Pre Tattooing

After leaving school I trained as a bricklayer and worked in the construction industry for 5 years. I learned a great deal about working to deadlines and was lucky enough to work alongside people that were driven to do high quality work, and saw it as a craft rather than just a job.

Aged 21, I returned to further education to explore the art world and find out if I could make a living from something I spent most of my free time doing i.e. drawing and painting.

After a foundation course in my home county of Somerset I applied, and was accepted on a BA HONs degree in painting at Brighton University. The three years I spent in a higher education environment allowed me to explore many different visual languages.

A brief work history

I continued painting when I left university and exhibited in a couple of group shows and had a one man show in Brighton. The money I made from that, allowed me to pay for a full sleeve tattoo. Whilst I was in the early stages of the process the owner of Temple Tatu in Brighton offered me the chance to try my hand at tattooing. It was a long and often frustratingly difficult road, I never really participated in a formal apprenticeship. This meant lots of learning on the job. However I did have a lot of good help on the way.

I cut my teeth at a more traditional tattoo shop in Guildford i.e. designs on the walls, lots of lettering and smaller pieces. Over time and as my work improved I was allowed to take on more custom tattooing and cover-up work. The knowledge and experience gained from working in multiple styles has stood me in good stead ever since.

In 2006 I returned to Brighton to work full-time at Temple Tatu, which was a 100% custom shop. The freedom to create designs that are only limited by the nature of tattooing and the customers needs was liberating and it saw my work branch off in different directions. A year after I started at Temple the lure of traditional Japanese tattooing or Irezumi became stronger. I had grown up with a love of manga, animie and Akira Kurosawa movies, but had always found the depth of Irezumi to be a hard one to get to grips with. Around the same time a few books by Japanese masters had started circulating in Europe and with these came a huge wealth of images and ideas that I instantly fell in love with.

The next seven years saw me devoting as much of my tattooing and drawing to understanding the art form as closely as I could. In 2008 I was honoured to have a book published Ade Vol1, Gominkeo Press. Containing sketches from around 18 months of solid tattoo study. It was both a nerve wracking and humbling experience receiving feedback from fellow artists and enthusiasts of Irezumi. The book spurred me on to work harder and deepen my knowledge of the subject.

In 2013 after many years of following one path, I found I was beginning to be attracted to other art forms. I tentatively began taking on other types of projects, largely in a realist style, portraits and illustrative work. This new direction has given me a different perspective on my Irezumi and also a new impetus and skill set to develop the work in to something a fresh look.

Visual interests

  • Japanese art forms of all types i.e. tattooing, ikebana, origami etc etc.
  • Fantasy art
  • Science Fiction in particular Star Wars and 2001
  • Concept art for film and video games.
  • Architectural photography and concepts
  • Classical painting and sculpture.

Outside of work

I consider my career more a vocation so whilst I have a distinction between work and private life they often overlap in mutually beneficial ways.

On those days that drawing or painting become too much for my eyes and hands or I just need a break. I enjoy playing board and card games, alongside the usual suspects of beer, films and reading.

I'm known to dabble in photography when the mood takes me and I prefer to take pictures of objects rather than people, often in unusual ways or from angles that we might not normally view them.

I like learning new things or trying to understand how things work, I was the child who unassembled his toys to see what was inside. I now have a young son and re-learning facts about nature and our world is hugely enjoyable. Ultimately I think in both my work and personal life I'm driven by curiosity and the desire to try new things.

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