Archive for December, 2012

‘The Queen’s Speech’ is obviously a bit of a joke, what I do try and do is to take stock of my journey as an artist, and the end of the year is as good as any to sit and reflect.

2012 has been a busy year for me, for a number of reasons. Above all because of you, dear tattoo fans, who have kept my diary booked for 6 months in advance, with your dedication to getting big pieces and your faith in me as an artist to fulfill those ideas.

For that I am extremely grateful. It has allowed me to concentrate on my chosen style, refine, change and develop some aspects and grow into the subject as I went along.

I am in a position most tattooists dream of, where you as customers mostly give me free reign to draw on you -with just the most general of guide lines only- having faith in my ability as a tattooist and as someone who is able to interpret your tattoo wishes.

It’s quite astonishing if you think about it, I know some of you have met with disbelief from your friends that you just ‘let her do what she wants on you’ when you describe the process of freehand tattooing.

Obviously it’s not ‘just what I want’, I like to have input from the wearer so that I can tailor my ideas to suit the person, I see it as a collaboration between me and the wearer, their ideas and physique. The other ingredient is less tangible and more spur of the moment, impossible to nail down, but it’s what keeps it fresh and different from the last time I did that sort of design.

I have been concentrating on Japanese style work for a few years now, and I’m still in love with it, the way it can flow over the part of the body it fits, the meaning you can attach to it in a historical way and the timeless look of it.

I have noticed myself getting more and more into the flow of the background, I’ve been moving away from the flat, traditional look of Japanese tattoos, and introduced more form and illusion of depth. I’m aware that this might not appeal to everyone, especially those who are looking for a more traditional look to their Japanese tattoos, and on occasions I have recommended a customer visit another artist who can do this style more justice.

What I like to do is plain from my blog, which has been a great tool to share my personal style and bring like-minded customers to me. On occasion, customers have recognised each other from their tattoos featured on my blog, what a wonderful sequence of events 🙂

Another feature of 2012 was the development of my painting. I always considered myself more of a draughtswoman, with an affinity to drawing and design based work, mostly I suppose due to my work as a tattooist-the ultimate design based art form to my mind.

Although tattooing will always be my first love, I have been exploring oil painting in its most traditional approach for the last couple of years, and to my surprise, discovered that it appeals to me than I imagined. My long history of tattooing is still reflected in my painting, with an unfashionable attention to detail and form (in the art world) and narrative, and it’s relatively small dimensions.

One of the things I like about oil painting is that I can be free of the burden that someone will be wearing this for the rest of their lives- I can just chuck the canvas in the bin if I don’t like it- and it allows me to experiment more than would be advisable on skin.

I hope this will help me develop ideas that will work their way back into my tattooing, but at the moment I’m just having too much fun being silly. Who know where the whole painting thing will take me, possibly on a completely different track to tattooing, maybe this time next your I’ll be telling you about my blob of blue paint on a blue background and why it’s going to open your third eye. Ok, maybe not that kind of silly!

A round up of 2012 wouldn’t be complete without a mention of how proud I am of our newest Tribe artists. Tim and lately Nik have worked so hard to become fully fledged tattooists with their own style, they both bring something unique to our team of artists. Our Italian girls Raffi and Bru have immersed themselves in their respective styles and have gained a loyal following, and Alex, Simon and Erik have pushed the envelope in their fields and watched their waiting lists grow.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed; we’ve recently been approached by an American tattoo magazine who wants to features us as a group to show our diversity, it’s great to have such an amazing team of artists around me!

I’m a lucky girl and looking forward to what 2013 has in store  🙂

21st + 22nd december

Posted: 24/12/2012 in Uncategorized

Russel is pretty much done with his lilies piece now, i’d like to see it healed to decide if it needs anything else. Specially if there’s been a fair bit of time between sessions it can be harder to judge the new bits against the completely settled parts done previously

and ross was in, last time he had an epic 7 1/2 hour session, today we ‘just’ did 4

melanie’s backpiece is still in progress, i’m combining two existing pieces, the fairy at the top and a tribal lower backpiece, both of which needed some tlc to make them more attractive. one more wee session and we’re done

Something similar was happening with Steven’s sleeve, he had an existing phoenix and some dragonflies at the top of his arm, a turtle and some writing at the bottom, and he needed to joined up somehow. There was some shading under the phoenix that we needed to run with, but overall i think we’ve managed to pull it all together.

and to go out with a bang, mark and his dragon backpiece were in for a couple of hours of shading, it’s starting to look like a backpiece now!

That’s me finished up for the year, I’m off work for 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS! unheard of !

I will write another blog around Hogmanay, a wee round up of my thoughts about 2012 and plans for 2013. I’ve done this a few times now, and it’s become known as the ‘Queens Speech’, whoever came up with that was probably being cheeky, but it’s stuck now  😆

so, until then

your queen


18th – 20th december

Posted: 21/12/2012 in Uncategorized

brian managed a whole day session, 7hours, phew! but it’s amazing how much you can get done in a solid chink of time like that. this is only his second session, and the first one wasn’t an all dayer. if you can hack it, it’s certainly worth the effort

Peter had a 4 hour session in Glasgow the next day, to start on colour for his flowers, and more shading for the koi

John had decided that he wanted his backpiece to extend onto his legs, and what better way than a nice wriggly octopus  😀
this is John’s first tattoo, I have to keep reminding myself!

Unusually for me I had a full day of work booked on thursday, too, Laura was up from manchester to visit  family, an opportunity to do some more work on her wonderful War of the Worlds/ 50s scifi themed sleeve.
we worked on some background to the destruction on the forearm, and got some of the space added to the background of the nasty octopus, nasty because for some reason laura wanted her octopus to have rows of little teeth  😆

One more session and this will be done, I’ll be working at a convention in manchester in March, and that will be when we do it

and Kevin just had one finishing session to go on his sleeve, it’s a cover up of some old work, but you wouldn’t really know it now.
A big improvement, love it!

and Kevin with his tattoo

15th + 15th december

Posted: 17/12/2012 in Uncategorized

I started 2 new big pieces today, first Kevin was in to get a phoenix on his arm, all black and grey. this is his first tattoo, pretty radical for a first one!

and Greig got a dragon started

in glasgow the next day I worked on Dave’s hell sleeve, we’re adding an eye image to the mix, it’s something he found on the internet and fell in love with. Dave is not like the other boys  😆

Sean had a sleeve based on the artwork on an antique opium pipe from Vietnam. (Cambodia? I forget) he’d decided he’s like the background to be filled with clouds, and a skull and crossbones design added, that he’s spotted in a basilica in Barcelona. Inspiration really does come from the strangest places sometimes!

On sunday we had our annual tribe christmas party, staff from all three shops and their long suffering partners get together for food and drinks, a great opportunity to catch up. Although we all work together, and there is a lot of communication between the shops, months can go past without people actually seeing each other and there is always a lot to talk about  😆]here’s the happy bunch

12th + 13th december

Posted: 13/12/2012 in Uncategorized

Becca had some issues with an existing tribal piece, it didn’t quite flow right and had been added to at various stages by previous tattooists. The main problem was that to fix the tribal itself, we’d need to go much bolder and thicker in an attempt to being some shape back into it, but that wasn’t really what becca was after. So after some deliberation, it was decided to fight fire with fire, and to add some even more detailled pieces, to draw the eye away from the tribal, and simultaneously cover parts of it up, or disguise it at least. We didn’t have much time to tattoo, so we only got one of the flowers done, but the result is definitely heading in the right direction.

Darren got some colour put in his flowers and we shaded the second koi

and Bryan got his sleeve finished. We wanted to incorporate the old tribal piece, not hide it, so we built the rest of the design around it, without making it the centre piece

and Bryan himself  😀

7th + 8th december

Posted: 08/12/2012 in Uncategorized

we’re close to finishing Martyn’s dragon, more shading here and there and some colour in the dragon’s belly scales and the flowers

and then a load of colour for leigh, she’s decided to go all out and get her water in blue, and the gaps filled to make it a full sleeve. Good girl 🙂

on saturday I worked on Brad’s propaganda art concept, finished the star and started on a flag

and last but certainly not least, grant’s piece is now finished 🙂

grant himself, with his tattoo!

and more mug shots, here are Mark and Simon at tribe 2, feeling all festive after putting up the christmas deccies

even the goldfish at Tribe 1 are feeling festive, here they are, arguably looking more intelligent  than mark and Simon in their photo  😆

4th + 5th december

Posted: 06/12/2012 in Uncategorized

two lovely ladies in today, Holly and Emma.
we finsihed Holly’s dragon, it’s unusual in it’s colour and the pale airiness off the background, quite feminine! And you get to see her wearing it, we took a picture through the mirror so that you can see both sides of it (clever! 😆 )

and Emma is getting the background to her tibetan script and seals added, it’s going to be in soft greys to just compliment but not overpower the red ornaments in the foreground

the next day in Glasgow i had a short notice cancellation, it’s neigh impossible to fill these this time of the year, everyone is skint or about to be after doing their christmas shopping, poor mark went through the entire cancellation list but no one was able to make it…

I did have a 4 hour session on Dave’s scottish themed 1/2 sleeve. I forgot to take a photo of it at the last stage, so here’s how far we’ve got now. It’s a fairly random collection of things that dave likes and that mean something to him, done in a style that isn’t really what i usually do. I’m not known for my dense and detailled colour work, but i do enjoy it once in a while.

For those of you who have been following my paintings, I’ve finished the 7 Deadly Sins project, (you can see them on our facebook page) and tomorrow they are going on public display for the first time! I’m excited, I can’t wait to see how they are received by the ‘art wold’- as opposed to us lot on here haha!
They are unconventional in a lot of ways, and I’m sure they will get mixed reviews, but that’s quite ok.
The exhibition they will be in is a joint exhibition of all the tenants of the St Margarets arts complex, where I rent a studio.
there will be an opening on fiday night, and I’m looking forward to it, as there are so many people exhibiting, it should be a good party. Feel free to pop round, there will be wine and nibbles, etc. (link below)
I’m also selling prints of the Sins, if you are interested in one, just get in touch with the studio


we finished Andy’s dragon!  😀
here it is, unfortunately I must have forgotten to photograph Andy for the finshed portrait! His profile is a bit visible in one of the shot, I’m afraid that will have to do. oops.

and Murray had a short session to get a bull surrounded by fire, the next element of his 4 elements composition. We did swallows in the wind last week
bad photos I’m afraid, didn’t get the lighting right for this

the next day I started a koi half sleeve, it’s covering an old piece that had been lasered a fair bit to make it a doddle to cover

and then I got stood up….