get TRM onto the newsstands here and abroad. This has been a good and bad decision.
Sadly to do this we have to pay each newsagent (WH Smiths, and others) to have shelf space. Not too many realise the hurdles we had to jump and the extortionate amount of money we have to spend to do this each month.
Still, I suppose you have to speculate to accumulate…We have bills to pay but we aren’t greedy and have always promised to give back to the Tattoo community – hence the Tattoo Tea Party.
As for a purely Digital Mag, Well, we have some plans for a FREE, Yup FREE digital magazine soon. This will be available from the TRM website in the not too distant future. (Who needs sleep eh?)

Those who have not seen a copy of TRM can download the first issue for free in either a Mac (App) or a PC (Exe) file and these can be viewed on all smart phones and tablets as can all the digital editions.
We hope that Tattoo Revolution Magazine in Paper and Digital formats will run side by side.
Tattooing is one of the fifth growth markets in the UK, so we at TRM are trying to show this industry in as positive light as we can.

Thanks to Neil for finding the time to chat to us!

  1. Interesting read, been watching TRM on their facebook page for a few weeks now with some very nice artwork on there.

  2. markbinnit says:

    Top stuff! Neil is a pure of heart fella with all our interests at heart…..and he now owes me an Irish coffee for this comment.. 🙂 X

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