Following on from our exclusive Lou Hopper interview, I decided to reach out to other local Tattoo Artists. Here is my interview with Leni from Rock Steady Tattoo.
1 -How long have you been tattooing?
I have been tattooing for 5 years. Half of this time was spent back in Australia then the Midlands and now Worthing.
2 -Tell us about your current studio?
My current studio is in the centre of Worthing opposite the Pier, we chose the building due to its location, we have big bay windows that overlook the south coast so clients have something to look at whilst in pain!! Me and my wife relocated to the South Coast from the Midlands and opened the studio in 2013. It’s currently just the two of us and our apprentice working but we are looking to expand soon.
3 -What attracted you to the industry?
I worked in the film industry for 17 years as a sculptor and painter and although this was great work the novelty of living out of a suitcase and travelling a lot wore off. I was then given the opportunity to train on the Gold Coast in a tattoo studio there and transitioned into the industry.
4 -How long did you train / apprentice for?
I used to paint a lot in my spare time and exhibited my work in galleries around the Gold Coast and Sydney. A guy that bought my paintings offered me an apprenticeship so I started at that studio working 7 days a week. I think it helped a lot that I had always worked in art based jobs and this just felt like another medium for me to create artwork. I apprenticed at the studio for 6 months full time and then went back to work on a film for a while so it was something I went back to when the time was right.
5 -What would you say is your favourite part of the job?
It’s great having our own studio and having a diverse range of clients. Its one of the most creative jobs I have ever had as in the film industry everything is closely monitored and creativity is often compromised for time limits. As I am progressing in my tattoo career I am now able to play around more with style and am enjoying the whole process a lot more.
6 -Do you remember the first tattoo on a real client?
The first tattoo that I ever did was on myself, it was probably much bigger than I should of gone and I never really finished it but I actually still quite like it. My first paying client was a lady on the Gold Coast who wanted a realistic butterfly on the top of her foot, I was really nervous but it came out well.
7 -How would you describe your style as a tattoo artist?
My style has adapted over the years but recently I have been focusing on black and grey realism. I enjoy mixing images and incorporating geometric and pattern work into the composition.
8 -Are you influenced by any famous artists? tattooists or not?
The first people to catch my eye within the tattoo industry were Robert Hernandez, Alexander Grimm, Justin Hartman, Nikko Hurtado. As far as other artists go I have always loved Bernini, Escher, Giger, Rocking Jellybean and Glen Barr to name a few.
9 -What is the weirdest place you have tattooed someone?
I have tattooed a nipple and armpits before, but have managed to dodge any other crevices.
10 -Can you offer any advice to aspiring artists?
My advice would be to firstly draw and paint loads as this helps hugely when it comes to tattooing, if you are trying to get an apprenticeship make sure you admire the tattooists work that you want to train under and get tattooed by them. It’s a long path to becoming a tattooist and a lot of it depends on how much you want to succeed. I was really driven through my apprenticeship as you can’t be half hearted in this industry. Being a tattooist is not how they portray in TV shows, it’s a lot of hard work, late nights and coffee. Tattooing is more of a lifestyle than a job, it’s hard to switch off from but if you love it then it’s really rewarding.
Facebook – Rock Steady Tattoo UK
Instagram – @rocksteadytattoouk
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