Recently we interviewed Jo, a vibrant and successful tattoo artist, who does some of the most intricate tattoos we’ve ever seen. From Butterflies to portraits, Jo has done it all. Ex-lawyer Jo has had a massive career change and we think she rocks for going after her goals.
Hi Jo, we are so happy to be talking to you today, feel free to introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you.
Hi, I’m Jo and I feel I’m quite a successful person, I’m a mother and a wife, I do what I love and I live with people I love. I work in a cool studio called Manners Tattoo Company in Derby. My artistic soul pushed me from being a lawyer to participate a little in the fashion world and finally to become a tattoo artist. Random fact about myself? Two years ago I had an exhibition of my drawings in Sydney, Australia. I love hyper-realistic drawings – that was an exhibition about – and obviously, prefer realistic tattoos as well.
It sounds like you’ve done quite a lot in your life so far, having an exhibition of your art is fantastic!
How long have you been a tattoo artist and how did you get into tattooing?
As far as I remember I was always looking for being independent, free and fulfilled. I knew I have a talent. But I truly owe finding this path to my man. Around four years ago my husband, knowing my artwork, suddenly bought me a tattoo machine and all the necessary stuff and told me to swap pencils for it. So I did. I started developing my skills quite quickly in the studio. I must admit that my startup wasn’t long but I was working hard and persistently. I still do, I still create and accomplish new challenges.
Who/what is your tattoo inspiration?
Obviously, I have millions of inspirations around me. Every single artist, not only tattooist, who has their own style influences me. All the great painters, cultural factors, history, nature etc. I could say that I breathe inspiration however, paradoxically, I prefer clear realistic tattoos the most. It’s not very creative but definitely challenging.
Is there anything you’d refuse to tattoo?
Yes, I’ve already refused. I said no to a man asking for face tattoo but without any significant visible tattoos. Well, maybe I’m conservative but I think you should be positive that showing your tattoos is something that suits you. And face tattoo is not a good choice to check it at first. I wouldn’t do any racist or similar piece but all my colleagues would do the same, it’s no brainer.
Sounds like a good set of morals to have.
What is your funniest tattoo related story?
“Once I moved to a new studio and as always I was ready for a slow and lazy startup, tidying up my station, setting down, spreading my stuff around, knowing each other etc. So I came on the day we decided and I saw a queue of people in the shop. Before I even had a chance to ask it occurred that it’s Friday 13th and half of those people were waiting for me! So I dropped my things, found the plug, prepared the station and… the first client was already on my chair. And so on… all day… many mini tattoos for £15 each ;)”
Any artists you’d recommend?
I can mention a few artists who I really recommend to follow. Great realistic style artists: Thomas Carli Jarlier, David Vega, Ralf Nonnweiler, Karol Rybakowski, Michael Taguet. Incredibly creative Jamie Schene, I really admire the way he creates his projects. Colour masters – Andrey Stepanov, Valentina Riabova, Jenna Kerr, Jesse Rix.
Obviously it’s only one drop of amazing artists’ ocean I follow.
Favourite tattoo you’ve worked on?
My favourite tattoo is not finished yet but we continue with it just right now. It’s Peaky Blinders sleeve and I can’t wait to finish it. I’ve never seen this film BTW.
Tips for people looking to take the step to become an artist?
Tips for them are the same as tips for any other people I think. First. Be absolutely, uncompromisingly critical of yourself. Other people, especially your friends and family, will lie, will be telling how good you are. Compare yourself with better, with the best. Secondly. Practice. Don’t make excuses, turn off telly and social media and instead start working more and spend time on your artwork. Draw, paint, tattoo. And the last advice is – be brave, reach high and dream big. It means that you can’t wait until something happens or help you reach the goal. You must fight for it so don’t wait until you will find advert of apprenticeship available, go to studios you know and try to get in somewhere. I can bet you will find the place sooner than you expect.
Advice to those wanting a tattoo for the first time?
Hmmm. Go for tattoo YOU like not this one which is popular or your friends would recommend you. Go for big! Go for colour! Don’t do face or hand as the first tattoo, laser removal hurts more ;))
You’ve heard it here folks!