All of my tattoos are designed to enhance the body. I also want people to notice where they are, so I like to tattoo myself.
You are the owner and curator of ‘Tattoo Alley’ in London. How is it different from other shops like yours in Europe?
I have a unique and different approach to dealing with my customers. It is a very personal and private place, and you can have a long conversation with the tattoo artist and he/she is more than interested in your body. I am very open and transparent in my relationship, in order to make the tattoo work best for you.
What are some of the best reasons you have worked there?
I started working there after the death of my mother. I was so in awe of my own beauty. Also, it is very close to my childhood home. One day my mother and I walked through the shop and it just hit me that ‘This is where I wanted to be’. I was so happy, and after that day I had this new obsession with the tattoo community.
Why did you decide to start your own business instead of just selling your personal images?
Since I was a child my mother tattooed me. Then I had a friend, who introduced me to the world of ‘The Tattoo’, because she knew I wanted it. I tried to get permission from the government for my tattoos but they didn’t know what I wanted with them. I ended up with a court case where they had me arrested for violating the European Union’s ban of animal testing, and I had to stop. It was terrible, but my tattoo is what I wanted. I am not a commercial artist. I want the tattoos to tell stories, not just show an image. I don’t want people selling the image, or the money to myself. I want people to know the story behind the tattoo and the inspiration for the designs.
What are some of the drawbacks of running your own shop?
I don’t really do ‘normal’ advertising or sales people, all my customers go through my website, and I do the actual artwork.
Do you have any advice for future aspiring tattoo artists?
Get tattoos! I have seen people lose their jobs just because they have a tattoo and never applied for a job, but that’s not the end of the world.
You can find the artwork and design of the tattoos on Tattoo Alley in the following locations:
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