Limitless Learning - Tattoo Apprentice Series Interviews: Adam Jensen

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.

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. 

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Cat tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #cat #kitten #neotraditional
Cat tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #cat #kitten #neotraditional

So far in our 'Limitless Learning' series I have interviewed five different tattoo apprentices - the most recent being Sophie.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Digital tattoo design by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #soyamilk #kawaii #soya
Digital tattoo design by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #soyamilk #kawaii #soya

Sixth up is Adam Jensen. Adam has been working at Cock a Snook Tattoo Parlour in Newcastle for 1 year. 

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Manny Calavera tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #MannyCalavera #GrimFandango #gaming
Manny Calavera tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #MannyCalavera #GrimFandango #gaming

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

I'd been in love with tattooing for almost a decade before I got my opportunity. It seemed like an almost impenetrable shell of knowledge and lifestyle that I never had an opportunity to explore. I was always fascinated by art but due to having to work and be self-sufficient from a very young age it was always just out of my grasp. It seemed like an impossible dream.

I saw an advertisement looking for apprentices at Cock A Snook - I was on holiday at the time and had to cobble together photos of my art off my phone. I wasn't surprised to receive a 'thanks but no thanks' email, but after asking for feedback, ended up going to the studio for a chat with Kerry-Anne (owner). 

She said she was impressed with my work and I'd had a good attitude, so offered me a position... I was shocked but very very happy and said yes immediately. The rest is history.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Elvis tooth tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #elvis #tooth #theking
Elvis tooth tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #elvis #tooth #theking

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

Working for myself, being in charge of my own destiny and getting to be myself in my working life. I can't imagine any other job allowing me to act like myself and be able to meet and speak to such a varied collection of people. I've learned so much and experienced even more in the last year and a half that I never even knew was possible.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Fox skull tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #fox #skull #geometric
Fox skull tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #fox #skull #geometric

3. And what has been the biggest challenge?

Re-wiring my brain to draw for tattoos and not just draw as I feel. I previously drew comics on the UK small press circuit, so I've taken a lot of skills from that, but tattooing is a huge leap from that. 

Also, I tend to labor over designs a lot and unless I'm happy and it's perfect, I won't use it. I'm my own worst critic in that regard but I think it keeps me sharp as I don't want to get too comfortable and stagnate.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Fighting rooster tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #rooster #warrior #armour
Fighting rooster tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #rooster #warrior #armour

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

Make sure that I keep an account with everything I do. There have been times when I've not documented a process, or written something down and I regret it because I don't have a great memory as the best of times. It's been something I'm mindful of.

Also - not being tattooed more often before I was accepted for my apprenticeship. There have been artists that I've passed up on for one reason or another... looking back I'd crawl over glass to get tattooed by them.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Terry Pratchett tattoo by Adam Jensen #TerryPratchett #AdamJensen #rat #discworld #deathofrats
Terry Pratchett tattoo by Adam Jensen #TerryPratchett #AdamJensen #rat #discworld #deathofrats

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

Changed my life.

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Hot water bottle tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #hotwaterbottle #cosy #bee
Hot water bottle tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #hotwaterbottle #cosy #bee

6. What goals have you set yourself?

To be the best at what I do and work my first convention. I want to get out there and experience everything there is to experience. It's a long road, I know, but a fun one.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Barber tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #barber #shave #beard
Barber tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #barber #shave #beard

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

Paul Fulton, Jordan Baker and Neil Dransfield. 

Paul is amazing, he'll hate me for saying that but its true. The knowledge and technique he has built up over his career is amazing, and being able to work next to him for a year and absorb some of that was a true honour. I've learnt so much from him. 

Jordan Baker because he hasn't been tattooing long but he's come so far in such a short period of time. If I can be anywhere near him in a similar timeframe I'll class myself as a success.

Neil Dransfield because I can spot his work immediately amongst other artists and to have that strong of a recognisable aesthetic would be amazing.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
When you first get your tattooing license, boom! #AdamJensen #tattooapprentice
When you first get your tattooing license, boom! #AdamJensen #tattooapprentice

8. Who have you learnt the most from?

Myself and my fellow apprentice Steph White haven't studied under just one person at the studio. We've collected skills and information from a variety of people, both guests and permanent residents. Paul Fulton, however, has been a great inspiration and great help to me both professionally, and as a friend.

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Adventure Time tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #AdventureTime #cartoon #finnthehuman
Adventure Time tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #AdventureTime #cartoon #finnthehuman

9. Anything else you want to share with Tattoodo readers?

"Ball so hard, mofos wanna find me..."

Beccy RimmerFrom Tattoodo App
Star Wars tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #StarWars #homesweethome #milleniumfalcon
Star Wars tattoo by Adam Jensen #AdamJensen #StarWars #homesweethome #milleniumfalcon

Follow Adam on Instagram to explore more of his work.