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Things you only know if you’re a tattoo artist

Danielle Goldstein

...according to Silvia Zed of Shall Adore.

Even top tattoo artists make mistakes

‘I think every tattoo artist has made a mistake at least once. Mine was the title of a song : I spelled “wish” as “whis”. I’ll never forget when I saw it – my heart was pounding. Luckily I was able to bold up the letters and it actually came out better. I was petrified telling my boss, but he just started laughing and said, “Everyone makes mistakes. You’ve done it and learnt from it.” ’

Tattoos of faces are the trickiest

‘Faces that aren’t famous are very hard because you don’t know the specific expressions of that person. Usually I ask the client to pick a picture that’s got the most recognisable smile, and I stare at it for quite a while. So far nobody has complained.’

The customer is not always right

‘There are things that I will refuse to tattoo, like guns and other weapons. I just don’t think you should advertise that. I don’t mind if it’s something erotic, because why should we be ashamed of eroticism? But weapons I don’t like.’

People love Marilyn Monroe

‘She’s iconic and I think a lot of girls identify with her, although I do her for guys as well. She’s definitely the face I’ve done the most.’

London is the world’s best (and most challenging) tattoo market

‘There are so many different tastes here! Working in Italy, I was doing the same little flower. If you’re somewhere warm, like Spain, people want tribal stuff; if you’re in Asia, people ask for more spiritual things. In London you have everything! There’s a big community and the London Tattoo Convention is an amazing spot for everyone to meet.’

The 13th International London Tattoo Convention is at Tobacco Dock, Fri Sep 22-Sun Sep 24. 

Now check out things you only know if you're a parish priest.


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