Limitless Learning - Tattoo Apprentice Series: Leah Sharples Interview

Limitless Learning - Tattoo Apprentice Series: Leah Sharples Interview

A new series of interviews in which I chat to some of the UK's up-and-coming tattoo artists.

Meet a handful of the UK's finest tattoo apprentices and hear about their artistic journey so far in the industry.

Mini mountain tattoo by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #neotraditional #mountain #landscape #moon #stars

Blogs and magazines always feature tattoo work by artists that have established themselves within the industry and style. But what about the tattoo artists of tomorrow - the artists in their first few years of learning and growing?

I thought it was important to showcase their work too, in a collection of interviews with UK tattoo apprentices. 

So far in our 'Limitless Learning' series I have interviewed Jake, Steph and Zoe

Black cat tattoo design by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #cat #blackcat #moon #frame

Fourth up is Leah Sharples. Leah tattoos at Vida Loca Tattoo in Bolton and has been tattooing for 4 months.

Mini mountain tattoo design by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #mountain #art #drawing

1. Tell our readers how it all started for you.

"I was initially influenced by my parents as they are both tattoo enthusiasts. We would spend hours together coming up with rough ideas and designs for their next pieces and my love for the industry just escalated from there. 

I then decided to go to college then university to study fine art, to build up my confidence as a person and my artist portfolio. Then at the age of 21, I felt like the time was right to find myself an apprenticeship."

2. What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

"The day when, after a year of cleaning toilets and station floors, I was shown how to set up a machine in preparation, to start practicing on grapefruit. I thought 'it has all been worth it'."

Animal skull tattoo design by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #skull #animalskull #mandala

3. And what has been the biggest challenge?

"The biggest challenge was taking a step back as an artist and accepting one fact... you may think you’re awesome at creating a beautiful piece on paper or canvas, but as an apprentice initially starting out, that piece of art may not translate that well on skin. 

As a beginner you have to be honest with yourself and your capabilities. You have to accept your limitations and slowly build your way back up.

You feel like you’re starting all over again as a person and you’re a baby learning to walk again."

Dragonfly tattoo by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #neotraditional #dragonfly #insect

4. Looking back, anything you’d do differently?

"I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason but if I had to choose something, it would be preparing myself more financially. Eating cans of soup and beans every day is not how I imaged life at 23 - haha!"

Bee tattoo design by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #bee #rose #heart

5. Tell me why you love your job in three words.

"Liberating. Unpredictable. Exciting."

Butterfly tattoo by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #neotraditional #butterfly

6. What goals have you set yourself?

"To basically get myself back on my feet, and to pay back everyone that has helped me out! That's on the top of my list."

Bug tattoo by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #neotraditional #bug #beetle

7. Tell us three tattoo artists you look up to?

"Becci Boo, Antony Flemming, Laura (TCB) Walsh."

Moth tattoo by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #neotraditional #moth

8. Who have you learnt the most from?

"Becci (Murphy) Boo."

Butterfly and moth tattoo designs by Leah Sharples #LeahSharples #butterfly #moth

Follow Leah on Instagram @leah_luminara or on Facebook.

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