Up & Coming: A New-Age Twist on American Traditional

By
Up & Coming: A New-Age Twist on American Traditional

In this first installment of Up & Coming meet rising UK-based tattooist Elle Donlon, who’s bringing a naughty twist to American traditional.

Up & Coming is a new series where we feature those new artists that catch our eye, and introduce you to their rising stardom.


UK-based tattoo artist Elle Donlon is taking American traditional and tossing some witchiness onto it. Only a little over a year into her tattooing career, Donlon’s lines are bold and her content is playful. When you dig into her portfolio, her influences are clear, but also run deep — you can see her love for Dan Higgs and Robert Ryan, as well as Valerie Vargas. Donlon’s imagery, like her heroes’ work, is imaginatively warped and weird, but highly recognizable.


There’s no direct path into tattooing, as we’ve all seen time and time again, but a great support system and perseverance pays off. Donlon received a Fine Art degree at Camberwell School of Arts in London, abandoning drawing during her time there to make space for more conceptual work. “I think I spent the whole three years secretly wishing that I'd taken an Illustration degree,” Donlon says. “Organically I was drawn to tattooing, [and] as I was drawing again, I was getting tattooed on a regular basis, and realized if I was to tattoo myself I would have the dream job.”

A lot of the young artist’s inspiration comes from Southwestern folk art, Asian spiritual and religious imagery, and her various books on myth, nature, folklore, witchcraft, alchemy, and female anatomy. Creativity doesn’t always come easy, but Donlon’s imagination twists and winds when it needs to.


“If in doubt and nothing comes, I’ll just start drawing a girl. If I were to tattoo babes on people all day, I'd be pretty ok with that!”

Donlon’s talents seem to expand with every tattoo and flash sheet, and we’re looking forward to her continued growth. Swing by her Instagram for more.

Book your next tattoo

Book your next tattoo

Featured Tattoo Destinations

androidapplearrow-right arrow-rounded arrowavatar-followavatar-hollowavatar-unfollowavatar brightness burger-searchcalendar caretcheckmarkclock close comment-filled contrast crop cross-fashioncrossdone down editemail exitfacebook globe iconinstagram like-filled like linklistlocation-hollow location mediumnext phone pin-filled play previous review-star Path 2save-plusSavescroll_pickerscroll-downsearch shareshareEmail shareFacebook sharePinterest shareTwitter Combined ShapeCreated with Sketch. star studio-simpleGo to studio icontag-button user-lockverified_checkmark verified website youtubezoom-in zoom-out