It’s difficult for me to introduce Ian Flower without embarrassing myself.
While I never apprenticed under him or worked for him, I’ve learned more from him than any other tattooer. When I first started at Frith Street I worked next to Ian every Wednesday for a year or so. If any of my tattoo work looks accomplished or interesting there’s a good chance it’s looks that way because Ian offered nuggets of advice when I was learning to draw the subject and I had the opportunity to watch him work and steal his tricks and techniques.
Ian has tattooed roughly half of my bodysuit.
One of the central themes to this project (evident in the title) is that any accomplished or successful artist, craftsman or whatever is only able to create at that level because they base their work on those who came before. For me, Ian is the most direct “giant” whose shoulders I stand on.
I interviewed him in his car between running errands and a country pub lunch.
In this clip he talks about how he got started in tattooing, I asked him what he gained from working at Frith Street and if he will return to work with us.