Celebrities have the power to influence fans in extraordinary ways, inspiring dreams of stardom, but it is not all that often that they spark the desire to become a tattooist. This's exactly what happened to Clare Hampshire, and now the very pop icons that drew her to the industry are a part of her body of work. Beyond creating whimsical neo-traditional tattoos with a cheeky sense of humor, she does old-school traditional pieces as well, the best of which are her pinups of rock stars, actresses, and models, and just like the unforgettable women they’re based on, they’re all glamorous.
“I first remember becoming interested in tattooing when I was a teenager,” said Hampshire in an interview on Renee Ruin's blog. “I guess [it was] seeing tattoos on people in my favorite bands and the older cooler punk kids.” Her pinups hint at how famous female musicians captured her imagination when she was younger. Her depictions of figures like Courtney Love in her unforgettable babydoll dress and Madonna wearing her iconic cone brassiere suggest that they helped shape Hampshire’s conception of what a woman could accomplish in her generation.
Musicians are not the only celebs to walk down her red carpet of a portfolio. She’s also models pinups on actresses who starred in films with cult followings. Her take on the traditional style is perfect for channeling characters remembered for their outstanding personalities, fashion sense, and sex appeal. Speaking of attractive starlets, Alabama played by Patrica Arquette in True Romance may be the best pinup material ever to grace the silver screen.
Though her pinups of contemporary actresses tend to steal the show, it would be a disservice to both her body art and the gorgeous women it’s based on not to mention Hampshire’s tattoos of bombshell sex symbols from the past. The nude she did of Jean Harlow back in the 1930s illustrates how female celebrities have been inspiring other women in provocative ways for longer than most people remember.