I’ve known Les since before I worked at Frith Street. We both worked at a fledgling tattoo shop in the north of England.
He’s seen my progress from when I was trying to figure out how to tattoo in my house to a point where he asked me to tattoo his bodysuit.
Les tattoos at Sideshow Familia in Hove, UK. He’s been getting tattooed by me roughly every 2-3 weeks for around 3.5 years.
In this short clip he talks about the influence Frith Street Tattoo has had on his own work and one of the more memorable times at FST.
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.
Oliver Macintosh is a self-proclaimed Black & Grey tattoo legend and the newest full time tattooer at FST.
He’s been with us since February 2012.
In this clip he talks about how he got into tattooing, who he learned to tattoo with, some of the things he’s learned at Frith Street Tattoo and how tattooing can affect a tattooer’s personal life.
I’ve known Soap (Stewart McKellor) since 2003. I met him just as I was starting to learn to tattoo, before I did my first tattoo.
Soap’s shop Lab Monkey in Stirling, Scotland was the first place I did a day’s work as a professional tattooer. I learned a lot there.
Aside from Soap’s contribution to my early development as a tattooer, he’s seen some of his friends start working at Frith Street Tattoo. Including Steve Byrne, Aaron Hewitt myself and Valerie Vargas.
I was in Scotland for the Scottish Tattoo Convention held in Edinburgh. So I visited Lab Monkey and did a few tattoos. After a meal with his family I took the opportunity to interview Soap about what it’s like to be on the periphery of a shop like Frith Street Tattoo.
In this clip he talks about why he started tattooing and his first tattoo experience. He also talks about the influence FST has on his shop and what it’s like getting tattooed at FST.
Thank you Soap.
You can see some of Soap’s work here.
Stefano has been at Frith Street almost since it’s inception.
He’s been with us for almost a decade and is the only apprentice Frith Street Tattoo ever had. He started handing out shop flyers on the streets of soho, progressed to answering the phone, cleaning toilets, making needles and finally to doing great tattoos.
I’ve worked with Stefano almost every day since I started at Frith Street in August 2007. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be a small part of his progress into a solid, well-respected tattooer.
I shot this interview late one night after the shop closed. We had a couple of drinks and talked for over two hours.
Stefano talked about how he tries to find his own style within established tattoo styles, the historical and current influence on his work and Gwyneth Paltrow.
I interviewed Jordan in August last year and posted a short video clip in November.
With my new line of questioning and techniques and I think this is a much more interesting interview. I hope I can still use some of the footage from the first interview too.
Here Jordan talks about how some negative experiences can influence you and teach you to be a better tattooer (and person), how he learns about tattoo styles and the people who invented them (hint: its not the internet). Then he talks about how it’s important to know how to give a customer what they want but that’s not always what they ask for.
Thanks for watching.
Well, not really panoramas, but it’s the same idea.
I mentioned in an earlier post about a photo book I’d like to release when this film is complete.
I’ve been trying out different ways of taking photos around the shop.
Here’s a few portraits of some of the guys at the shop that I used to test how I’d use the look.
Dante was the first one I shot. When stitching it together I realised I could tell a story or at least emphasise elements by shooting from different angles.
With this portrait of Emiliano I tried to capture different points in time in the same final image. Sadly, I didn’t get chance to stick around until he finished the tattoo.
Jesus & Mary. These guys watch over the shop every day. Anyone who’s been in to our basement shop will recognise this statue.
I decided to get shots of The Shop when it was empty. I hope to take one during a busy work day once I get comfortable with this technique.
Even though the space was tight, I managed to get most of the angles I wanted for this portrait of Valerie.
I look forward to doing more of these in the future. I really like the way these pictures have some of the same feel as getting tattooed or doing a tattoo. There’s multiple things to think about, lots going on and it’s a little overwhelming at times.
While Valerie was painting a sticker design to promote this film, I did a quick & dirty test with my iPhone to see if I could use the same idea with video. I uploaded these clips in HD at 1080p so they’ll look great full screen.
There’s a white version that emulates the look of the photos.
Then there’s a version with a black background that I think suits video better than the white.
These are early versions and tests. I aim for the finished products to be much better looking and more interesting.