I first met Stephen Byrne at Brighton Tattoo Convention and recognised his work immediately. I'd been following him for some time and loved his striking and clean traditional tattoos. I wanted to get tattooed by him but unfortunately, it wasn't able to happen that weekend, and I stood by and watched whilst Stephen produced great pieces all day. Luckily for me, though, he agreed to take some time out to answer some questions and give us the chance to showcase his work.
Sourcing its strength from modesty and restraint, Paradise’s fine-line work holds life and death in an obsessive vice-grip – offering a window into the New Zealand-hailing artist's internal landscape. Working from the outside in, real-name-Rene O’Donnell-Gibson’s delicate and disarming markings infiltrated the industry in an incredibly natural and effortless way – as if his vision of love and loss was always destined for skin. Here, Rene demystifies his otherworldly influences, the importance of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and speaks to the benefits of being a multi-disciplinary creative.
Guen Douglas is a British/French Canadian tattooer who's style frequently celebrates feminity with a blend of American traditional. Her combination of bold and delicate make for some fantastic tattoos, focusing on some very eye-catching and thoroughly refined subjects. You can spot one of Guen's ladies from a mile away; the mixture of softer subjects and a strong colour palette, combined with clean, bold lines and the perfect amount of contrast are what really define her work.Guen Douglas is now a full-time artist at Taiko Gallery, working alongside Wendy Pham, producing some of the most powerful tattoos in Berlin and carving out her niche style in the capital.
Mike Fite is a man of few word but his American traditional tattoos speak volumes. Co-owner of Gold Club Electric Tattoo in East Nashville, TN he's been tattooing for over 20 years. It seems like every day Mike tattoos something in a way I hadn't thought of before and the results are always pretty striking, so I was happy to get the chance for a few quick words with him...
The incredibly prolific, Asiago-hailing Michele Servadio has been injecting lonely, expressionistic magic into the world of tattooing for just over a decade - pushing the boundaries of the craft through experimental "rituals" and textural illusions. Fascinated by tradition and the cultural phenomena of tattooing, Servadio quickly became a key figure in London's underground art and music scene upon moving to Hackney Wick. Here, he demystifies the influence of environment on his enigmatic work, his love for life-drawing and how reality constantly bleeds into his creations.
When I first got started in tattooing, I remember being blown away by the work coming out of Australia. The ever changing style of neo-traditional being pushed out by the heavyweight giants from the other side of the world melted my mind. Wendy Pham, one of the many incredible talents from across the seas, was one of my biggest influences back then so to get the opportunity to chat with her and pick her brain was incredibly humbling.Wendy's blend of westernised Japanese with strong neo-trad elements really does stand out a mile, making for some incredibly refreshing tattoos. Wendy Pham now works from Taiko Gallery in Berlin alongside the equally talented Guen Douglas so we caught up with them at the 10th annual Brighton Tattoo Convention, with Guen's interview following soon.
Kelly Violet’s world-renowned work is an incredible demonstration of craft, forward-thinking and hyper-creativity in an industry that too often leans on the past, or sees artists relying too heavily on ephemeral trends. Having gathered her dedicated following thanks to her commitment to pushing for pure and lasting work, the unforgiving Goliath-force speaks with Nine Mag about what it is to be a "terrible perfectionist", and how her concerns will always start and end with producing a tattoo that will stand the test of time - even if the sacrifices involve sanity.
Coming from humble beginnings in Southern California, Vetoe has hustled hard to get his tattoo career going. We wanted to find out how he got started producing some superb black and grey pieces. With strong Christian and Mexican themes throughout his extensive portfolio, you can really tell how his surroundings influenced him heavily from a young age.
Reflecting the towering, stone-grey steel of his beloved home-soil, Mark Judges' "violent, humorous and idiotic" work speaks to the chaotic and all-encompassing nature of London. Through hijacking suggestive mysticism and crude surrealism - effortlessly balancing the dramatic and the absurd, Mark flies the flag of brutal local tradition. In conversation with Nine Mag, the "recovering punk" demystifies the ways in-which his work co-opts old images to convey new messages, and walks us through the disarming nature of his tender, romantic and overly-honest warpaint.
Brody Polinsky is a Berlin-based tattoo artist and queer activist who creates spontaneous ornamental work out of his private, inclusive space UNIV ERSE. In conversation with Nine Mag, Brody demystifies his beginnings in tattooing, the intentions behind UNIV ERSE and how he sees his bold, pattern-grid world evolving.