Amber-Jay is a Birmingham based tattoo artist and mum of 1, who has recently completed her apprenticeship and has a fantastic portfolio complete with a variety of bright coloured pieces. When we reached out to Amber-Jay. From her first message, it was obvious to us that she is a gem. So this is what happened when we interviewed Amber-Jay.
Who are you and where do you work?
I’m Amber-Jay, I work at Ink.tattoo Lounge in Birmingham UK where I started and completed my apprenticeship and now as a full-time artist.
Tell us a random fact about yourself:
People can never place my accent because I moved so much in my teens. It’s kind of a weird Birmingham and Devonshire mix.
How long have you been a tattoo artist and how did you get into tattooing?
I started my apprenticeship in March 2017 and completed it the start of this year, so I’m very new to the industry!
Becoming a tattoo artist kind of fell into my lap of random opportunities. I was left with not much after a 6-year long relationship ended and with a 2-year-old (at the time) to raise on my own. I got messaged by an old friend who offered to train me up to help give me something to work towards as he had watched my artwork and doodles over the years. Unfortunately, he left the studio not long after and I was extremely lucky that my boss/shop owner saw potential and took me on whom I am forever grateful.
I worked 2 days a week for just under 2 years due to child care expenses and finally took the leap January this year to full time and have never looked back. I never would have thought I’d be here now 2 years ago.
Your boss Lee sounds like a legend to us!
What/who influences you on your journey?
My boss and good friend Lee Dewell
influences me a lot, he knows when I need a push and isn’t scared to tell me in the nicest way. I owe a lot to that man.
Outings with my son influence me a lot too. If we take a trip to the sea life centre you can bet there will be a marine-themed flash sheet to follow. Same with botanical stuff and so on. I find inspiration on all of our adventures. Not only that but I do everything to give him a good life and he loves coming into the studio to see us all.
If you could have 3 guests to dinner, dead or alive who would you pick?
Hmm, this is a tough one. I’m not really one for celebs or highly known people so I’m straight away thinking of those close to me through my journey of tattooing. I don’t think my boss and the gang would want yet another dinner with me so…
My good friend Jon Doe Hendricks
who lives in California, we watched each other grow through our apprenticeships and still haven’t had the pleasure to meet (one day!)
Noa Maor who lives in Israel, this lady has been there via social media since the first few months. I joined an apprentice group and was too scared to upload my first tattoo. She took the time to privately message me and give me tips and praise me to build up my confidence. She cried with happiness when I announced I had become a full-time artist. Heart of gold and would be a total honour to meet.
The last one would probably be like an old family pet that I miss but that would be sad. So my boss Lee, just to annoy him.
Noa Maor sounds like an angel, we all need someone like her in our lives.
What is your favourite movie?
The Boat That Rocked or any Disney. That’s about how serious I get unless it’s a murder doc.
We agree with you on that Amber!
Advice to those wanting to get a tattoo for the first time?
- Think carefully about it.
- Research your artists.
- A decent tattoo will cost decent money but the most expensive artists aren’t always the best either.
- Find one who knows the style you want.
- Eat before you go (we really aren’t fans of picking you up or cleaning up sick.) Plenty of food and a sugary drink.
P.s. We aren’t all dicks, don’t be scared of us. We’re actually usually really nice! (I just need coffee first)
Thanks for those great tips, plus who doesn’t need coffee to function? We certainly do!
Is there anything you’d refuse to tattoo?
Racist or purposely offensive in that way tattoos. Anything I think is a big big mistake. Anything that I think I won’t be able to pull off as good as a colleague, I mainly just do colour so I’m not going to go take on a big realism black and grey piece if I know someone else at the studio can do it so much better.
Finally, do you have any funny stories from your tattoo journey so far? We love to hear stories.
One mainly springs to mind. Last year, probably around August time and while I was still an apprentice I had to message my boss Lee to explain that I wouldn’t be in work the following day as I was currently sat in A&E with a possible broken wrist.
‘How the fuck have you done that Amb?’
‘Well.. I tried to moonwalk to s club 7 and slipped over’
Que 3 X-rays and an MRI scan confirmed a bad fracture in the wrist. I was back tattooing within 3weeks. Determination right there!
We bet that one was fun to explain in A&E.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Amber-Jay, we’ve truly loved speaking to you.