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.
So far in our 'Limitless Learning' series I have interviewed Jake, Steph, Zoe and Leah.
Fifth up is Sophie Candrika Pethers. Sophie has been working at StudioIX in Salford, Manchester for 9 months, and is yet to do her first tattoo.
"I just instantly fell in love with the environment."
1. Tell our readers how it all started for you.
"I remember coming across a documentary about Jimmy Ho that triggered my fascination with tattooing, so I started researching different styles, artists and the cultures surrounding it.
When I was 16, I went to Barcelona and made friends with a couple of people through skateboarding and they invited me to go with them whilst they got tattooed. I just instantly fell in love with the environment...
I loved seeing customers and artists instantly respecting each other through a mutual love for tattoos. I was just surprised that a workplace could be like that, and it just made me want it more. When I finally turned 18 I went out there and tried to get myself an apprenticeship."
"There’s always someone to turn to for help."
2. What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
"Being surrounded by so many artists that are amazing at different styles and just watching them work! There are a lot of us at our studio (16 I think?!) but it’s amazing because there’s always someone to turn to for help.
Also hearing different knowledge, opinions and methods of working... when I start tattooing I know they’ll always being pushing me to do better with each tattoo."
3. And what has been the biggest challenge?
"There’s the common apprentice problems; no money, doubting yourself, apprentice belly (lotsssss of snacking!).
I also struggled a lot this winter - I don't have the best health and I got really ill from mid-December to mid-February so it was a bit of a struggle trying to function normally and be on the ball at work whilst my body was doing the opposite.
Everyone at work had my back and looked out for me... they accommodated for me and encouraged me to take time off to rest. I just don’t like being off my feet, I like to get out and about and carry on as usual!"
4. Looking back, anything you’d do differently?
"Nada. Not a thing."
5. Tell me why you love your job in three words.
"Fun, Funny, Food."
6. What goals have you set yourself?
"Obviously when I start to tattoo... to take my time, practice and stay late just trying to give myself the chance to be the best I can be.
To move out of Sheffield and back to Manchester (commuting drags!). To try not to get too drunk at the work Christmas party... :)"
7. Tell us three tattoo artists you look up to?
"Lucy Blue, Keely Rutherford and Kelly McGrath. I’d absolutely love to get tattooed by them but I know I’d make myself look like a plonker so I’m holding off until I know I can act normal in front of them (which might be quite a while)."
8. Who have you learnt the most from?
"Matt Daniels (Stickypop)! I looked up to his work for a while before I got the apprenticeship so I found it a bit surreal that he was teaching me at first.
It’s fair to say he probably regrets it now because I do like to annoy him on a daily basis, but I appreciate everything he’s done for me and how much he helps me out! Cheers homegurl!"
"Everything will be fine."
9. Anything else you want to share with Tattoodo readers?
"If ever you’re feeling down, remind yourself of 2007 Britney (Spears) and remember everything will be fine. Also going to have to be a little cheesy and say a hugeee thank you to my dad and boyfriend for encouraging and supporting me as much as they have. And MASSIVE thanks to Liam Marland for taking me on and looking out for me always. Forever grateful."