UNDER THE SKIN MAGAZINE
Edition 2 november 2013
EDgAr IvANOv DAVe BARRY Tim & Jordan Croke DAMIAN CAIN MARK BOYLE MR DIST Nick & Rachel Baldwin ASH Harrison DRIS DONNELLY full on ink Dr Rev bloodpainter
Convention Coverage - Galway Terror Tales Women with sleeves Eight pages of realism tattooed skin museum butch patrick AKA eddie munster Graffiti Artist - Spa rock Sam Boyce on Apprenticeships
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UNDER THE SKIN MAGAZINE
Edition 2 november2013
What the hell went on with edition one? It was like a batman POW!*$*! We gathered a massive following far faster than we expected and totally exceeded the team’s expectations. Thank you all so much. Well this edition is a dark one as it is that beautiful spooky season commonly known as Halloween. The time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows) martyrs, and all the departed. So we have collected all the dark, the spiritual, the sinister fiction and some questionable practices of long ago. Our cover is by Dave Barry a gentleman from a very spiritually rich place, Cork in the Rep of Ireland. From Celtic myths and the druid’s altar to the great famine of 1845 it all happened in Cork. The interview with Dave and images of his work portray such powerful spirituality. Through this edition it has strengthened my belief that the non-mainstream artists are under represented by tattooing publications and pushed somewhat into their own little culture. Ash Harrison, now come on, how has this man not been interviewed before? He is brilliant and such a nice fella. Shame on you long standing magazines and ner ner na ner ner.. I interviewed him first. It is not every day you are given the opportunity to work with someone whose mind truly leaves you questioning. My friend Nigel Kurt (a man that I admire so much) has described this gent as “The most fascinating artistic mind on the internet”. We have a gallery this edition on Rev Mayers and then each subsequent edition of the mag will include a column on his own views, words and reasoning. For any not familiar with Rev, he is an artist that uses his own blood to paint with. Have a look in the gallery and decide for yourself before you think eeeew…. Open your mind and think a little differently. Rev Mayer is such an amazing addition to the magazine. We are all humbled to have him on our team. Why do I enjoy interviewing creative arty folk so much? In short creative people fascinate me. It is only through real exploration of the passion of people that we can ever truly understand art. The mainstream media tells people what to think and creates a false stereotypical views. Asking simple honest questions often gives honest answers such as “When I am tattooing it feels like I am just me” (Damian Cain) and “I suffer from anxiety so I find working conventions really hard” ( Dris Donnelly) Talking of mainstream media… tut tut Did they really believe we would let it slip when a journalist claimed that a woman with tattoo sleeves was M..M..m manly? Hell No! We sexy sassy ladies can be whatever we want to be and if we decide to be super classy in a frock then I will take this journalist and smack his arse as classy as I can manage! Lee Sweet Molly Malone waves her fist at him in this edition, and no it is not an open letter, had enough of them lately, YAWN www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 2
Living in a house of Monsters in America must have been a great childhood experience. Check out gorgeous green child Eddie Munster’s interview. You know what? I am not even half way through telling you what else we have in this edition. My excitement written down would have no punctuation, no paragraphs and would just about include a space for breathing; I am THE small annoying child you dread who talks so much. That can be a powerful tool when you love what you do it then moves from being a job to being a quest to learn more, you then share what you know. I‘m learning all the time about tattoo history but I do know a man that is very well known for his tattoo history knowledge, Paul Sayce. If he does not know about it, then it never happened. We are EXTREMELY honoured to welcome Paul to Under the skin. He is one of the foremost experts on tattoo history and in the Guinness Book Of Records for his immense collection of tattoo memorabilia. Paul is a walking encyclopaedia of facts, information and fantastic stories of times gone by. Talking of facts, did you know that the scary looking dude at Full on Ink with the tattoo on his head, Mark Joslin loves a cuddle? Aww, me neither but after reading their interview I am sure you will agree it is a studio of funny, talented and genuinely nice people. Edition Two has been a learning curve whilst being a pleasure for us, we want to do our best to show you the readers the passion that exists with the tattoo community. If you have any news as a studio, please let us know about it. If someone is having a baby, getting married, moving studios or even if you are just looking for a new artist, we can share the news for you. You can find some of our team at the Halloween Bash so be sure to say hello. Any funny photos, stories to share then tell me. My next big one is Brighton Tattoo Convention, I will be reporting back all that I find there and sitting off on Brighton beach with sand between my toes, a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock and a huge smile. Under the SKIN2
Contents...... Artist Profiles Edgar Ivanov 4 Dave Barry 8 Tim & Jordan Croke 14 Ash Harrison 30 Damian Cain 48 Mark Boyle 52 Henry‘Mr Dist’ Pyykko 56 Dris Donnelly 62 Nick & Rachel Baldwin 72 Full on Ink 82
Galleries Realism & Portraits Dr Rev Bloodpainter
Features Every Picture Tells A Story 44 This is Not 67 Butch Patrick AKA Eddie Munster 68 Spa Rock – Graffiti Artist 72 Sam Boyce on Apprenticeship 76 Mockery of Women with Tattoos 78 Terror Tales – Kitty wants a Hitty 88 Convention Coverage – Galway 92 Art Immortalised – Paul Sayce 96 Pagan Pride – Luxury Stranger 100
Cover Artwork by David Barry Contributors: Ness Hay Kate Sheard Ant Nicholls Chris 51 Wayne Simmons Paul Sayce Lee Sweet Molly Malone Simon Bell Sam Boyce Under The Skin 70 Lime St Liverpool L1 1JN
Please do not submit originals we cannot return them to you, also please ensure that you have any necessary copyright clearance to submit material as in the event of a dispute you will be held accountable. In submitting items to Under the Skin magazine for publication you are accepting that they will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright and may be subject to editing and further editorial. In addition may be used in further articles and marketing activity. Whilst we endeavour to check the accuracy of articles, adverts and submissions we will not be responsible for errors or omissions. Nor do any articles, adverts or other materials included within Under the Skin Magazine carry any implied recommendation or endorsement by Under the Skin Magazine. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily the views of Under the Skin Magazine. To submit items for consideration please use the online form at www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk. www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Under the SKIN3Page 3
EDGAR IVANOV Old London Road Tattoos 37 Old London Road Kingston-Upon-Thames Surrey KT2 6ND 0208 549 4705 www.oldlondonroad.co.uk
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Interview: Ness Hay
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Latvian born Edgar is now based in London. He is a tattooist that could be used as an example of how black and grey should be done. Tones, highlights and perfect soft shading make Edgars work so awe-inspiring. Edgar calls his style “pseudo-realism”, which is a realistic image but with a twist of his own.
ell me a little bit about your art, what styles, reference materials, mediums do you prefer?
I have always been into photography so my art has been heavily influenced from real life photos most of the time. I think that art style is an ever-changing thing which is acquired through practice and time. I found from years of trial and error I think I have developed a style that suits and works the best for me. I call it “pseudo-realism”, which is a realistic image but with a twist of my own. I prefer my art to be very bold and dynamic, a lot of contrast but still a huge amount of detail. The variety in designs given to me by clients provides me with a chance to grow and learn new things. I also like to paint and use the airbrush whenever I get the chance, but skin is still my preferred medium of all.
You where born in Cesis, Latvia, did you learn art and tattooing here or there? Are you from an art education background? I don’t have an education in arts whatsoever. I am a selftaught artist, and I prefer it to be that way as I think that is how you get original and follow your own style. However, I speak for myself, not for all artists. For me the best school is experience. I remember drawing all time from very early age, from doodles in school to airbrushed walls later. My Dad used to draw very well, so I think it’s some of his genes. He
used to show me how to draw and also how much passion goes into it. Although I was only a little stupid kid at that time I was smart enough to understand how important it is to have passion in what you do. I think if you give your all to what you love and work hard for it then it will work even without expensive schools and classes…Practice!!!!!!!
How did you find yourself within the tattooing profession? My Dad had some old tattoos from the army; he is my hero so I copied him as much as I could. I used to draw tattoos on my arms and go to school with them. Not long after I was drawing on everybody in my class. This resulted in me getting my first self-made machine and doing some horrible stuff to my friends,hahah!! At that time in Latvia, there was no way I could get an apprenticeship, or any other type of help, so “mother google” it was! After a while I started to work in a small tattoo shop and that is where I got all my important knowledge of sterilized equipment and slowly started to learn the basics of how to produce my art on skin. Not long after I moved to London where finally found myself and my style of art. I am blessed with my family as they always stood by my side in everything and only thanks to them I’m here today! Oh-and I reworked and covered up all of those old army tattoos on my Dad.
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Artist Profile What/who inspired you within your art work? There’s too many to name! Nowadays the information is so huge and there’s so much to learn that I can’t see a limit! I’m a big fan of Caravaggio. His use of light and black is just phenomenal and I find this type of shading to work very well in tattooing. I do tend to look at many artists work to see if I can learn something new. Aside from the influence in the actual craft, working and being surrounded by people with a lot more art and life experience than me is helping a lot!
Do you appreciate art upon canvas/paper? Who is your favourite artist? As I mentioned Caravaggio is a huge influence to me. Not only him, but many of The Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries are amazing. I’m lucky to live in London which houses the National gallery which I visit a lot. I think every tattoo artist should look at the old masterpieces as they tell so much.
Your work is amazing, some breathtaking black and grey pieces in your portfolio. Why black and grey? Do you not like colour pieces? Thanks!! Yes, I do prefer grayscale tattoos, the more difficult, the better. The variation in light and shadow is very important with black and grey tattoos. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I love my tattoos to be dynamic and bold so backgrounds have to be the really dark and have contrast with the light tones. It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience and sometimes it’s even harder than the same image in colour. There’s a timeless quality to black and grey that colour can rarely achieve. The demand for grayscale work is huge and I have a lot of friends who are better than me at colour tattoos so I leave it to them. Maybe it will change one day, but for now I black and grey is my favourite.
You have your own tattoos upon your body; tell me about your favourite, who is the artist? What inspired that work? I have a lot of dark imagery on me, a lot of skulls and monsters, no meaning to them though, I just always have been on the darker side,hahah! My favourite tattoos must be the names of my Mum and Dad on my head and the portrait of my other half. A lot of my tattoos are unfinished and I would love to have more work on them but you know how it is, always crave for a new one.
Anything you would like to add? Thanks for the interview! Also I want for everybody to be able to chase their dreams, work hard towards them and achieve everything they want.
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Tell me a little bit about your art, what styles, reference materials, mediums do you prefer? I suppose it’s fair to say that my art and style of work can tend to vary quite considerably from one piece to another. I enjoy using a number of materials and mediums, anything from timber to metal and paint to airbrush. Although I don’t have nearly as much time as I would like for these projects, I see it as being extremely important, so any chance I get I’m chopping, cutting or scratching something in an attempt to make art.
Are you from an art education background? In my school days I spent a massive amount of time drawing, both for the sheer enjoyment of doing it and also probably to avoid doing regular school work. After school I attended Fine Art College but unfortunately dropped out early due to my own immaturity and stubbornness when given direction. It’s funny how things change looking back, because now I’m constantly seeking advice and knowledge and would definitely like to return and finish the course at some stage.
How did you find yourself within the tattooing profession? I actually consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world in terms of how I came to the tattooing profession, or how it came to me. It all happened at a time in my life when I was in dire need of focus. I had been working as a mechanic for quite a few years at the time and due to mounting back problems and a somewhat overly hectic social life, it was definitely time for a serious life adjustment. Luckily also at the time I was being tattooed regularly by Phil Cummins, to whom I am eternally grateful, and as a part of my lifestyle changing mission I had begun to paint and draw again. After showing Phil my work, he decided to take a chance on me and offered me an apprenticeship. From that moment on I have never looked back so I must say a huge thanks to Phil.
I was recently attracted to your art which has an ancient spiritual emphasis. Some never realise the beautiful meaning behind this symbols such as Om, mantras and the gentle swastika. What got you interested in this within your art work? Undoubtedly I have always been fascinated with ancient history, culture and mythology and even from a very early age, the visual aspect of this (symbology etc.) has always been magical and powerful to me. It’s difficult to describe but, for me, just looking at ancient symbols can invoke anything from anything from calm and serenity to a sense of mystery and excitement.
I know Cork very well and have visited many ancient monuments, ruins, and famine grave yards there. The whole ambiance within your city is powerful/ unity and spiritual. Do you feel being a Cork man helps with your work as passion is in your blood? Yes absolutely! Cork is without doubt an area bursting at the seams with history and passion. For me, it’s impossible not to be affected by landscape, the people and the sites that surround us here. Most certainly there is no shortage of inspiration everywhere I look, and also there is no such thing as a Cork man without passion in the blood.
Who would you say has influenced you to appreciate art within a spiritual theme?
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My inspiration for art within a spiritual theme has come from a number of different people over the years, many of whom wouldn’t recognise the strength of their own spirituality. I suppose I would have to say that coming originally from a Catholic background going to mass with my mother as a Under the SKIN8
DAVE BARRY Artist Profile
Interview: Ness Hay
Dave for me encapsulates the true spirit of an Irish man. His home town Cork is rich in passion, steeped in history and possibly one of the most spiritual places I have visited, I feel at home in Cork. My son is named after Christy Ring and the first voice he ever heard was his Daddy singing Christy Moore songs, but enough about me and my love of Cork and Irish history. It was a pleasure to interview Dave based upon this alone; the fact that he is a truly brilliant artist makes it an honour. When an artist is taught to tattoo by one of Ireland’s greats, Phil Cummins instantly I know Dave’s work will be quality. It has a uniqueness all of its own and through speaking with Phil about this interview he is proud of Dave as a man and an artist.
child I marvelled at the sculptures, stained glass windows and wood carvings that adorned our local cathedral. As the years went by and my own beliefs evolved I read a large amount of material on spiritual philosophy and art from various authors and always had a natural attraction to the spiritual aspect of art. In fact, to me, art is a massively spiritual thing just to observe, but even more so to partake in its creation.
Do you live a spiritually enriched life or is it just a style of tattooing you are good at and you are a secret rich chav on the sly? Ha! I hope to God I’m not a sly ol’ chav! No, I must honestly say that, in my belief, if you engage in any form of art, not just tattooing, it is absolutely imperative that you maintain a course of action that comes 100% naturally. Personally, I never had a cunning plan to become a “spiritual tattoo artist” and I’m not even sure if that’s how I would class myself. I just do what comes naturally and what I’m drawn to and I strive to keep everything authentic and honest. It’s true that in tattooing you get back what you put in so it’s vital that
you’re genuine in what you attempt to achieve, and also, I believe that it is something you need to feel compelled to do.
Who is your favourite artist? (not a tattoo artist) I find it very difficult to single out one artist in particular, as I have been massively inspired by many, in particular MC Escher and Alex Grey. I suppose if I had a gun to my head I would have to say Caravaggio. The sheer depth and intensity of his work I have always found mesmerising. In terms of contemporary art – Jim Fitzpatrick and Boz Mugabe.
End of the day, what is your favourite thing to chill out and make Dave happy? Eating with friends, slobbing on the couch.. what? To be perfectly honest, chilling out is not something I do particularly well, at least not in the traditional sense. I’m the type of person who needs to be active to be “chilled out”, ridiculous as it may sound. In actual fact, tattooing, drawing and reading are probably the only activities that keep me still for more than a few minutes. www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Under the SKIN9Page 9
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You have your own tattoos upon your body; tell me about them, who is the artist? What inspired that work? I have many different tattoos from many different artists, including myself, and I would love to have more time for more. To me, getting tattooed is a ritual and through the whole process we become connected to a tradition dating back thousands of years. This is why I hold tattooing so dear and it often upsets me to see the lack of respect shown to this tradition these days. Personally, I get tattooed by people that I share a connection with and enjoy every second of it. The pain aspect is always there of course but, like in life, the entire experience must be embraced.
What tea bags do you use? (English Yorkshire tea or Barrys) Barry’s. No question.
I am visiting Ireland for the first time in my life and can only visit one place. Where would you tell me to go so that I experience true Ireland? Cobh is a great place to start but the magic of Ireland is everywhere, you just need to be open to it.
Contact Dave at: www.facebook.com/david.barry.3386
“I actually consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world in terms of how I came to the tattooing profession, or how it came to me. It all happened at a time in my life when I was in dire need of focus” www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 12
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TIM & JORDAN CROKE A
Interview: Ness Hay
s a mother of sons it is hard for me to write this introduction and make it all rock n roll tattoo sounding as I simply think it is so cute to have interviewed Dad n Lad tattooists. How magical for a trade to be passed down through generations. To watch your own child grow as an artist guided unconditionally with love and understanding by a great artist. I better stop before they both kill me for being girly and destroying any street cred they have. They are great artists that enjoy healthy man banter. Both share a quality that is greater than any art they produce, they are both lovely men.
“I wanted him to do whatever he wanted as a job, I didn’t want him to be a tattooist just because I am.” TIm Croke - facebook.com/secondskinderby Jordan Croke - facebook.com/jordan.A.croke Second Skin Tattoo 77 Ashbourne rd Derby DE22 3 FW 01332 242688 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 14
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Tim how did your tattooing career begin, was it a conventional apprenticeship? Tim: To be honest I was kind of pestered into it! I always had an interest in the art form but never really did anything about learning how to do it. I even drew up flash sheets at school from the age of about 11, and would draw fake ones on my friends. Because I had drawn up a few designs for people I would get asked if I fancied doing the actual tattoo, in the end, after much persuasion I decided I would have to check out what the process might involve. I tried to get a proper apprenticeship but none were available at the time and then someone I knew told me that they could tattoo and would teach me if I then bought all his equipment from him as he was going to pack it all in. I took his offer and this was my first foot in the door. However the guy was rubbish and all he got from his customers were complaints so I quickly decided to go my own way. But it was a start.
Your son Jordan, now an amazing artist within his own right was your former apprentice, when did you first notice his interest in tattooing develop? Tim: Jordan has always shown an interest in art and this was something we encouraged from an early age. As for being a tattoo artist himself, that came later on.
Is working with your son/dad problematic for you both? Tim: For me no, I enjoy it. We get on well and have similar views on how a studio should be run so it’s all cool.
Do you both enjoy any other creative activities? Tim: I like to paint when I get chance. I’ve been a bit too busy of late with the shop but I intend to put a bit more effort into finding time to do it.
Jordan: I’ve finally started to get round to painting a little bit, that’s something I really want to concentrate on and spend a lot more of my time in the future on. I’m still drawing a hell of lot; I have a drawing in progress at all times pretty much. It’s a good way to keep myself on the ball I think, drawing is a huge part of tattooing.
Tim did you ever worry when taking Jordan on that regardless of your teaching he may be a poor quality artist? Tim: Not a chance, his own nature is to be great at something or not do it at all. He had no interest in being just ok let alone bad.
Tim, like Mr. Miyagi with Daniel, did you start Jordan’s training in a conventional manner or did he have to wax on- wax off before he was allowed to tattoo? Tim: I suppose it was a conventional apprenticeship in that he had to do all the cleaning and scrubbing of grips and other boring crappy jobs before he got to touch a tattoo machine, actually that’s not strictly true, I did let him tattoo me to see if he thought he might like to do this as a job. He had been helping around the studio to earn a little bit of money while he was at college, you know, making tea, answering the phone and while he was there he just drew the whole time. I wanted him to do whatever he wanted as a job, I didn’t want him to be a tattooist just because I am.
When looking back in hindsight would either of you have changed any of methods? Tim: I don’t think so; it seemed to work out ok. You sort of have to teach someone to teach themselves if that makes sense, I can only show you how I might approach something then you have to apply that to your own technique. Jordan: He could have made me clean less grips haha.
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What is your greatest pleasure of having your own shop in the family? Tim: I enjoy tattooing and am just happy that Jordy has found something that he enjoys and can make a living out of it.
How the hell does your wife/mum cope with you two arty men? Is she creative or does she switch off to you both? Jordan: Mum is actually our shop manager so she’s pretty cool with it all. Me and Dad are massive tattoo nerds though, if we ever meet up outside the studio conversation quickly turns to tattoos and mum tells us off for it sometimes. Tim: We do get on her nerves!
Jordan, do you have an art qualification or like Dad and self-taught? Jordan: I have art GCSEs and I did a graphic design BTEC at college, I should really have done an A level in Fine Art instead. That’s something I regret not doing now.
Jordan, from what age did you look at your dad and think, I want to do that? Jordan: To be honest, I didn’t really. I grew up around tattooing and I was never really bothered by it. It was just the norm really. I wanted to go off in my own direction and not just be gifted a job by my dad but I started playing in metal bands around the same time I turned 18 so all my friends and I started getting tattooed and I thought “this is actually pretty cool” and that was it, I was hooked!
You are a brilliant artist in your own right, did you ever consider a taking a work name to lose being in your Dads shadow? Jordan: It never really crossed my mind, I’ve never had a nickname ever and I think I’d be trying too hard if I tried to give myself one.
Is it “Dad/son” in work or “one of the lads”?
Tim: Bit of both really, the studio is a really chilled out environment and we all get on and have a laugh.
Tim’s work is predominantly realism/black and grey, do you feel you missed out on learning/ teaching Old School? Jordan: I started out doing traditional tattoos its only really recently I get asked to do a lot of realistic pieces. I think you first learn how to put ink in skin and not how to do a traditional tattoo or how to do a black and grey religious sleeve for example. You can then apply that knowledge to different styles.
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Now a father yourself Jordan, are you going to encourage your little girl into a career within tattooing? If so who is teaching her? Jordan or Tim? Jordan: She’s far too nice to be involved in all this tattooing malarkey haha. I think I will encourage her to be arty if she likes it, if not that’s cool too. She’s only 4 months old at the moment, so we have a while to go yet.
Outside of tattooing, what do you love doing? Jordan: Spending time with my baby daughter and my girlfriend. Going to see disgustingly heavy metal bands and drawing a lot. That’s pretty much all I do haha. Tim: Travelling and seeing the world and spending time with family of course.
Gents… would you each now pick up to 5 questions each for each other. You have a great bond and trust so it gives a lovely perspective on things. It can be professional questions about the job or funny questions. My main aim of the interview is about your work, your passions, Master & apprentice/ Father & Son and the relationship you both have. Tim asks Jordan: I think I would just ask if he knew how hard it was going to be and how much it takes to be good would he still want to be a tattoo artist? Jordan: No way!!! Just kidding, it is hard work but I plan to keep on working harder. Love my job! Jordan asks Tim: I see you everyday, I cant think of anything to ask you…. So ill leave you with this… Fancy a pint? Tim: Brilliant. (laughs)
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ASH Harrison Interview: Ness Hay
Ash Harrison is a friendly, handsome, earthy and spiritual artist working hard at his art in Cornwall. His work is superb! How shocked was I that he has never been interviewed before by tattoo publications? This seems to be a recurring theme with many spiritual people, they are very under represented. He is an artist at The Electric Om Tattoo and I am so proud to share him and his art with you. Your biography written at the tender age of 7 is one of the cutest things I have read. You seemed to have a beautiful childhood even though you fell off your bike lots! Tell me which people were the most influential in your life from an early age. Parents/ siblings/ teachers etc… Thank you! Ha ha, yeah my age 7 biography is funny isn’t it! My mum gave that back to me a couple years ago, so thought it’d be funny to put it up online. I’ve got pretty good at falling off bikes as I’ve got older too.... I had a very fortunate childhood, growing up in the Lake District. It was a very outdoors upbringing, always outside riding bikes and making dens in the woods etc… With regards to my most influential people I had growing up, I’d have to say my dad and grandfather; working class heroes, very practical and creative. They were all farmers until my dad - he joined the fire service. In their spare time they were always busy fixing or building something. When I used to visit my grandparents I’d always be in Grandpa’s wood working shed helping, (well I thought so at the time). He would give me wood and nails to take home and build my own stuff. My mum recited a funny story to me recently, I think I was around the age 6-7? On the weekend I came into the kitchen with a hammer rested on my shoulder and said to mum, “I���m off to work mum! What shall I build you?” She responded, “Oh a coffee table would be nice.” Apparently off I marched into the garage. She said she came to www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 30
check on me a little while later and witnessed a production line of very small bird tables, (each one a square cut of ply nailed to a piece of 2”x2” wood. Ha ha ha... My mum is also very creative, great with interior design. So I think I been influenced greatly by both sides of the family.
So falling from a bike at an early age never put you off riding? Are fast bikes and mountain bikes still a past time of yours, or has tattooing engulfed your free time? Yeah, bikes are a great past time for me. To be fair, I’ve got lots of interests but there never seems enough time to do them. Most of my spare time is spent doing art work in many different mediums. I do Yoga, which I’ve found is essential for me to keep balance in my life. I also love getting out & about when I can; Cornwall is a very beautiful place to live.
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Suspension, tell me about it and how it feels? The suspension has been one of the milestone points in my life. Originally trying it because I like pushing my limits, it has also been a major apart of my spiritual journey. The times I’ve done it, it’s been some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had; the connection mind, body, and spirit. Also the connection with the people involved and connection to the earth. A very special experience indeed, which deserves much respect.
Looking through your own tattoos and body mods, you are one adventurous crazy dude with no pain threshold! Can you remember your first experience of tattoos and other body mods? Ha ha no pain threshold? I can assure you I’ve felt it all, ha ha ha.... Being able to learn to deal with the pain is an interesting adventure. I guess my first introduction to tattoos & body mods was through watching a film on TV late at night, I was about 13yrs old. It had Tribes people with face tattoos, which was a big thing for me, and it definitely stirred something inside. From there, getting my first piercing in a studio, I was given some old tattoo magazines which really kicked it off. None of my family members or friends had tattoos or piercings at that time.
ery; neither of my parents are openly spiritual as such. It’s also quite new for me also, I think as recent as 2010, that is when things began for me spiritually. Fortunately I had two friends at the time that were on the level that I could talk about spiritual subjects with. Over time I’ve got to know other people on the same vibe. I’ve looked at different spiritual traditions from around the globe and picked up bits and pieces that resonate well with me, the Om included - I found through Yoga and related traditions.
Your art is very geometrical, nature’s patterns; Buddhism, Swastika, Mandala, organic richness… Would your soul cry real blood if you were asked to tattoo a sugar skull or would you respect the customer’s wishes and give it your best shot? Haha! Yeah I’m on a journey with the Geometry & sacred symbolism work. It’s interlinked with the spiritual aspects in my life, but I do other stuff too. When I started drawing seriously from the beginning, I’ve had a balance of Tribal styles & Biomechanical work. Now in my tattooing life I generally work on the styles that I’m passionate about, so all tribal, geometry and ornate work and the Biomech stuff. On occasion I do other stuff, but most of the time people come to me for what art they’ve seen of mine.
Do you machine or hand tattoo? You appear to have a very spiritual outlook on life. I often find this is a result of very hippy/ tree hugging parents or an inner journey of selfdiscovery to open your mind. What is your story? When did Om discover you and you allow it to show you the magic of life?
I tattoo by machine, but I’m really interested to try hand poking work.
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Who inspires you within your creative field? Wow there is just so many really. In the tattoo world; Gerhard Wiesbeck, Xed, Matt Black. Ferank Manseed, Roxx 2spirit, Thomas Thomas, Patrick Huttelinger, Colin dale, Peter Madsen, Guy Aitchinson , Aaron Caine, Markus Lenhard, Ron Earhart, Victor Portugal. The list goes on.... None tattoo artists? Alex Grey, Luke brown, H.R. Giger and more.
Outside of tattooing and art who inspires you to become a better man? I take so much inspiration from friends, family and the world. At the moment I’ve been following Greg Braden’s work, a man from the scientific community that has been around the world. He has spent time with indigenous cultures, learning about their wisdom traditions and passing it on to the western world.
If you had one quote/mantra to personify you as a man, what would it be? Tough one! At this moment in time, “An’it harm none, do what thy wilt”.
You have only £10 in your pocket and want to impress a lady on a date. What would you do or buy to achieve this?
Our journey in life is a massive adventure, if you lost your memory and could only select one moment in time for you to remember and cherish what would it be? (Tough question, I know I am a wrongun). The hardest question!!!! The first memory to mind is my close group of friends all travel so it’s not that often we are all together. But recently we were all in Cornwall, met up and went to a jam night, then back to a friends for beers. We sat together for’t crack (Northern term for having a catch up and laugh together) ended up laughing so much together we had to have 10mins time out to stop laughing. The kind of laughing that makes you cry, your face and ribs ache. That connection with closest friends.
My life without………… would be an empty life. My life without LOVE would be an empty life. Thankyou So much for this opportunity Ness. Love, Light & Positive Vibrations xXx
The Electric Om Tattoo Top Floor 58 Church St Falmouth Cornwall TR11 3DS
Luckily living in Cornwall, taking her down to the beach to watch the sunset. The £10 could buy a bottle of red wine.
In your home town where is your favourite place to eat? What is the meal? If I’m home in the lakes then it would be going for a traditional Cumbria farmer’s pub meal. Home in Cornwall there is a special Thai restaurant I love to eat at.
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“Every image is nothing but my blood on canvas. No paint no dye, nothing just my blood.”
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v Bloodpainter Head of theBloodpainter Nation. Doctorate in fine arts.
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Every picture tells A Story By Kate Sheard
We live in an age where music has never been more accessible. The internet is a haven for Audiophiles, who can choose downloading, streaming and file sharing to procure a music collection of literally thousands of songs, videos and albums, all stored on their computer or mobile devices. Just as it has evolved to become the source for practically everything else, the internet is our new launch-pad for music. It acts as both vehicle and navigator on our road to exploring the ever-expanding face of the musical universe. While there are plenty of advantages to this evolution of music obtainment, one could be forgiven in mourning the decline of the physical album. Where once, you would wait until a release day and then scour the shops for a copy of the desired album, it’s now easily downloaded at home by the click of a mouse. And where once you would listen to a whole album from beginning to end, you can now pick and choose which songs you’d like to retain. The world is now one of Singles, one that leaves the album in a rapid decline. Aside from the lingering obsessions of die-hard vinyl fans, album covers have become obsolete. One could argue that half the desire to acquire a certain album was down to the artwork on the front cover. Great album covers can burn into the mind just as easily as the music they contain, giving you a visual representation of the kind of journey that the artist is about to take you on. The artwork could be suggestive or subjective. A good album cover could sell thousands based on artwork alone, as the images would both intrigue and inspire. Trying to represent a whole album of music visually is a challenging exercise, especially within a single square. This is down to the complexity, shifting moods and the emotional range one might find within the music. Whether it is the music of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell or the Prodigy. All different, but all powerful in their own way. It’s completely justifiable to wonder if it’s at all possible to suitably represent the music within on one small area of blank canvas. So daunting is the task that I would estimate at least fifty percent of album covers avoid it by depicting photographs of the band instead. Just as the great classic paintings of Michelangelo and Da Vinci embodied the Renaissance, the artwork that graced the covers of pop records came to symbolise the latter part of the 20th Century. There are certain albums that have become synonymous within Pop Culture. Albums whose covers are instantly recognisable, even to those who’ve never really listened to the music contained within. It was difficult choice, as any opinion is always subjective, but I have chosen to showcase ten albums I believe best reflect the “Iconic Album Cover” status.
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1. Rage against the Machine – Rage Against The Machine (1992) Rage…. Bust onto the scene in the early 90’s and quickly became known for their highly charged, politically motivated songs. Their debut album featured Thích Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, burning himself to death in Saigon in 1963. This act of protest resulted in the Americans withdrawing their support for the Vietnamese government. That single act of self-sacrifice changed the political landscape of the time. The use of this shocking image and the message it embodied fitted Rage against the Machine’s politicised musical aesthetic and their leftist stance; it was raw, extreme and unapologetic. This would be the seminal album from a band who would go on to teach a generation what to scream in the face of authority - “FUCK YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!!”
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Joy Division took an unusual step when they released their debut LP in 1979. Not only was there no title, the name of the band didn’t appear on the front cover and there wasn’t even a track listing. Instead a black, blank space stared back at the listener. (Of course, the CD version now has the missing information printed on it.) While not exactly an original idea, (both Led Zeppelin and The Beatles used a similar layout in their 4th and “White” album respectively), it was certainly a first for a band who were supposed to be establishing themselves as a new talent. Even the design on the front cover was ambiguous. People eluded to what those “wiggly lines” represented. In truth, it was actually 100 successive pulses from the first pulsar ever discovered, PSR B1919+21. The cover was designed by Peter Saville, Factory Records’ in-house design guru and its dark enigmatic nature perfectly positioned Joy Division for an audience of sulky, self-involved teenagers and social outcasts.
3. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico. (1967) The Velvets were “discovered” by Wahol’s manager, Paul Morrisey. He promptly added German songstress, Nico and a footnote in Pop Culture history was made! Their debut album in 1967 featured a piece of artwork by Wahol, himself. The image depicted a common Banana on a white background and was classic Wahol, who had the uncanny knack of taking cheap ephemera and packaging and turning them into art. The album cover featured his name, not the band’s and the only other words that occupied the front cover were instructions to “Peel slowly & See.” It was an obvious pun, referring to the “Pink” banana beneath the peelable yellow skin. The first edition of this LP has since become a collector’s item, as the other copies featured after, were printed without the banana sticker. The album was the visual design to the notion of “music as art.” Using Wahol’s already recognised name, the band ensured that there was always an association to the eccentric artist/producer and it even created the myth that Wahol was the lead guitarist.
4. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks (1977) There’s no doubt that the rise of the Sex Pistols marked an
important change in British music and culture. This seminal album practically cemented the blueprint for Punk Rock (especially in the UK). It’s front cover also worked as a template for the Punk aesthetic. Created by Jamie Reid, (with a lot of input from Malcom McClaren, no doubt). It was said to have been inspired by a friend of McClaren’s, called Helen Worthington Lloyd. She designed flyers for the Pistols’ punk shows with lettering she’d cut out of newspapers. McClaren loved the “ransom note” styling, noting that “It fitted the anti – commercial attitude of the band perfectly.” Reid says otherwise, claiming it was inspired by the work he was doing in a printing and publishing collective called Suburban Press. The look was created through a lack of money and their need to produce cheap, eye catching visuals. Of course, in true Punk style, the album caused controversy with its use of the word “Bollocks” in the title. It was banned in many shops upon release and McClaren even found himself in court for indecency and public disorder. He won the case, with the backing of Virgin boss, Richard Branson.
Prodigy – The Fat of the Land (1997)
The Prodigy were already an established band within the Club scene when they released this album in 1997. The Fat of the Land enjoyed critical acclaim, along with some controversy and featured the striking image of the crab against the blurred background. As the band’s producer and main songwriter, Liam Howlett was always very aware of the image that the band wanted to portray and chose to work with designer Alex Jenkins for this particular album. With aggressive song titles such as “Smack my Bitch up,” the need for some artistic sophistication was essential if the band was to be taken seriously. Jenkins, along with Howlett suggested they use the image of the crab after several different ideas, including a pig in makeup and a close up of kebab meat were abandoned. Jenkins and Howlett chose the crab for the front cover, because “The crab is a creature that comes out of the sea to enjoy the spoils of the land.” They liked that connection with the album title. They also felt that the crab was a strong metaphor for the band – “Colourful, full of energy, coming at you with two fingers in the air.”
The Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986)
Beastie Boys’ debut album cover is packed with the juvenile pith that characterised their music in 1986. The shocking cover features a Boeing 737 with the record label, Def Jam’s logo tagged as well as 3MTA3, which read EATME when viewed in a mirror. The back cover depicted the plane smoking after having crashed into the side of a cliff. Def Jam producer, Rick Rubin wanted to reflect the excesses of the Rock n Roll lifestyle and the destruction it causes. Hence, the front cover looks safe enough, but when opened out and viewed as a whole, the observer can see that the plane has actually crashed. There are also some phallic implications, as Rubin pointed out. “If you look at the cover sideways, it looks like a penis with pubic hair.” Rick Rubin also eluded that the concept of the album cover was dreamt up after he had finished reading a book about Led Zeppelin and their Starship – a Boeing 737. He felt that the Beastie Boys would become big enough to one day, travel in this way. “I wanted to embrace & somehow distinguish, in a sarcastic way, the larger than life Rock n Roll Lifestyle.” Under the SKIN45 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 45
The Clash – London Calling (1979)
By 1979, the Clash were a well-established, politically motivated and popular Punk Rock group in the UK. However, by the time they released London Calling, they were already accused by hard-core fans of “Selling Out.” This was probably the main reason behind the album name change, as the band felt that the original, “The New Testament” name could be seen as being a little pretentious. The Clash’s consistent Punk attitudes were always well illustrated in their album covers, but it was this seemingly satirised front cover, that became the most well – known. While most observers understood that the pink and green lettering was a homage to the first Rock n Roll album, Elvis Presley’s self – titled debut, others saw it as satire or a calculated rip off of the original. The main image, was a blurred photo of Paul Simon, seemingly taking out his frustration on his Bass during a gig. The photographer, Pennie Smith, wasn’t aware that Simon would come so close and took the infamous picture using a wide angled lens, thus creating the out – of – focus shot that came to adorn the front cover.
Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)
Kurt Cobain initially dreamed up the idea of a baby underwater after watching a documentary about water births. He told designer, Robert Fisher that he wanted either an underwater baby or a monkey on the front cover. Fisher pushed for the baby design and the monkey was consigned to the back cover. After spending all day at a swimming pool in Pasadena, California, Fisher found his perfect shot. A photo of first time swimmer, Spencer Elden. Cobain liked the idea, but wanted to add a little something extra to the shot and suggested a fishing hook. After a few ideas were bandied around, a Dollar bill was super-imposed into the photo. What was created, was an image that was poetic and cynical at the same time. The innocence of a naked child and the inclusion of the Dollar Bill makes a derisive critique of contemporary society, which is preoccupied with money and all it’s materialistic commitments.
9. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) The Beatles have produced some of the most iconic and copied album covers in the world. They are all instantly recognisable. However, Sgt. Pepper’s is plausibly their biggest gift to Pop Culture. Created in a period in the 60’s when “You did your own thing,” the Beatles did and the result was Sgt Pepper. First initiated by Paul McCartney, the conception became a team effort. The finished product was orchestrated by pop artists Peter Blake & Jann Haworth. McCartney’s vision was one of the Beatles in Edwardian costumes surrounded by photos of their heroes. The idea proliferated into the Beatles in Military Uniform, surrounded by some of the greatest people in Pop Culture. Blake added a “Hallucinogenic” element to the photo with the use of the bright colours and he even threw in a little homage to the Rolling Stones by displaying a doll wearing a Stones t-shirt. It was to signify that there was no bad feeling between the two biggest bands on the time. Added to the mysticism of the album were the rumoured “Pot Plants” along the bottom of the bass drum, (they were actually Acuba japonica variegates), and the apparent “blessing” of Paul by the cut out of Stephen Crane who had his right hand outstretched above Paul’s head, (he was www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 46
actually waving,) further fuelled the speculation that Paul McCartney had died previously. The album became somewhat of a Pop Culture phenomenon and was copied by The Rutles creator, Eric Idle and satirised by Frank Zappa & The Mothers.
10.Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Bold, iconic and symbolic. Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album was created on the premise that the band no longer wanted the complex, pictorial imagery of their previous albums. They instead, opted for a “cool graphic.” They got one from an unlikely source; a text book illustration of how white light passing through a prism forms a spectrum. Working with regular creative collaborators Hipgnosis, the prism design was placed against a black background. The decision to leave out any text was made, as the band thought that the prism design spoke for itself and powerfully represented the conceptual power of the lyrics and the clean, seamless sound quality of the music. The prism idea also echoed their famous light show. Pink Floyd felt that the end result was a good match for the album, good enough not to need the lettering. Included within the album was a poster of an abstract drawing of the pyramids. Blue, against a black backdrop. The other side of the poster featured photos of the band, alongside the band name. The album also included six stickers of the same pyramids. Brown against a blue backdrop & yellow against pink. These early editions of the album became collectable, as they stopped selling them in the second editions. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side… album is arguably the most famous design in Pop music history. It’s one of the most recognised images we have. While the same can be said of many of those included, there will always be arguments of which is more famous or of those who weren’t included. Essentially, this is down to a matter of taste. When it comes to issues of design, taste is hugely important. Admiration is always another factor, as to why some artwork was chosen, while others were left out. But lastly, the main question to ask is, what actually constitutes an Iconic Album? Is it because the band is well-known, like the Beatles? Is it because the album was a massive success like Pink Floyd’s DSOTM? The album went into the charts in 1973 and didn’t leave until 1989. Or, is it down to provocation? Bands have used their album covers to antagonise and shock. Bands such as The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Guns n Roses, The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols and Blind Faith have all had artwork banned.. None of the artwork chosen for this list was created in the 2000’s. Even the most recent one, The Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land” was made 16 years ago. Everyone has memories of when they first heard a particular record. Music conjures up such powerful imagery and as was touched on earlier, covers are the visual representation of the music contained within. Much of the music created today, is too young to class as iconic. How many people will still be celebrating bands like 1 Direction in 30 – 40 years’ time? Album covers are an integral part of Pop Culture. Lots of people possess the artwork, because lots of people like music. Albums are set to become a thing of the past and it’s important to continue to document and celebrate the fantastic works of art that they contained, before they’re lost to the past. Under the SKIN46
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Interview: Ness Hay
Damian is a relatively new tattooist who came very late to Tattooing. Having only been in the trade for three years or so he is already producing some brilliant pieces! His work soon took a side-line for me as following our interview I really want to know what face cream he uses as I thought he was ten years younger than he is! He has a very humbling and natural personality and he’s such an easy man to approach. I loved this interview and it is a great example of passion for a job they love. Why Tattooing? Even from a very early age I was obsessed with painting and drawing, it was pretty much all I ever did. Naturally I was keen to try and forge a career in something creative, so when the opportunity to tattoo presented itself I jumped at the chance and completely immersed myself in every aspect of it. I’ve still not been tattooing very long and have everything to learn, but I love the process. It sounds rather clichéd perhaps, but tattooing kind of defines me now - it’s who I am. To be completely honest, aside from spending time with my family and specifically playing with my children, I find life a bit of a pain in the arse and difficult, but when I’m tattooing I feel it’s manageable, it’s beautiful, I feel released from myself, unshackled, a part of a larger whole somehow. Often when I’m tattooing it feels as though it’s just me, almost in competition with the design I’m working on, seeing who will ‘win’ as it were. Everything else dissolves - and sometimes I come out victorious. And if all that sounds rather hippyish and weird, then so be it - it’s the truth.
What do you feel is the best thing about being a tattoo artist? All of the above, but also, and what is often the biggest thrill of being a tattoo artist is the fact that I get to leave my clients with tattoos that they’re absolutely over the moon
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with. It’s an incredible feeling to know that you’ve given someone something that will be with them forever, and often the tattoos they have will define them, for the better. Whether it’s a tattoo that has particular personal meaning, or something that’s just cool or unusual, helping someone celebrate something important or define how they look is amazing. I get to meet incredibly cool and interesting people too; other artists as well as clients, and I’ve made a handful of really good friends as a result of working in the industry. I wouldn’t change it for the World.
Who within the tattoo hierarchy, past or present would you love to work with to improve your style in any areas? Well, I’m a huge fan of realism and portraiture - so the usual suspects spring to mind, Chris Jones, Oddboy, Phatt German, John Anderton, Max Pniewski, Cecil Porter, Rich Pineda... I could go on forever with this, but all of the above and many other artists just blow me away in terms of their vision and skill. I’d happily sit and watch any, and all of them all day just to try and get a grasp on how they do what they do. I look at some of the pieces such artists produce and I’m literally baffled as to how they’re achieved.
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Who was your hero, as a child? Aside from Han Solo, Tony Hart and Batman, I’d probably have to say John Lennon, and he remains my hero to this day. Obviously as a child I wasn’t aware of, and couldn’t appreciate his vast talent and influence as a musician, artist or civil rights figure - but I recall listening very intently to ‘Imagine’ at a very young age and it having a very strong effect on me. I liked the idea of a life of unselfish peace, of mankind united in a belief of harmony - even at a ridiculously young age I grasped what the song was trying to convey. So yeah, I was an odd child. Still am I suppose.
Who was the first crush you ever had? I really don’t recall - I was probably too busy obsessing over Star Wars and Transformers. Maybe the character Sarah from the movie ‘The Labyrinth’ - I recall her making me feel a little ‘funny’ somehow! As I said, odd child.
Which is the one job in the world that you would love to do? Tattooing - and I’m doing it!
But as for a ‘dream’ job - I grew up, like a lot of young lads I guess, wanting to be a musician. I had the vaguest crack at it too, and did quite well but it all fell apart very suddenly, my own fault - but that’s another story.... Still, probably a good thing, I’ve got an addictive personality, so life in the music industry probably wouldn’t have proved a good idea for me! Sod it anyway, I couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out - really lucky and very happy to be a tattoo artist.
What is your favourite music and your favourite singer/band? The Beatles, The Beatles, The Beatles and another little band known as The Beatles. I actually can’t express enough just how much the band and their music mean to me - they’re an ideal for living as far as I’m concerned. Unbelievably talented, ridiculously hard working and they did nothing other than produce a vast library of insanely clever, catchy, meaningful and often innovative music which spread a word of positivity - how can you not admire that? Under the SKIN49 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 49
Aside from those guys I love a great deal more bands, mainly classic British Rock ‘n Roll / Indie groups: Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Smiths, The Cure, The Stone Roses, Oasis, I could go on and on...
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I’d like to think I’ll still be Tattooing, still striving to be a better artist and having the opportunity to produce ever more challenging pieces. I wouldn’t say at the moment my work has a particular ‘stamp’ to it, even those close to me or that follow my work would probably be hard pushed to pick out a piece of mine from a line-up of tattoos of an equal standard - so that’s something I want to try and achieve. I’m not suggesting I want to try and develop a particular style that’s solely mine - but often I see tattoos in magazines or online and can instantly recognise the artist behind them - certain artists, without even having anything particularly original, (and I don’t mean that as a negative), in their work still manage to have achieve a certain feel or look that is distinctly theirs, and I guess I’d like to achieve that. Whatever that elusive ‘that’ is, you know? In terms of a particular direction, as mentioned before, I’m trying to get elements of realism into the tattoos I produce so I’m hoping I’ll get further opportunity to push my work in that direction. Equally I’d like to expand the studio somewhat - have other artists come and work with me and build a little family as it were. I’d love to have a handful of other artists working with me, each of us being distinctly different from one another in terms of the aesthetics and style of the tattoos we produce. It’s not an impossible dream either, so yeah, that’s something I’m hoping to try and make happen in the coming few years. As for the more immediate future, I’ve yet to work any conventions - as much as it appeals to me, I’ve always been a little cautious of doing so, but increasingly it’s something I’m hoping to do soon. So you might see me actually working at some conventions over the next year or so, as opposed to just walking around, hungover and annoying artists I admire with my incessant drivel and fawning...
If you were an animal in the wild, what would you be? A dragon, being able to fly and breath fire - how cool would that be? I’d fly around setting fire to people I don’t like, laughing in my big scary dragon voice as I flew away.
If you have friends coming over, what would you cook? I have pretty much no culinary skill - I’m not a ‘foodie’ at all, I genuinely see eating as a pain, a chore, time that I have to sacrifice just so that I don’t die! If I could take some form of sustenance tablet I’d happily do so, it would save a lot of time and effort. That said, I make the World’s BEST cheese and ham toasted sandwiches, so I guess any dinner guests would be treated to those…Or KFC.
Describe your perfect holiday Just being with my family, playing with my two beautiful sons and not having to worry about anything other than enjoying it. I wouldn’t care about the location, wherever would be fine, just fair weather, my family, time, and freedom to do as we chose.
Which T.V. program would you never miss? There really aren’t any shows I make a particular effort to watch - I’m not the biggest fan of TV, most of it is complete dross made with halfwits in mind. I’d much rather spend my free time painting, drawing, playing guitar, video games or watching movies, if time allowed, which it doesn’t! If I do watch any TV though, it tends to be the comedy panel shows - Q.I, Have I Got News For You, things like that. They’re funny, and brief, which suits me.
What is the last CD you bought? I buy a fair amount of music, but like most people, I just download it directly to my phone now. I only tend to buy physical CDs by artists I’m particularly into - and on that basis the last CD I bought was Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Awesome album.
Are you a morning person or a night person? There’s was a time I was something of a Night Owl, but these days I’m more of a morning person I think. I’m more than able to get up early and get on with the day - I never, ever have that feeling of, “Uurgh, I have to get up for work...”, and since being a tattoo artist I never have. Don’t get me wrong, a little longer in bed would be great most mornings, but I’m perfectly able to get up because going to work isn’t a chore - often I’m excited at the prospect, which I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to say. Tattooing doesn’t feel like a ‘job’, it’s more a passion that I’m lucky enough to indulge for a living. I work incredibly hard though, so my Night Owl days are behind me, I’m normally exhausted of an evening to the point that I’m ready to collapse very early in the evening.
My life without …….. would be an empty life. My life without my family, tattoos, tattooing, art, good movies, good music and KFC……………………… would be an empty life. Damian Cain Revolution Ink Tattoos 57 Princes St Yeovil Somerset BA20 1EE 01935 412010 facebook.com/damian.cain.77
I eat a lot of KFC. I like KFC. I should be sponsored by KFC. Colonel Sanders, if you’re reading this, sponsor me. Thanks. www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 50
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Mark Boyle Mark, your name is associated with dotwork, was this where you began as a tattooist or did you have to cover all styles before finding your place within dotwork? I was thirty plus when it got me. I wanted to learn to tattoo a lot later than most, I had pierced for a lot of years and then I was actually tattooed myself. I had my moko done first. It was such an opening experience that I started to look into how I could learn myself and although I worked within the profession I couldn’t find anyone who inspired the kind of art I wanted to learn. Then I realised through being tattooed by hand that that was the way I was guided. A year working by hand invariably means you are working with dots… So yes, this is my beginning.
There has been a current influx of artists and enthusiasts enjoying dots. Do you like the popularity or think it may be diluting the passion? I express myself and the art I produce as the only way I know how to. I am passionate about my work and my clients. As for “the passion” I think you need just view the entire profession and see how trends and fashions influence work and the style, which is where passion changes I guess. There are only a few people who began in the way they now work.
I can see you like to travel, what inspired you to tattoo abroad? I like to travel and was invited to work in other places by lovely people so I do.
Scarification, do you feel it has a place within the tattoo community and should be intertwined with art or kept separate?
Interview: Ness Hay
What is your ideal setting to be tattooed personally? Outside? Inside? I like both inside and out for different reasons. Outside is energising and spiritual and inside is calm and focussed.
Your head and throat tattoo is beautiful, who did these for you? Pinkie Leenders did my throat and Patrick Huttlinger did my head. Thank you by the way, they are beautiful.
Whilst tattooing what is your favourite music? I like every piece of music that I ever tattoo to, if that makes sense. But I really like the cinematic orchestra.
I see you mainly at conventions, do you enjoy working them or do you feel they miss an element of what would make it perfect? I love the buzz of conventions and the way everyone is on the same trip, trying to find the piece of art that is going to make them happy and then going for it. I like the way some people really work themselves at conventions to finish or achieve certain things to them. It’s quite awesome in the true sense of the word. I think every show has it’s own feel so it’s hard to say what would do which one any good to change it.
What is your best mantra/ethos/quote/piece of advice to live your life by? Love everyone without reason, and if it isn’t true, educational or kind don’t say it.
Vegetarian or meat eater?
I think scarification is the origins of tattooing personally. I feel it has a place where ever there is a wearer, if people like it then it has its place already.
I eat meat, sometimes.
What would you classify as a true dotwork tattoo as many have line work incorporated, should this still be classed as dotwork?
I have no home so I keep nothing next to my bed
If there is a label to give them, then surely dotwork it made up of dots and not lines, simple answer I know but it is how it is.
Do you feel the correct ambiance is needed to your work or would you be happy doing what you love within any setting? I can work anywhere but I prefer to work surrounded by positive things and beautiful things, I think a relaxing environment is best for what I do; it allows my client the space to unwind with the experience. www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 52
At home by your bed what do you keep close to you? Book? Photo? What three things (personality traits/ character) do you believe can instantly make a person’s soul ugly? Ego, want, and loudness.
Suspension, what does it feel like? The weightlessness held by your own skin. Suspension feels like everything stops and I just step off the world for a while. It is a time for reconnection with myself. It’s calm and warm. Sometimes it really hurts but that’s ok. Other times it feels like floating. Under the SKIN52
I will openly admit that I have waited three years to interview this man. Some people you meet leave a lasting legacy upon you. Mark is one of those people. I first discovered Mark a few years back at a convention and stood watching him work, he has such a calming nature. He worked, laughed and joked with the people he was tattooing. It was like there was a circle of love surrounding him. It was then, three years ago that we arranged to do an interview that weekend. Time constrictions got in the way so we kept in touch via social network. Many times back then when faced with challenges of life, Markâ€™s words of serenity and calm each morning on his social network would inspire me and make me smile. Proud to share Mark with you, he is such a lovely man and so talented with dots.
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If I was sat cloud watching on a hill top with you and asked you to explain happiness and life. What would you tell me? I would say stop looking for happiness, you won’t find it for looking. Happiness is a state of mind. As for life I can’t explain that I haven’t had enough experience yet to even know where to start.
Daily people miss the beautiful patterns within life, nature, structures etc… Who taught you to see beyond what is material to view the real beauty? I see them that’s all. I wasn’t taught to see anything. I guess I just take time to look... Or waste time looking depending on how you view it lol... I like to think I look deeper but I am probably wrong lol... I am who I am because I lived the life I have I guess... No big deal or drama. I was ill once real bad and I remember it made me see the world differently but now I can’t remember how I saw it before so I guess it was for the best. As far as understanding I have lost a lot in my life, friends passed, family, loved ones… children... It’s at the worst times that we as humans seem to find the best in ourselves.
If I could change one thing within tattooing it would be......... It is not my place to say what should and shouldn’t be changed. But I would like to get better at what I do and make more people happy when I do it... Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: http://facebook.com/nothingsacredtattoo
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Interview: Ness Hay
Henry (aka MrDist) Pyykkรถ Web: bigslicktattoo.se E-mail: email@example.com Instagram: @mrdist www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 56
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Tell me about yourself, where you were born and where you work? My parents are from Finland but I’m born and raised in Örebro / Sweden. I work at Big Slick Tattoo in Örebro, the shop where I started my tattoo career. We have four tattoo artists and one body piercer at the shop.
Tell me a little bit about your art, what styles, reference materials, mediums do you prefer? My style of art goes to the darker side of things. I find it more interesting in some strange way. The same thing goes to music; I don’t feel so strongly for happy songs and melodies as for music with more melancholic or heavy sound. When it comes to mediums I like them all, but I have to say that for sketching for tattoo clients I prefer digital. I got a Samsung Note 10.1 a while back and it has helped me a lot to speed things up.
You use many mediums and also produce some great digital art. Are you art trained in graphics or simply self-taught? I went to some art schools when I was younger, but I don’t think I learned so much from them. They wanted to teach more abstract art and I wanted to learn the figurative styles. So I have to say, most of what I do I taught myself. The digital art I do, I learned from watching concept artists on YouTube and just hard work.
How did you start in tattooing? What form of training did you receive? It all started when a friend of mine who was an apprentice at a tattoo shop in town asked me if I wanted use one of their rooms as an airbrush studio. At the time I used to custom paint motorcycles and helmets. So I started working on my stuff there and I got more interested in the art of tattooing. A year went and then I got a chance to
become an apprentice at Big Slick Tattoo. This was the best choice of my life.
What/who inspired you within your art work? Music and movies inspire me a lot. When I was a kid I wanted to buy all the Iron Maiden albums just for the cover art. Today there is a lot of great artists out there so it’s hard to name them all. But some of them are Tommy Lee Wendtner, Robert Hernandez , Victor Portugal, HR Giger and Guy Aitchison.
Do you appreciate art upon canvas/paper? Who is your favourite artist? I used to paint a lot before I started tattooing; now It’s hard to get some leftover time to do it. Using oils has to be my favourite and I just hope I get more time to paint in the future. I studied a lot of the old masters painting styles and try to learn some of their techniques. Rembrandt and Odd Nerdrum are my all-time favourite when it comes to painters.
Your work is amazing; some breathtaking black and grey pieces in your portfolio. Why black and grey? Do you not like colour pieces? I feel I can work faster and more freely with black and grey. When I do colour tattoos I feel that I’m working too slow and I get easily frustrated.
You have your own tattoos upon your body; tell me about your favourite, who is the artist? What inspired that work? I don’t have any favourites; all of them have their own story. I have some work from Tommy Lee Wendtner, Victor Portugal, my colleague Morgan Lundin, David Jorquera.
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Interview: Ness Hay
I have followed Dris’ work for a while, initially attracted to his genuine “free spirit beach bum” approach to life. He is one of those gents you know you would get along with and have a laugh and they would have a place on your friends that are lovely list. Dris is an unbelievable artist so I was proud when he talked so openly about anxiety. It should not be a taboo as it affects so many with creative minds. Media can at times forget the reality of being a tattoo artist and projects a rock n roll life. Dris is more comfortable next to the sea and losing himself in art.
Why is art important to you? Art is like a life force to me, I never stop thinking about it. If I’m not creating some form of art whether it’s tattooing or painting, I genuinely feel depressed. It is also the cause of most of my worries, as I’m always thinking I’m not good enough, and looking at people who are miles ahead of me, but I guess that helps me try and get better and work harder at it.
What do you feel is the most rewarding thing about being a tattooist? Personally I feel that the whole deal is really rewarding, we get to make a living from doing something we love, and get to hang out with amazing people all the time. I really like it when I get to tattoo other tattoo artists, even though it is a bit nerve wracking, it’s awesome to have a like-minded person sitting in the chair to chat to.
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You are a self-confessed beach bum, I think is a great asset to such a creative mind, does the beach keep you mellow and focused? Ha ha I knew that was gonna come up!! Yeah, I have grown up next to the beach so I guess I’ve always felt really comfortable near the sea. If I could I would build a hut on the beach and tattoo from it then I’d never have to leave, apart from I don’t eat fish so I would have to live off kelp which would suck. I dunno why I love it so much; it just kind of feels wrong when I’m not on the coast, like I get claustrophobic in cities and stuff.
If you enjoy the freedom of the sea, how do you feel at conventions isn small areas? Well I suffer from anxiety so I find working conventions really really hard, I prefer just wandering around them looking at other artists than working them, there’s a lot less pressure that way, and you get to learn a tonne just seeing other people work. Under the SKIN62
What were your parents views when you said you were becoming a tattooist? Well my mum kinda thought I was going through a phase at first as I think she kinda wanted me to do the whole Uni thing, but once she saw that I was really serious about it she has been really supportive. My dad, who is a proper old school gentleman would support me if I wanted to be a transvestite hooker, he is probably the most decent human being I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
an amazing artist in every sense, and I’m lucky I get to hang out with him!!
What was your favourite book as a child? Probably my favourite one now, Harry Potter, I love the films, I’m not ashamed, my girlfriend loves it when I stay up until 5 o’clock in the morning watching them.
Who was the first kiss you ever had? Who within the tattoo hierarchy, would you like to have learnt alongside?
I honestly can’t remember.
Ah there are so many!!!! I would love to work with Jeff Gogue, simply because he has been such a huge influence in my tattooing development, also I would love to simply watch Dmitriy Samohin, as his work is just insane. There really are so many artists who I would love to learn from! I have been lucky enough to work alongside and tattoo Matthew James, and I have learnt so much from that guy, he is such
On your bucket list what is the one big thing that you would love to do? This is really stereotypical but I would love to go skydiving, but in one of those bat suit things, although I’m pretty sure you have to know what you’re doing with them, and I guess there’s not a lot of room for error when your jumping out of a plane...... Under the SKIN63 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 63
What is your favourite music and your favourite singer/band? I don’t really have one to be honest, I listen to so much different music in the studio and my taste is always changing, I get bored pretty easy.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? In 5 years I would love to be doing more travelling, hopefully the studio will kinda be able to look after itself by then which will allow me time to go see other places
If you were a super hero, what would you want to be and why? I would want to have the ability to go back in time (I’m not sure if that’s a super power but I’m choosing it) because I’ve always wanted to go back and see what actually went on in history, because I’m pretty sure a lot of it was made up.
Describe your perfect day off Having a BBQ on a quiet beach with all my friends and it being hot enough to go in the sea.
Which T.V. program would you never miss? I don’t really watch TV, but I’ve heard that tattoo addiction is pretty awesome......
What is the last item of clothing you bought? Plain white tee all the way.
Are you a summer person or a winter person? Definitely a summer person, I hate winter more than anything!!
My tattoo workplace without…………………. would be boring. My tattoo workplace without my annoying dog would be boring.
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Dris Donnelly Artium Ink 115 Sidwell St, Exeter, Devon EX4 6RY 01392 423842 facebook.com/dris.donnelly
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This is Not... a brand new range of activist fashion. I’m tired of corporate and the uniformity of today’s fashion world. I’m tired of the dictates of the fashion industry telling me how to look and especially as a feminist and a woman approaching her autumn years, I’m tired of people telling me to smile and how to dress. I’m also really weary of the sexism that floats around as empowerment. There are such a lot of twisted messages going around that inform women that objectifying themselves for the male gaze is somewhat empowering. This irritates me. Tired I am. Can you tell? Well, I put all these thoughts together and came up with my own range of alternative fashion for disaffected youth (and not so young). Starting with the statement , This is Not... Feminism featuring a picture of a member of the very current Femen movement, I’m inviting viewers to reconsider the image of a semi-naked pornified woman purporting to be fighting for the rights of women whilst bearing her breasts. After David Cameron announced recently at the Tory party conference that he was a feminist, I couldn’t resist a This is Not ... a feminist shirt. I mean... it just had to be done. The ‘This is Not’ range is a range of radical street wear and activist fashion, hand printed and painted t shirts, tote bags and upcycled jackets and coats. All of the images are done in a typical ‘Banksy’ graffiti style to reflect vibrancy of street culture and its anarchic energy. The t shirts are available in a one size fitted ladies version (fits up to a size 16 ) or an unfitted regular version in large or extra large. There is a limited c.Art Kidz range of tshirts for children (medium and large). The label I’m releasing this under is c.Art. Craft meets Art, culture meets Art, with the A being encircled in the recognisable anarchy symbol. The range will be available on Wednesdays at London’s famous Camden Lock Market (the part of the market closest to the canal). Prices start from £18 for a hand printed /painted t shirt (every one unique) and £15 for a hand printed/painted tote bag. The upcycled jackets will be priced individually. Mail order via my c.Art Facebook page is also available for those who aren’t able to make the London market. http:// www.facebook.com/c.Artbags Hoodies will be next in the range. This is just the beginning... Diane Goldie , artist, maker and pissed off feminist.
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Chris 51 Talks to:
Butch Patrick AKA Eddie munster I was sitting in my office, which just happens to be full of awesome Star Wars toys, thinking how I could top my last story about Star Wars in Tattooing. Then it hit me; can anything really top Star Wars? Boy did I blow my whole load on my first column in the last issue! So it was time to get creative, yes, even more than usual lol. What if I interviewed a real-life celebrity from a pop-culture show that we all loved as kids? Better yet, I could ask him the type of questions that most interviewers are too pussy to ask. And guess what, he was cool enough to answer every damn one! On top of that, he has decided to be my guest at the 2014 Liverpool Tattoo Convention. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Butch Patrick (AKA) Eddie Munster!
Let’s get right to it. Do you ever get sick of Eddie Munster or do you embrace it after all the years? Sometimes you get “THE” fan who’ll test your metal for sure! But 99.9% of the time it’s EZ breezy. After all, when everyone loves to watch the show with their kids AND grandkids that’s something really special! PLUS I’ve seen my likeness inked on 100’s of people too!
Do you look at these fans that cos-play (dress up in costume) and take shit too literally like; get a life it was a damn television show, or are you flattered by it? As someone once said imitation is the highest form of flattery, then cos-play is KINDA an imitation I guess. Outside the game then I say just keep it “real” guys.
Tell me a talent you have that the public might not know about? I’m a helluva good driver and I KNOW I must of been a race car driver in my past life. But many people aren’t aware that I’m a pretty funny guy (:
So you are headed to the Liverpool Tattoo Convention in 2014 as an honored guest since it is a horror-themed show. Have you travelled to England before and what do you expect the reception to be like? Yes, I stopped in London on my way to Transylvania a few years ago. I enjoyed the history angle VERY much. I love the Beatles and look forward to seeing Liverpool. I KNOW the show “The Munsters” has a global following. Plus, since I missed the Beatles when they visited the studio, this will be a special trip for me.
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Do you have any tattoos, and if so, who is your artist? Yes one. It’s very symbolic and unique. It’s the comedy & tragedy masks reversed, having a filmstrip woven through with my sobriety date. Tattoo Tony Rodriguez my old sober friend did it at his Under My Skin shop in Atlantic Highlands, N.J He’s really gifted and does ALL Bret Michaels ink as well, amongst others!
You are so immersed in the tattoo culture that a tattoo ink company named a color after you. Tell us about that whole process and what it means to you? This new development is right in my wheelhouse. It’s the right industry at the right time as we’re celebrating the Munsters 50th anniversary in 2014! I’m already friends with Tony, and acquainted with Kat Von Dee, Amy Nicolette and Riggs, heavy metal guitarist and owner of Monster Tattoo in Branson, Mo. There are certain areas of business I’m really at home with. Cars, because of my association with George Barris for 50 years, Chuck Jones cartoons and screenings of The Phantom Tollbooth “his only feature film,” and now the INK industry. Excellent stuff!!
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Okay you don’t have to name names, but tell us the name of a famous actress who you slept with or wanted to sleep with? I really stayed out of Hollywood relationships as a rule, too much maintenance and baggage. BUT, one event in ‘72 stands out. During my brief record tour with Metromedia Records we were “relaxing” in the Hamptons when a woman running point for David Bowie’s tour came running out of this house. She proceeded to shout at the top of her lungs “where’s that teenybop star I’m going to rape”? She was none other than Cherry Vanilla the most famous groupie ever! So THAT was how my evening went. I even wound up in her book, “HOT” What about you? All that T & A getting ink. Speaking of ink, I know some women find the act of getting ink arousing. Any comment from you Chris? UMMM, I love my fiance’ lol. No comment
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Did you have a boyhood crush on any of your costars? Yup. Marilyn Munster herself, Beverly Owen. She did the first 13 episodes and I was GaGa over her. She actually took me to see Mary Poppins at Graumanns Chinese Theater. I like to think of it as my first date. Right (:
Did you get in to trouble with drugs and shit like most childhood actors, or were you able to stay clear of it all? Nope I was in to it deep for 41 years. In ‘69 I starred in a movie shot in Brazil for three months without a parent or teacher. When I returned I was…let’s say different. My sister said at my one year chip gathering, I left as Richie Cunningham and returned as John Lennon! Good news is I got sober Under the SKIN70
Nov 21 2010. I was lucky as I survived on one kidney since ‘74, broke my back in ‘01 and beat cancer two years ago. Seems someone wants me alive for a while!
I always see you in a leather jacket and jeans, looking kind of like a punk or rock type guy, is that the kind of music you are in to? That’s my comfy look. Hot Rods and riding my Harleys require that attire. My best days are spent around cars and anything with wheels. With the Munsters having the FIRST Hot Rods on TV I was weaned on loud n’ fast cars, I spent years at the drags with Jack Chrisman who invented the Funny Car class after winning the very first NHRA top Fuel title in ‘61
As an iconic horror actor, are you actually a fan of the genre? If so, what’s some of your favorite movies? I love the B/W genre. Maybe because our show was B/W. Modern films such as Raging Bull, Paper Moon and Psycho also come to mind. Older classics like The Thing and the Creature from the Black Lagoon still stand out, and of course old Universal monster classics are wonderfully done.
Who has Butch Patrick met that actually made him a little star-struck? Good question as I’ve been blessed with the good fortune of working and meeting some BIG names. I’ll just give 5 in random order. Walt Disney, because geez he’s DISNEY!!! Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone, my most favorite series ever. Evel Knievel, we became friends and I was awestruck even after we were buds. He was THE biggest presence on earth in his day. What a showman AND rider. A couple of rockers I just recently met also come to mind, Alice Cooper and Ace Frehley. Tons more but it’s not a novel is it?
Being from the real Springfield (Oregon) myself, I am a huge fan of The Simpsons. I remember you being on an episode. For strictly personal and selfish reasons can you tell me what it was like or what you had to do for it? Yea! I was hoping to get the call for that one. I was a big fan since ‘89. Pretty easy gig actually. They flew me out to Fox LA and I went into the recording studio expecting to see SOMEONE from the show. Nope :(. There was just a writer and an engineer. I got some great gifts though. My favorite, is the jacket given only to “guest” voices. It is a letterman style red/black with my name. Very cool to say the least. I’m looking forward to the wrap party someday. Can you imagine the list of other “guest” voices I could me hanging with?
So that about wraps it up (sorry for the Hollywood pun). I want to thank Butch for being such a good sport and bravely answering all the questions in the best interview he has ever done lol.
Chris 51 Area 51 Tattoo / Formula 51 facebook.com/chris.fiftyone
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Nick and Rachel Baldwin
Interview: Ness Hay
Nick and Rachel Baldwin are a married couple. They are both tattoo artists. They work together, live together, grow together and are very much supportive of each otherâ€™s work.
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Why tattooing? When did it all begin? NICK- It began for me through listening to alternative music… The bands I listened to had terrible tattoos and I loved them. Inspiring me to get my very own terrible tattoo, and that in turn planting the seed for the craft of tattooing. RACHEL- As a teenager I was pretty flipping punk rock. So.. a tattoo was the ultimate accessory for my getup. Once the skin had been broken; I fell in love with tattoos and wanted to know more!
How did you meet? We joke that we were the last MySpace romance. But honestly; MySpace. Cheeky comments on each other’s tattoo pictures, led to full-blown MSN messenger chats. That in turn led to a tattoo swap, so we each have a tattoo by the other person from the very first time we met. Well that’s what Nick thinks. I stalked him from a far for a while.
Describe your first date?
Do you manage to keep home life and work life separate or is the studio just like an extended home? The studio is definitely like an extension of our home. We’ve intentionally made it like that though, we want it to feel like you’re getting tattooed in a relaxed atmosphere, there’s lots of cool shit on the walls, interesting stuff that we’ve collected together.
To date what has been the most rewarding point within business when you sat as a couple and smiled? Probably only very recently. Its been so manic that we haven’t been able to distinguish home life from work life (not that you ever really switch off as a tattooist). Getting health registered was a nice feeling, like a stamp of authority, that and getting stickers made. Everybody loves a sticker with their own name on.
After the tattoo swap, it was literally a week after we went on a ‘date’. It was snowing, making Urmston look at least 1000% more romantic, Rachel laughed so hard at my hilariousness she head butted a Latte into my lap at Costa. I should have taken this as a warning that she was ‘special’.
New studio, fresh start, how is it going so far?
In the build up to conventions, who does what? Or do you both just do your own?
Rachel upon marrying Nick, did you consider keeping your own name for your art or was it just love and natural?
Rachel would take a whole caravan of crap to a convention if she could, so it kind of works out that Rachel takes 3 of everything we need, and I have to sift through the unnecessary stuff so we can fit it in our car. We don’t really share stuff haha Nick doesn’t like to share. So we both have a full set up, plus Rachel’s excess shit. I like to be prepared! I really enjoy working conventions but I do find them quite stressful....my hoarder instincts kick in!
What is the hardest part and best part about being married to a person that does the same job as you? Easily the best part is that someone truly understands the difficult bits about the job, and gets excited by the same stuff. We can show each other pictures of tattoos and art, we know what each other likes, and its really nice to get a bit of constructive criticism… Although Rachel can dish it out, but not take it hahaha. The hardest bit is deciding who does the crap jobs like cleaning the house and making dinner, as we both know the kind of day the other has had!
It’s going amazing. Better than we hoped for really, we’re both busy with regular customers that have come with us, its nice to know people dig your work and are willing to travel to get it.
RACHEL: I never thought I was the marrying type. But it’s true what they say about meeting ‘the one’. Your ideals change and you want new things. I was happy to take his name and carried it on into my work because I also saw that as a new start. It kind of put a line under what I had been doing before. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a Baldwin?
What does the future hold? Babies. World domination. Trips to Las Vegas and Japan. A Pizza oven in the back garden. We’re not trying to work less conventions, we’re trying to only work the quality ones, so a few conventions here and there.
When you are away from work what would be your perfect day together? If a day had 56 hours and we could fit it all in, I’d say…. Shopping, a spa, fossil hunting on a deserted beach, sushi, wine, a film, a snooze, Pizza, beer, and a UFC where GSP gets knocked out.
Do you both enjoy hobbies outside of tattooing? Is there a lot of creative tension between you? Two creative people MUST have explosive arguments surely? RACHEL: Haha not really for us at all. Nick is far too easy going to ever be explosive! We get a bit snippy at each other but that’s normally solved with some pizza and wine. As for creative tension, we help each other out more than work against each other. NICK: Rachel is a bottomless pit of insane ideas. She’s the brains behind this operation. The crazy crazy brains.
Not really…. Our lives are pretty tattoo-centric, we always flake on our friends in favour of sitting in front of the telly doodling. Rachel is a craftoholic, but she’s got the attention span of a field mouse, so really, she likes to play with a glue gun for 15 minutes and leave Nick to clean it up.
What are each other worst habits at home and work? Nick is perfect, and Rachel is Messy.
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Interview: Sam Boyce
Sam Boyce on Apprenticeships With the popularity and huge influx of tattoo studios upon the high streets there is also a current trend in becoming a tattooist. Once upon a time you had to earn your apprenticeship, you had to gain the respect of the one local tattoo artist and you were honoured if the trade was passed onto you. This ethos still stands within many of the good studios. Some of the great tattoo artists simply have no interest in passing on the trade as no one has ever approached them that they felt worthy of their time, attitude, and artistic ability. Old school artists feel that there was nothing wrong with the old style tattoo apprenticeship so why change it? Why should it be easy in a profession that was never handed to them on a plate? I spoke to Sam Boyce following our interview in edition one. I wanted to establish what he felt was needed in an apprenticeship. He said after five wannabes the sixth was finally worth his effort. Sam has been tattooing for twenty nine years, working in England and Germany and is still turning out great tattoos, daily. If I was born gifted with the art of drawing, Sam would be one of the men I would want to teach me. BY Simon Bell
“Seven years back in England after working in Germany and I now had a new studio. The regular occurrence was one wannabe after another walking into the shop, some with no artwork to show and some with absolute crap thrown thoughtlessly together in a tatty old folder. I’d been away over twelve years in Germany, everything had changed it never used to be like this I thought? Very few have the standard, I just expect great art, a real passion for tattooing (anyone can talk the talk) total honesty and hard work with an ability to accept criticism. This may seem easy but believe me, anyone who can fit this description is a real rarity Want to learn to become a tattooist? Well here is how. Work hard, draw every spare minute of every day, and build a portfolio of your work with as many styles as possible. Look at what you are doing without blinkers because I will tell you if I feel you would be better off filling supermarket shelves! If you are good enough, expect to be pushed to the limit. You will be there to make the tea, answer the phone, clean the toilet with your tongue, clean the workspaces between clients, don’t expect to pick a tattoo machine up for at least a year, you have to prove you are worth my time and effort! Expect no pay, you have to work for what I might give www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 76
to you, why should it be easy? It wasn’t for us, and even harder for the ones before us, respect that at all times. If I feel you are not right you will be history, it’s funny how the boss becomes the arsehole!” (SAM BOYCE) BY Simon Bell
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Each edition we will be discussing apprenticeships: Artists that are the tattooing future and the artists that paved their way. To commence, I spoke to apprentice Simon Bell currently working at Design 4 Life. How did you go about getting your apprenticeship for tattooing? I was already getting tattoos that I’d drawn myself before I’d even thought about an apprenticeship, and a local tattooist asked if I would draw him some flash of dark, moody skulls. That soon became the start of a portfolio which I began showing to every studio within reach. Over the course of a few years I swept those studios systematically for prospective apprenticeships but there was never anything available. When I had the means to travel further afield to more and more studios, I realised how the nature of accessing the industry differed from my preconception; the artists that had been in the business longest didn’t like how I would show up at their studio simply asking for an apprenticeship as if it was just another job vacancy. “It doesn’t work like that” was the immediate response I had from one artist, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. It changed my perception of what it would take to get into the tattooing industry. I soon knew that being taken on by a studio became less of an employment, and more of an investment into me on a very personal level.
What are your main duties so far? Aside from cleaning and sterilising equipment, I spend most of my time on reception interacting with clients face-to-face, via phone or online. Any time in between is spent drawing, as we get a lot of custom design requests which is excellent practice for me as they’re always diverse and often out of my comfort zone. I do get to watch the artists at work on occasion, but the studio is always a busy environment and there’s always something that needs doing or somebody to help. I imagine that I’ll get to observe the tattooing process more intensively as my apprenticeship progresses.
Are you allowed to tattoo anyone yet? I haven’t yet, and I’m often met with surprise from family and friends that I’ve been at the studio for 10 months without doing so. It’s easy to underestimate the length of time it takes someone to become ready to tattoo another person it will be a big step for me and it needs to be approached slowly and correctly. There are many occupations in which the best way to learn is to be thrown in at the deep end, but tattooing definitely isn’t one of them. When the time comes, I expect undoubtedly that I will be set back to square one; the transfer of everything I know about creating an aesthetically pleasing image to a completely unfamiliar and reactive medium won’t come easily, but I am determined to put in all the effort it requires to become proficient.
refine existing ones and express ideas in different, unique ways was stifled by a distracting and non-challenging environment. Since I’ve left formal education, I’ve done more to educate myself and it’s been a much faster and engaging process, which is why I consider myself, on the whole, a self-taught artist. However, that is not to say that I haven’t learnt anything from others at all. When I was very young I could imagine things that I wanted to draw but would get very frustrated that I couldn’t relay them onto paper, and my dad would sit with me and teach me the importance of patience when it came to being creative. I still consider those the most important lessons I’ve ever had, as I genuinely can’t remember the last time I became impatient with a piece of art.
Which artists inspire you? In retrospect I knew nothing about the tattoo industry when I decided to seek an apprenticeship, and as such I am still discovering new and amazing artists from across the world every day, and the standard of work that I see is perpetually raising the bar of what I thought was achievable in tattooing. I take inspiration from many well-known artists and all for different reasons; I revere the heavy-stylisation and vibrancy from artists like Tanane Whitfield and Jesse Smith, and also the graphic technicality, perplexing abstraction and unique impact of Xoil’s work which is instantly recognisable. Neo-traditionalism is a style that probably intrigues me the most, and a particular advocate that springs to mind is Sneaky-Mitch Allenden for his consistently striking depictions of wildlife which always piques my interest. By far though, the artist I admire the most is Jeff Gogue, and not just for the standard of his work – which is incredible – but for the sheer amount of creativity he is able to express and through different outlets in different ways. On a more direct level, I am inspired by the artists I work around because I see every step of their creative process and they are always on hand to critique, assist or bounce ideas off – and that happens both ways, which makes me value my own opinions instead of suppressing them under the burden of inexperience. For these reasons I look forward to working alongside them as a fully-fledged tattoo artist, and in turn to inspire any that may similarly look up to me in the years to come.
BY Simon Bell
Tell me a bit about your arty back ground, do you have art education? My education in art doesn’t go beyond A-Level, and during my latter years in education I don’t recall a substantial improvement at all. The desire to learn new techniques, Under the SKIN77 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 77
Amy www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 78
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Mainstream Media Mockery of Women with Tattoos I will hold my hand up and happily admit I have not bought a newspaper in years, they bore me. Current affairs are sent direct to my phone; I read selected segments of the news that have an interest to me. Endless celebrity drone from journalists with huge egos and small closed minds, why allow them space within my mind? My Facebook newsfeed filtered through a newspaper article that was hard to ignore. Headlined â€œJodie Marsh attempts a feminine look in a fitted evening dress... that shows off her manly sleeve tattooâ€? I would not claim to be a fan of Miss Marsh, I do not know her personally so it is not my place to give a personal character assassination. I do not know the journalist behind the article, maybe he was being controversial to get his name known, who knows? It did highlight for me that as a woman with many tattoos, there are other people who think differently. I have never considered myself manly and can certainly conduct myself in a feminine, sophisticated manner. What right did this man have to claim that a sleeve is manly? I asked a female tattooist her views upon this article. Lee SweetMolly Malone is a tattooist at Suburban Ink Tattoo Studio;
Top to Bottom: Amy, Tinks, Sam, Emy Claire
Lee Sweet-Molly Malone facebook.com/lee.a.malone Under the SKIN79 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 79
“AGGHhhuuum! Is the rather large choking noise I made to clear my throat from the bilious lump of rage that welled in me after reading Jason Chester’s article peppered with sensational photos in the Daily Mail. Written in typical condescending form and placed next to an article on high heels. Whatever next? Lingerie pictures next to an article on female truck drivers? Could this publication be any clearer of its views on tattooed women? He had honed in on Jodie Marsh as the ever media hungry victim. Insulting her, visually and literally whilst under the guise of a story. Attempting a back handed compliment about her trying to look “sophisticated”. I do hope he sits comfortably on his perfect pedestal! It’s a girl in a dress at the end of the day! The reason ‘classy’ doesn’t pull off, is we all know of Jodie’s history in the media; ranging from Jordan’s scantily clad underdog, to the biking lesbian, to the wannabe tattooist and onto the bronzed body builder. Now the Essex gal done good??? My qualm is not with Jodie however. She is who is she is, and does as she pleases. Rightly so, good for her. It’s an admirable quality and she is an empowered woman with tattoos. My issue is with the mainstream media who make an utter mockery of a serious and highly skilled industry. Tattoos have been around for centuries and have witnessed and coincided with feminist movements. In the late 19th Century, when tattoos were for the upper classes and were highly expensive, ‘Elite’ women adorned themselves with tattoos as a sign of rebellion. www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 80
Queen Victoria was reputed to have one of a Bengal tiger. Lady Randolph Churchill had one of a snake around her lower arm. Do these names exude common or manly and more importantly… does this matter? Or is merely the evidence of a strong woman whom is able to make a decision and stand by it a threat to men? Seemingly it is Chester’s opinion that deems it unfeminine or masculine? It’s a whole double standard with tattoos…. Unseen ones are subtle and feminine in the eyes of the public. Large, in your face tattoos deem you a social outcast. Women get tattooed for a whole number of reasons. Trust me, I know. Being a female tattooist I hear every reason. All walks of life have them nowadays, from the rich to the poor. The difference being, the quality of the tattoo (a whole other issue!) Whereby if they are done well and beautifully, can enhance a woman’s femininity. Irrelevant of which, women have the right to get them, just as bold and as in your face as Jodie Marsh! Tattoos are empowering, serve as therapy for some and say to the world I am who I am. Hate them or love them they do not define a person into class, the quality of the tattoo says more about the person, in my opinion, their seriousness towards tattooing as an art form, which it is, unlike this ridiculous media frenzy of the tattooing culture whereby tarring all “tattooists” with the same brush!
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For your budget tattoo you can go to a “scratcher” or a studio, pick something off a wall and have it put onto you, along with the several hundred other people in the world. For your quality tattoo you can consider what you would like, then choose an artist. RESEARCH your chosen artist, let them draw up your dream tattoo and have an exquisite beautiful piece of body art. We are in this industry because we love tattooing, most of us studied art for many years, some have degrees and masters, and worked excessively hard and sacrificed a lot to get where we are today, and we work hard and long hours, as this is not a 9-5 mon-fri job!! It’s a lifestyle. Always working, seeing and absorbing. Constantly learning and upgrading a skill set. We are committed and want to make every tattoo better than the last and be the best we can be in our field. We push boundaries of technique and would like to be appreciated amongst our peers. If we were, for example doctors, we would be praised beyond belief for our dedication to this profession. But, as long as there is a sad, ludicrous, media bandwagon there will always be the stereotype of us “colourful people”. The ones who know otherwise and love their body art, we love you. The ones on that bandwagon, stay where you are… The path you are travelling on is certainly not a true one!” Tattooed ladies have a place within society, we are amazing. However, we tend not to view the non-tattooed as harsh as some of them view us. Ref: Mail Online Wednesday, Oct 16 2013 Link http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2451701/ Jodie-Marsh-attempts-feminine-look-ruined-sleeve-tattoo. html#ixzz2hMCX66UW
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Full on INk
I was delighted when the team at Full On Ink all agreed to an interview. Often it is good to show studios as a whole rather than just interview one artist there. Many creative people work within studios that are bursting with fun, love and passion. Terry Fuller’s place is a great example of this. Interview: Ness Hay Who does what? And who are you? Laura: Terry [Fuller] is the owner, and tattoos here- he is big and burly but also the nicest most generous guy - unless you piss him off! Terry: Christopher Hallam. Valued member of the Full On Ink team. Not been at it long, but cracking out some amazing work for a guy who looks 18 but is actually 31 (no bullshit). Personally, an awesome guy and fussy as fuck just like me lol. Mark: Awww what can I say about ‘Laura Lou’? (As I like to call her...) Well... Laura Lou is fun and bubbly (most days...hehe) and is an awesome piercer who is constantly investing her time and money in being current and up to date with all things piercing related. It shows in her work. She’s hardworking, conscientious and a valued member of the team. I’m proud to say my mate as well. ☺ Chris: Oooh Marky J, what can I say? Ooh that rhymes... sweeet! Well, he’s an interesting character that’s for sure! Age is definitely just a number in this shop! Marky J, the ‘biroman’ is fuckin sick with a pen and with a tattoo machine. He’s a fuckin’ badass motherfucker and would eat your face off, but at the same time one of the gentlest sweetest guys I’ve met! He has a massive Tibetan symbol on the top of his head, which is pretty gangsta. Yet the symbolic meaning is graceful kindness. You decide!
Mark: Terry did. It means a lot to me, as it means Graceful Kindness in Tibetan and was done by a friend at Full on Ink… and it gave me a semi.
Who is the crank in the mornings without a coffee? All: None of us really! Full of beans!
Who was your hero, as a child? Terry: Rocky! Chris: Richard Taylor, a pro rollerblader I looked up to. I later had the pleasure of befriending and working with him as a skate photographer! He is also tattooed on my arm as he sadly passed away. Rest in peace homie Mark: Colt Seavers- I just wanted to be a stunt man in Hollywood. Laura: Lara Croft
Which was the first crush you ever had? Terry: Pamela Anderson [in leather]. She still is though… Chris: My French teacher Mark: Donna Batkins- I even gave her my mums’ engagement ring when we were kids. Laura: Joey from friends!
Terry you have a love of Motorbikes, what came first tattooing or motorbikes?
Which is the one job in the world that you would love to do?
Terry: Motorbikes from quite an early age, though I got my first tattoo at 15, so both quite young! But didn’t start tattooing until 23 I was a telecommunications engineer previously.
Terry: What I already fucking do haha… Or a porn star / motorcycle racer. Chris: I’ve only been tattooing since November, and until then I was working towards it for about 7 years - so this! Mark: A stuntman! As well as what I currently do. Laura: I wouldn’t mind working with animals, or fixing people’s horrendous eyebrows.
Do you ever worry that the hobby may cause an injury that would prevent work such as a fall and broken arm? Chris: He hadn’t until we fucking read that! Terr y: It’s in the back of my mind, obviously I don’t want to crash, but I don’t care if I do. #nofear #yolo
In the studio, who is the boss and who is the bitch? All: Terry’s technically the boss, but “fucking hates it”. Ryan (Saturday guy) is definitely the bitch.
Mark that is some tattoo on your scalp. Who tattooed it? www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 82
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Full on Ink 34 Port Street Evesham WR11 1AW 01386 423331 Terry: facebook.com/terryfulloninkfuller Mark: facebook.com/mark.joslin Chris: facebook.com/christopher.hallam Under the SKIN83 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 83
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Which is your favourite music and your favourite singer/band? Terry: A huge mixture of genres, so too many artists to list Chris: Hip Hop, or anything I can bob my head to Mark: Anything Laura: Rock and pop. NO dubstep.
Which T.V. programme would you never miss? Terry: No real programmes, but I follow and record UFC Chris: HOLLYOAKS! Mark: Dexter, Walking Dead, and Grand Designs to fill the void that architecture [previous job] left Laura: Currently The Great British Bake off! And have just finished Dexter and Breaking Bad. Lots of series, thanks to Netflix.
What is the last CD you bought? Terry: Zed’s Dead, ‘Undah ya skurt’, obviously Chris: I take immense pride in my vast CD collection, which I have been unable to sustain in the last few years due to being a tattoo-learning bummer- I’m looking forward to being able to buy more cd’s now that I’ve settled into my career, as I refuse to download.
Who is the person you’ve learnt the most from? Terry: I feel I’ve learnt a huge amount from myself, and past mistakes. Chris: My French teacher! Mark: Same as Terry really, it’s an industry you’re constantly learning in. Laura: There isn’t just one person, there’s always something new to learn from people; different techniques etc. The internet, various forums, even Instagram enable us to keep up with other people’s work. And I learnt to take better pictures too!
Who is the mummy in the studio that looks after you all and snuggles you? All: Nobody, though Mark likes a cuddle.
Which film do you wish you were the main character in? Terry: Rocky Chris: Taxi Driver Mark: Die Hard Laura: Hit Girl from Kick Ass
If you had to marry a fictional character from a film, who would it be? Terry: I don’t watch enough to know characters. Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire Chris: Jasmine from Aladdin Mark: Angelina Jolie as Jane Smith in Mr & Mrs Smith Laura: Tom from 500 Days of Summer
If six year old you was here right now, what would you say to little mini you? Terry: Don’t be a little cunt Mark: Don’t hurt the people who love you Chris: Put it away! Laura: Just to stand up for myself- and that people at school are mostly dicks!
Do you all like the same music or is there tension at what to listen to whilst tattooing? All: We kind of all like a bit of everything, the stereo is next to Hallam’s station so he’s basically the dj and he puts on a mixture for everyone to enjoy! We do tend to have a lot of Hip Hop or Maverick Sabre on, he’s good for a sing song. Or the Black Keys.
The things I love most about my other three colleagues are? Terry: Both the guys I work with are super hard working and passionate about tattooing which works great for business, but on a personal level I love them both to bits and we have an awesome time at the shop. Laura is awesome too makes our lives as artists a hell of a lot easier which helps us concentrate on tattooing and she is a bad ass piercer. Mark: Their commitment and dedication to the things we do and the ease that we all get on with each other, which I think we’d all agree, makes us pretty lucky and make everyday a cool day. Chris: Probably the same as what they will have said... I just love that we are all so dedicated to what we do and love what we do so much that there is never really a bad day or bad vibe! Good times! Laura: Same as the guys really, we’re all lucky to love our jobs so it’s a pretty nice atmosphere, we have fun and I’m proud of all of their work.
Piercings by Laura Jeffcutt Under the SKIN85 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 85
Christopher Hallam www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 86
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Terry Fuller Under the SKIN87 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 87
Kitty Wants a Hitty(part1) Story: Wayne Simmons Artwork: Simon K Bell
KITTY WANTS A HITTY is the prequel to PLASTIC JESUS, Wayneâ€™s brand new sci-fi thriller, available in all good bookstores, December 2013 facebook.com/wayne.simmons facebook.com/simon.k.bell
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KITTY WANTS A HITTY 1957. Vegas, the most happening bar in Lark City. Tonight the joint was dead... Ravenous zombies moved across its floor, overturning tables and stools in their wake. A dark haired young woman stood on the stage. Her name was Dolly Bird and she was tonight’s entertainment. With her appetising mix of song and burlesque, Dolly would usually go down a storm. But tonight she stood in fear, her white blouse stained red, her black skirt ripped. A single high-heeled shoe lay broken on the stage. Her shapely nylon legs weren’t dancing, instead backing away from the closing throng. She screamed as one of the dead managed to curl its fingers around her ankle. Geordie Mac watched from the other end of the bar. His revolver was smoking. Several cadavers lay wasted at his polished black shoes. He aimed the revolver once more, but it clicked on empty. “Damn!” he muttered. “Jesus Christ!” Dolly called to him. “Do something!” Geordie checked the pockets of his plaid jacket for more ammo. Fresh out. He swore loudly, ran one hand through his hair, frantically looking around the room. Dolly had grabbed the broken heel and was swinging it valiantly at the approaching dead. There were more of the bastards pouring through the doors. Geordie needed to act fast. He spotted the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, just between the stage and the bar’s front window.
cell. Stood up, snatched the towel dressing gown from its peg by the door, ppulled it on then grabbed his cell from the bed. Geordie left the bedroom, syncing the lights with his cell. His eyes narrowed, adjusting to the florescent beam spilling across the apartment. He entered the living area, finding his slippers parked on the fur carpet, next to the sofa. The Box played in the corner. It was ten thirty. Some rubber-faced crone was reading the news on Channel 3. Geordie set his cell on the coffee table. The bell rang again and he bellowed, “Alright, alright I hear you!” He reached for the snub on the door, opening it on the safety. His heart sank. “Oh for Christ’s sake… it’s you.” He closed the door, sighed, then undid the safety, opening it again. He allowed the door to swing behind him as he retreated back into the apartment. He fell into the black leather sofa, stared petulantly at the Box. A young girl pushed through, coming into the living area. She was a mess. Peroxide hair sprouted from her head. Spindly, tattooed arms dangled from the sleeves of her old NEW YORK DOLLS tee. She wore vinyl drains that made a sound as she walked. Her name was Kitty McBride. “Kitty, what are you doing here?” Geordie said, still watching the Box. “I need a fix, Geordie. I_” But Geordie’s hand was raised.
He took a deep breath, threw the spent gun at the crowd of dead pouring in from the doors. Geordie loosened his tie, climbed up onto the bar then jumped, hands reaching for the thin metal frame of the chandelier. The chandelier held, swinging Geordie towards the stage. He grabbed Dolly, scooping her up with his free arm as they were hurled towards the window. And then_ The doorbell.
“Kitty…” he began, voice gentle, fingers rubbing his temples, “I’ve told you before, sweetheart. You’re on rations.” “But I-I haven’t had any this week.” “Babe, I called by your place six days ago. Gave you the usual, and you’re telling me you haven’t had any?!” Geordie threw his arms into the air, laughed. “Come on, doll, I ain’t stupid! I know every single ounce I sell. Every fucking ounce. And you got your dues on Saturday at ten thirty. Six days ago almost,” and here he raised his finger, “to the fucking minute.” “Yeah, but I lost all that. Tried to quit, jacked it down the can.”
THE FUCKING DOORBELL! A menu kicked in, asking Geordie if he wanted to ignore the distraction and continue, but he pulled the wiretap from his head altogether, snapping out of the VR and back to his bedroom. He threw the wiretap down angrily on the bed next to his Under the SKIN89 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 89
Geordie shook his head. “Tomorrow, Kitty. Ten thirty. Not a second before.” But Kitty was persistent, moving towards him, her whole body begging. “Come on, Geordie! I just need a little to take the edge off, see me through.” “No.” “I can get the cash, sync it to you.” “It’s not about the freaking money!” Geordie drew a heavy sigh. “Look, Kitty, I’ll be honest with you. Your pop is Paul Mc Bride, biggest gangster in this whole damn city. If he finds out you’re here talking this shit with me, it’ll be my balls on the line. Don’t you get it? He wants you cutting down, girl, and what Daddykins wants, he gets. Right?!” “Geordie,” she said, almost sobbing now, “I’ll do anything for that hit. Anything you want.” She drew closer to him, bent down on her knees, reached her hands under his dressing gown. But Geordie shuffled away. He grabbed her wrists, held them tight, shaking her as he spoke.
Kitty needed other options. She thought of Charles 7, the tech hack down by the markets in Cathedral Quarter. She thought of thieving something for him, a cell or wiretap or credit card, anything she could trade for cash. She thought of her own cell, of how much she could get for it, even though trading your cell in this day and age was like trading a kidney. She was thinking of trading a kidney when she slammed against someone in the crowd. “Hey, watch where you’re going, ye little rag!” An older woman glared at her. She was glamorous to a fault, decked out in leather and real fur. Her dark hair shone in the bright, neon lights of the street. Her face was smooth and polished, like the mannequins that smiled at you from the boutiques down by Cathedral. This was Dolly Bird. “Hey Dolly,” Kitty said, her eyes looking down, her face blushing. Dolly’s voice was full of surprise. “Kitty. You look… terrible.”
“Are you out of your fucking mind?!” He pushed Kitty away, stood up, and marched angrily towards the window. He leaned against the glass, blowing out some air, looking across his first floor view of Lark City’s Titanic Quarter. His head was shaking again. “Get out, Kitty,” he said. She went to talk more but he turned, this time his voice raised, “Get out, get out, get out!” Kitty slammed her fist against the $900 coffee table beside the sofa. She made a beeline for the door, head held low, swearing under her breath. She banged the door behind her, leaving Geordie standing by the window. He watched through the glass as she left the apartment block, her tiny little body swallowed up by the crowds below. Titanic Quarter. A place of money. Its stink hung in the air like poisoned gas. Yet, Kitty had nothing. No money. No dope. She moved through the crowd, mind buzzing, stomach churning, sick with desire. Every part of her was focused on one thing: where to get that hit. Geordie wasn’t the only dealer in Lark. There were others. But they’d want more money and, regardless of how a place like Titanic might lead you to think otherwise, money didn’t come easy. She thought of what Geordie had said about her dad. Paul McBride had money. He controlled most of Lark’s black market. Everyone, including Geordie, answered to Paul McBride. She could call him up, tell him what was happening, make him talk to Geordie, convince him to give her the dope. But she hadn’t talked to her dad in years. Not properly. And this would involve a proper talk, one where she spoke instead of just nodding or grunting. www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 90
Kitty shuffled awkwardly, smiled. She glanced at her fingernails, scratching them with her thumb, then went to move but Dolly placed a hand on her shoulder. “Hey. Wanna grab something to eat? My shout.” An idea suddenly dawned on Kitty. “Yeah, maybe,” she said, smiling at Dolly. “Thing is, I’m kinda in a hurry. If you sync me some cash, though, I could grab something later.” But Dolly’s head was shaking. “Kitty, do you know how many years I was an addict?” Kitty didn’t know. She didn’t care. “Look, kid, I’ll square with you. I’m on a break. Got a bit of time before the next client. So what say I shout you a coffee and a bite to eat. Come on, we can catch up. Hey, you know that new_” But Kitty was already walking, leaving Dolly mid-sentence. The other woman’s voice trailed off, swallowed by the noise of the crowd as Kitty left the main square at Titanic and moved into Lark’s central throughway. An excited babble greeted her, the same babble she’d hear every weekend as people began their hunt for pleasure, seeking out wine and song and whatever fetish made their lives complete. Kitty turned onto Tomb Street, Lark’s red light district. It weaved through the city like a spooked snake, filled with peep shows and freak shows and endless parades of painted ladies, dancing like tattooed marionettes. Its main attraction was the Penny Dreadful whorehouse, a Fancy Pants brothel where stuck-up broads like Dolly Bird worked, dames who’d look down on a common street whore like Kitty. Under the SKIN90
But Kitty didn’t care. She had more pressing business to attend to; that burning in her veins calling her, begging her. She needed a hit and she needed it bad. She found Vegas. This was Tomb’s most popular bar. Converted from an old church, Vegas stood between two strip clubs, name written above its window in red neon lettering. Kitty pushed through the saloon style doors. The joint’s owner-cum-server, known simply as the Bar Man, stood in front of his taps and bottles as if on guard. He was cleaning a glass. Their eyes met as she came in, neither smiling at the other.
deadpan. “I need a hit.” Toothpick looked to the others, eyes narrowing. One of the men burst into laughter. Toothpick relaxed, a wide grin spreading across his face as he turned back to Kitty. “What’s your name, kid?” he said, eyes searching every inch of her from toe to head. “Kitty.” He smiled, looking to the other guys. “Kitty wants a hitty!” he said, much to their hilarity.
“Water,” Kitty said to him, but he was already pouring it. He slid the glass across the bar and she lifted it.
But Kitty didn’t flinch. Her voice was urgent. “Do you have any?” she said.
She found her usual spot at the back of the room, a red plastic sofa. Kitty removed the chequered cushions, as always, and sat down. Her tiny body bent over the table in front, hands cradling her drink. She waited, fingers tapping the glass, toes dancing, cold sweat breaking across her skin, eyes alert and searching.
“Have any what?” Toothpick said, looking to the others who gingerly started laughing again, as if he’d just cracked another joke.
It was the usual crowd in tonight. The alcos, staring at their drinks, talking to themselves. The zoneheads, wiretaps on faces, clear plastic coils running to their cells, lounging back in their seats, bodies shaking as the code flowed through, drowning their brains in whatever VR release was doing the rounds.
Toothpick looked at Kitty, his face suddenly serious. He began to circle her, pacing her like some animal. And then he paused, reaching around her back from behind, grabbing her breasts, squeezing, then relaxing his grip. Satisfied, he moved down towards her crotch. But Kitty still didn’t flinch. She didn’t even blink. This was normal. This was part of the deal when you went to someone other than Geordie. And that was fine.
Time passed slowly. Kitty could almost hear the grind of each moment, the desperate slowness of each tick of the imaginary clock in her head. Her veins felt like jagged ice now. She was getting desperate, needed that fucking hit. The pain was screwing her up, turning her inside out. Movement. Kitty’s eyes lit up. Two men made a beeline for the bathrooms. Kitty watched as a third looked around nervously before following. She waited a while before she, too, got up and followed, sliding past a drunken old throwback, his hand brushing against her vinyl-clad legs as he muttered something in her ear. The bathrooms were what you’d expect in a hovel like this. Grimy tiles. Sombre line of cubicles facing a yellow-toothed urinal. One of the taps was dripping, its constant rhythm like a countdown, like the beating of Kitty’s heart as her mouth and lips grew dry with anticipation. She found the three men huddled in the far corner. As she moved towards them, they stopped talking. “Hey,” she said, her voice echoing. “You guys dealing?” One of the men stood forward. He was tall, thin with jet black hair greased across his temples. A toothpick rattled against his teeth as he sized her up. “Get the hell out of here, kid,” he said. But Kitty didn’t move. “I’m not a kid,” she said, completely
“Smack,” she said, plainly. The three men stopped laughing.
“Not much here to hold onto,” Toothpick muttered into her ear. “Skinny little bitch, aren’t you?” Kitty turned to face him. She tipped her head to one side, looking into his face. Found his hands, pressed them against her breasts again, then reached for the zipper to his slacks. She found his cock, began to caress it, still looking at him with her dead, emotionless eyes. But his cock remained flaccid. His eyes grew wide, his hands moving from her breasts, pushing her away. He looked to the other men. One of them started to laugh again, but Toothpick was furious. He turned quickly, swinging the back of his hand hard against Kitty’s jaw. It connected and Kitty fell back, slamming her head against the off-white tiles and sliding to the floor. Toothpick came at her again, punched her in the face, pulled back, punched her again. She took it without making a sound, eyes locked closed, lips curled up against her teeth. Both hands were raised to her face, bending against each blow. Her nose broke with a crack. She heard Toothpick step away. She allowed one eye to open, finding him still towering over her; fist clenched; a half-smile-half-grimace on his face; that fucking pick still rattling between his teeth. His white shirt had blood on it. Her blood. “Please,” Kitty said...... To be continued..... Under the SKIN91 www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 91
Galway city may not be the biggest city in Ireland but it definitely has the biggest heart, it’s also been heralded as the fastest growing city in Europe. From narrow streets a buzz with activity and Irish culture to amazing landscapes and seascapes - Galway has it all…. Well it does now following this years inaugural Galway Tattoo Convention. Galway is renowned as the cultural heart of Ireland and is nicknamed “The City of Tribes”. Over this September weekend it was the turn of Tattooed Tribes to gather, and gather they did. The Radisson Blu Hotel was a splendid choice of venue, a stones throw from the heart of the city, well appointed and with a view to die for. It even had its own Sushi restaurant in which I popped my Sushi Cherry. Arriving at the show it was clear that the organisers had put the show together with passion and consideration for artists and collectors alike, good sized booths, food and drink on hand, varied and non obtrusive entertainment, great pre-show and after show parties and something I liked particularly, big screen TV’s keeping everyone informed of what was happening and when. Around 90 artists displayed their talents, the artists where predominantly Irish but there was a good splattering of International Artists also and the quality of the work produced over the weekend was out of this world. There was a good selection of trade stalls including the Leu Family, an art gallery and also screening of the Tattoo Nation movie. There are many symbols associated with Galway including the Claddagh Ring, Galway's own symbol of love and friendship and I think the Claddagh sums the show up well, made with love and a friendly relaxed atmosphere. In summary a roaring success, a credit to Martin, Melissa and their team and I for one look forward to visiting the Emerald Isle again in 2014 for the Galway Tattoo Convention’s 2nd outing, Keep an eye on their website www.galwaytattooshow.ie for more information and dates.
Galway Tattoo Show By Ant Nicholls
Photo by John McCaughey at www.spotthespirit.com
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Photo by John McCaughey at www.spotthespirit.com
Photo by John McCaughey at www.spotthespirit.com
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Photo by John McCaughey at www.spotthespirit.com
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Photo by Line 8 Photography
and the winners are.... Best Small Black & Grey - Daragh Locke from Soul Addiction Tattoo Best Small Colour - Bartek Kos from Kult Tattoo Fest Best Portrait / Realism - Remis Best New School - Rob Mulligan from Colour Works Tattoo Studio Best Tribal / Black Work - Tony Booth from Dabs Tattoo. Best Trad / Neo Trad - Amy Savage from Jayne Doe Best Oriental - Darren Brauders from Colour Works Tattoo Studio Best Large Colour - Peter McGarry by Darren Brauders from Colour Works Tattoo Studio Best Large Black & Grey - Joe Westcott from Inkfingers Custom Tattoo Studio Best of Saturday - by jan Fordan from Jantattoo Best of Sunday - Step by Oddboy from Real Art Best of Show - by Jan Fordan from Jantattoo
Photo by John McCaughey
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Tattoo Art Immortalised - Paul Sayce
Article by Paul Sayce
Skin the bodyâ€™s biggest organ, the lifeblood of the tattoo artist. Without it we would be nothing. But would you say its art? Art to hang on a wall, to look at in a picture framed photograph. It certainly wonâ€™t last as long as the buildings around us, or the history that we learn.
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And without doubt our skin will only last for as long as we do. For as sure as this is being written all human and animal forms will someday die. Turn to dust. Be gone but not forgotten, if we are lucky. Will it matter then? To some it might, to others it won’t, and its the same in the little land in the far off few in down old Tokyo way in Japan, except that is, for a few skins that will possibly live forever. And it was during the 1999 Tokyo tattooing convention, when a select few of us were invited for possibly the very last time to view the human tattooed skin collection at Tokyo’s Universities pathology department. Why the last? Well it’s because it has become increasingly more difficult for the University staff over the years in dealing with members of the public, who just turn-up, expecting to be shown the pathology department to see the tattooed skin collection, believing the place to be a museum, of which it is not. So when the lucky few of us were asked by Hanky Panky (who arranged it) ‘Would we like to see the collection’, you could just visualize how we felt, very privileged and honoured indeed. The only condition of our invites was that we were not to tell anyone about it, not until after, as the University didn’t want a lot of people ambling their way through the corridors of learning. And considering that nearly everyone who flew in for the Tokyo convention would have wanted to see the place, you could understand the Universities point in thinking. I suppose in retrospect the act of tattooed skins in frames and placed upon mannequins would repel most, excite a few and astound many. But whatever the case maybe, to see it for ones self was something that would be so very special to us, the lucky ones. The first time I ever heard of the tattooed skin collection in Tokyo’s, Japan. Was when in the 1980’s Lyle Tuttle’s magazine ‘Tattoo Historian’ came into my possession, and I couldn’t believe what I saw, tattooed skins. Skinned from dead people, and some were over one hundred and fifty years old, which in a way made it even more unbelievable for me.
them to the back of my mind, as never in a million years, did I think I would ever get the chance to see it in the flesh myself one day. But that day did come some 15 years or so later, when I along with Lal Hardy, George Bone, Terry Bartram, Freddie Cobin, Ron Ackers, Danny Skuse, Mick from Switzerland (Mick’s wife), Permanent Mark, Charlie Roberts, Luke Atkinson, Annemarie Beers, Naresh Bhana and Horitoshi visited the day after the first Japanese International tattoo convention of October the 4th 1999. Our meeting point was the ‘Sunroute hotel’, when at precisely 1.30pm we all eagerly marched the short walk to ‘Shinjuku Station’. Where after paying the fee of about three US dollars, and a couple of platform changes later, we found ourselves walking along sunny streets, landing us at the university gates in very good time, some 45 minutes after leaving starting point. Now, we waited, our guide was there waiting for us and he was very pleased to see us, but there was a problem, for the powers to be, were a little undecided still about letting us in to see the place. And ten minutes soon became twenty, and twenty becoming half an hour. Apparently (we were told) this isn’t uncommon in Japan and all this could have been for nothing, for although we had permission to see the skins, it didn’t matter because permission could just as easily be taken away out here as quickly as it had been given. A few mutterings of discontent were being aired, more out of disappointment then anything else. Indeed I felt tortured having got so near to all of this and now it could be over before it began. When just as everyone (except Charlie Roberts, who was sure we would get in) thought we were going to lose out, the mobile phone rang to tell our guide to bring us on up.
Then one afternoon a few months later, I saw a photograph of Don Ed Hardy in the very department I would one day find myself in. These memories I’ve never forgotten, but I pushed
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What a relief. OK we had waited outside for coming up to an hour, but this was going to be worth the wait, and we all walked in as happy as Larry. Everyone except me, Charlie Roberts and Ron Ackers (who was in a wheelchair) stayed put while the others in our party were soon on their way up to 3rd Floor, via the main staircase. Charlie Roberts waited with me incase I needed a hand in getting Ron and his wheelchair up to where we had to go. Charlie needn’t have bothered really, as we were told where the lift was by a passing Japanese doctor. Well he was in a white coat, so we figured the guy was of the medical profession, besides we weren’t really bothered by then as we were off towards the lift he had so helpfully pointed out to us, and within a few seconds we were up on the third floor pushing our way past and Ron through what could only be described as medical clutter, as there were sterilizers, glass containers, bottles and a whole manner of items to negotiate before we came to the double doors of the place that we had been talking about all morning. Relief soon turned to shock - and a sort of bewilderment befell me when we walked in, and even thinking of it now, I still can’t really explain it. I suppose the best way would be to say that it was weird and at the same time enlightening. For in front of us now was something that I had only ever seen in books or on the television before. Limbs, face’s, body parts of men, women and children in bottles and glass cases with all sorts of diseases and disfigurements on display and all for the good of mankind one would hope.
deed if you didn’t know that they were flayed human skins, you would easily view them as artworks that wouldn’t look out of place in any art gallery anywhere in the world, they were that fine. Now of course the practice of removing human tattooed skins has ceased and if skin is removed anywhere in the world it is only done for medical or cosmetic reasons. Although there have been many stories in the popular press over the years from people who say that they have and want to donate their tattoo skin after death, and that is what they are, just stories as even in Japan where these romantic notions allure to, tattooed skin is no longer taken from the human body.
One of the foremost experts on tattoo history. Paul Sayce is in the Guinness Book Of Records for his immense collection of tattoo memorabilia. Paul is a walking encyclopedia of facts, information and fantastic stories of times gone by. Paul_Sayce@btopenworld.com British Tattoo History Museum, 389 Cowley Road,Oxford,OX4 2BS Telephone: +44 (0)1865 715253 Facsimile: +44 (0)1865 775610
Instantly we could see now, why only the invited are allowed visiting rights to view the specimens on display. For there were radiation burnt limbs and faces with cancers that had resulted from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki of the 6th and 9th of August 1945 and bodies laying and sitting in glass tombs forever greeted us at every turn, and something not for the faint hearted that’s for sure. What we came to see didn’t disappoint either, turning out for me to be truly fascinating in a macabre sort of way. I did for a few seconds wonder if what we were doing was right. I mean would you like the thought of someone looking at your ancestor’s skin in a hundred years time and taking photographs of it, which luckily quickly faded into insignificance especially as our guide Kunihiro Shimada was so happy for us being there that he was actively encouraging us to take as many photographs as possible. Besides, this was history and something that I knew would only ever come round for me once in a lifetime. Oh yes, a history of skin art hanging on a wall, in fact hanging on many walls, as everywhere you looked there was the delicate tattoo artwork of a long lost forgotten Japanese tattoo master looking down at us. In fairness perhaps some of the skins were better then others in some respects, with many being outstanding works of art and others just good, even-though it goes without saying that they were all so very unique in their own way. There was also two full bodied suited tattoo skins mounted onto a couple of mannequins that were of such a superior quality that they could have been done yesterday and inwww.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 98
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Raising awareness and promoting a positive image of modern Paganism and accurate representation of today’s Pagan Community. Who are Pagan Pride? Pagan Pride is a none-profit organisation created to highlight the role of the Pagan community in today’s society, by establishing a presence and bringing people together from the vast spectrum of paths within Paganism. Whilst being mainly a Pagan event Pagan Pride is open to all individuals who wish to support us, and the ethic of religious tolerance regardless of faith or personal views. Pagan Pride as an event is family friendly; people of all ages attend, and our aims are to support this level of diversity. What’s Pagan Pride All About? Pagan Pride is a celebration of the diversity within the Pagan community, aiming to raise awareness of our faith, beliefs and spirituality, as well as promoting positive images of witches, magical practice and all things Luxury Stranger and the Pagan Pride festival Nottingham Arboretum Sun 4th August. A review by John Michaels Music is my passion, and I’m always on the hunt for new bands. It’s MY thing if you like. One such new band (to me at least) was Luxury Stranger. I first read about them in Gladstone magazine. The description of their music sounded intriguing so I checked them out online. I downloaded a few tracks online and absolutely loved them. They’re from Nottingham, so as I’m only down the road in Derby I figured they’d do a local show sooner or later & I could check them out live. I saw via Facebook that they were headlining Pagan Pride in the Arboretum near the centre of Nottingham. I had no real idea what Pagan Fest was either so it was a day of new stuff www.undertheskinmagazine.co.uk Page 100
all round. The band were on at 5pm so I got down a bit earlier to have a look around. Hmmmmm, Pagan Pride is a very odd thing indeed. The place has been taken over by what can best be described as extras from Lord of the Rings. More long grey beards than I’ve ever seen before, and that was just the women. Capes, wooden staffs, incense, candles, tarot cards, were everywhere. There were stalls selling all sorts of home made “stuff” …. although I’m not altogether sure who would ever buy some of the “stuff” they were selling. It was all about peace, love, freedom of the mind and being at one with nature …… yet the Wizard’s sign said “we accept all major credit cards” I could smell the distinct aroma of bullshit so I wandered off to find the band stage. The band on before Luxury Stranger were apparently pagan’s too. They sang about fair maidens in meadows and other Under the SKIN100
such twee nonsense. As seems to be the case with uninspiring bands they seemed to go on and on. Just after 5pm Luxury Stranger came onstage and thankfully changed the tone of the whole stage area completely. The first song they played “wash” started with pounding drums cutting through the Arboretum. From the first thirty seconds alone you realise what a fantastic drummer they have in Tim Smith. Very powerful and precise. The bass then comes in courtesy of another Tim, Tim Bond. The two Tim’s gallop away into a kind of tribal rhythm along the lines of maybe Killing Joke, or even a more powerful Adam and the Ants. Simon, the vocalist & guitarist then joins in. Some of Simon’s effect “twiddling” on the first song reminded me a little of Bauhaus, which in my book is a pretty cool thing. This band are tight, powerful and full of emotion. Simon’s voice goes from a rich velvety tone to angry and manic seamlessly. What a voice! The second song, a new one has a bit of a Joy Division / Interpol/Editors sound to it. It chugs along at a good pace and makes you want to drum along as you nod your head up and down. “Korruption” gets played which veers more towards an early Pear Jam sound. It’s a close your eyes and get lost in it kind of song. “Empty men” sounds like the Cure with balls. Towards the end they played their new single “Face”, which is a proper stomper. Simon looked so focussed and angry at times while he was singing you almost wanted to take a step backwards in case he took offence to you looking at him. Another new one and my Luxury Stranger virginity had been taken. I’ll just say WOW! I know I’ve named a few other bands here as reference points which I would argue is a valid way to give an introduction to people who may not have heard the band before.
Luxury Stranger are most certainly not a rip off band though, they do however sound like…… Luxury Stranger. Alternative, post punk, new wave, grunge ….. whatever it is I very much like it. On the back of the gig I’ve ordered all their other recordings and I intend to see them play again. Support Luxury Stranger, support live music.
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