Zappa

Jade Alexandra

Jade Alexandra

Tattoo Artist: Jade Alexandra

Tattoo Shop: The Black Lodge

What about the tattoo industry drives your passion?

Tattooing is hard, like really hard. It’s one of the most difficult things I’ve learned to do in my life so far, and I’ve barely dipped my toe in yet – that’s what I love most about it. You have to work hard and be consistent if you want to grow and get better, so it’s brought a sense discipline to my life, and the way I approach my art.

What was your defining moment when you realised this is what you wanted to do for a living?

I’ve always loved tattoos and have been love-drunk over the idea of doing this since I was about 15. I think the defining and solidifying moment must have been when I did a body painting job for SA Fashion Week – I was hired to paint some fake tattoos onto the runway models and all I remember feeling was total dissatisfaction. I realised that there is no other medium quite like tattooing, it feels like the perfect language for my artistic expression. So I’ve pretty much just looked at tattooing through a lovey-heart filled, rose tinted Instagram filter ever since.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?

I love anything and everything linework based. I do a fair amount of blackwork and I love using lines to create texture, shape and shadows. There is something about the style that reminds me of geographical relief maps, and I just think that’s a cool way of building an image for the audience.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist Instagram – @jade_alexandra_tattoos

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @theblacklodge_za

Tattoo Shop Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/theblacklodgeZA

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Alyssa van der Merwe

Alyssa van der Merwe

Tattoo Artist: Alyssa van der Merwe

Tattoo Shop: SheKnows Ink

Explain your defining moment when you knew that this was the profession for you?

Waking up excited to go to work was a pretty good indicator that I had made the right decision! I enjoy every aspect of what I do, and though it is tough at times and I work long hours and take my work home with me in the form of designs, there’s nothing else I would rather be doing.

How do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?

I have always held myself to a very high standard since school and my extra mural pursuits, and that trend has continued into my career. It helps to look to more experienced artists than myself for inspiration and guidance, and if I can compare my work to theirs I can find little things that I can improve on for the next Tattoo.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most? 

I absolutely love doing Floral tattoos, in a fine-line semi illustrative style!

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist Instagram – @lyss4music

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @sheknows_ink

Tattoo Shop Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sheknowsink

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Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer

Tattoo Artist: Michael Palmer

Tattoo Shop: Heart & Hand Tattoos

Tell us your story of how you became a full time tattoo artist?

I’ve always had a love for art as a kid, and from a young age I knew I wanted to be an artist, just never knew I would end up being a tattoo artist. Only when I was a lot older I learned about tattoos and instantly became fascinated by it.

When first starting out, which skill did you feel was the hardest to learn?

Line work. I struggled for such a long time trying to get my lining to be in check, mainly because I only had access to cheap tattoo supplies and equipment for the first couple years of tattooing, but hey I’m a better artist because of that.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?

I love doing portrait work, it’s like a whole new experience every time. Having to capture a person’s character or personality from a photograph and make it into a tattoo is just the most satisfying thing for me.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @bigmike_tattoos

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @heartandhandtattoo

Tattoo Shop Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Heart-Hand-Tattoo-345858889557445/

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Daniel Feinberg

Daniel Feinberg

Tattoo Artist: Daniel Feinberg

Tattoo Shop: Heart & Hand Tattoos

If you weren’t a professional tattoo artists, what would you be doing with your life?

I would either be an Architectural Visualiser producing renderings and animations of commercial buildings, or I would have returned back to fine arts, spending days in a studio producing large scale paintings.

How would you best explain the vibe and setup of Heart & Hand Tattoos?

We have a mixed bag of styles readily available for everyone’s tastes! We like to think the studio feels like a boutique hotel lounge which just happens to have a professional tattoo studio set up in it. We have art on the walls by our artists and a few from artists we have met on our travels.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?

Traditional Japanese tattoos, called Horimono or Wabori, most people refer to it as Irezumi but I think that word is loaded with extra meaning and history, which I cannot claim to be a part of. It is why I became a Tattooer. It is the culture and history behind it that I have been learning about since I was very young. I am humbled by the beauty and depth of meaning this particular tattoo form has and hope to be a credit to its tradition one day.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @danielfeinberg

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @heartandhandtattoo

Tattoo Shop Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Heart-Hand-Tattoo-345858889557445/

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Lyndon Hippolite

Lyndon Hippolite

Tattoo Artist: Lyndon Hippolite

Tattoo Shop: Royal Ink Collective Tattoo Studio

What do you enjoy most about being a full time tattoo artist?

to be honest, the smiles on my client’s faces and the compliments I receive after the tattoo is done. Yes it’s a full time job with long hours but not when you love what you do, then it’s no more a job.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why? 

I’ve always been more of a fine-line artist, so I’d say portraits and realism. Practice makes perfect as they say and all I’ve gotta say is watch this space!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From other artists, whether they’re starting out or they are long in this game, it makes me humble and want to push to do better. 

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @the_surgeon_

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @royalink_sa

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Brad Pretorius

Brad Pretorius

Tattoo Artist: Brad Pretorius

Tattoo Shop: Royal Ink Collective Tattoo Studio

What first attracted you to the tattoo industry?

I’ve always had a passion for art and I love tattoos, I have always been mesmerised with how beautiful some tattoos looked, especially portraits, if done correctly, they truly are a work of art.

What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?

Looking back, the journey as a whole! Gaining recognition, meeting new people, tattooing a number of celebs and seeing my client’s smiles from ear to ear already discussing their next tattoo as they walk out the door. I’m still very humbled by the fact that people are willing to wear my art, it’s a bonus that they pay me for it.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why?

I enjoy a number of various styles. Namely realism, neo-trad, colour work, portraits, Japanese and geometric and always looking out for something different.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @b_radtattooartist

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @royalink_sa

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Romi Ding

Romi Ding

Tattoo Artist: Romi Ding

Tattoo Shop: Outcast Tattoos 818

What first attracted you to the tattoo industry?

Self expression. It was this safe place to be you. Be you completely, authentically and without judgement.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

I’m inspired by strong female artists. Although our industry is no longer as male dominated as it was, there are still challenges we as female artists face each day. I follow local and international female artists closely and find their approach, client interaction and their work ethic inspiring.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why?

Handpokes! They are so much fun to create as it’s the ultimate labour of love. It’s amazing what can be achieved without the machine. Give me anything with fine details or bold lines and I’m happy.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @romiding

Tattoo Shop Facebook – Outcast Tattoos 818

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @outcasttattoos818

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Larnelle Pienaar

Larnelle Pienaar

Tattoo Artist: Larnelle Pienaar

Tattoo Shop: Outcast Tattoos 818

What first attracted you to the tattoo industry?

Miami Ink (TV show) caught my attention whilst I was still in school, and then just the aspect that it is an art-form that can change someone’s life forever.

What do you do to ensure you keep progressing as an artist?

Always challenge yourself! There’s always room for growth, never get comfortable. Always find ways to make what you’re pushing out, better than the last.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why?

Black and Grey Realism, because there is no limit to how real you can make something appear on skin. I’m pushing to get to a point where my tattoos look so real that they can even talk back [laughs], not possible, but you get my point.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @larnell.art

Tattoo Shop Facebook – Outcast Tattoos 818

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @outcasttattoos818

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Ting Thorne

Ting Thorne

Tattoo Artist: Ting Thorne

Tattoo Shop: Ting’s Tattoo Studio

What have been some of the highlights of successfully running your own shop?

Running your own business definitely isn’t easy. It’s a 24hr job and my day starts at 5:30am most days. The absolute best highlights have been the people we get to meet and the other artists we have worked with. I have lots of hilarious memories and trinkets that have been gifted to me over the years.

What about the tattoo industry attracts you to it and inspires you?

I love the freedom of allowing people to express their feelings and emotions through a tattoo and it’s a really cool thing to be able to give someone. I continue to get inspired by the stories behind tattoos and the great ideas people come up with. Everyday it’s something new and exciting.

What style of tattoo would you say you specialise in, and why?

I love anything botanical or floral. I love pet portraits and basically anything with finer details. I also really enjoy tattoos that look more like paintings than anything else.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @ting_tattoo

Tattoo Shop Facebook – Ting’s Tattoo Studio

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @tingstattoo_studio

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Nathan Ferreira

Nathan Ferreira

Tattoo Artist: Nathan Ferreira

Tattoo Shop: Ting’s Tattoo Studio

When did you first know that you wanted to become a Tattoo Artist?

I only realised after I had done my first tattoo that I wanted to pursue a career in tattooing, it’s a dream job that I never knew I wanted. I have always tried to pursue creative fields in my life but never seriously contemplated tattooing.

How do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?

Practice is always a good way to progress as an artist and luckily, I get loads of it. If I am not tattooing I always have some sort of design work that needs to be done. I find it especially important as a tattoo artist to familiarise yourself with drawing design elements such as flowers, skulls, shapes, etc. Being able to draw out your head, instead of tracing, becomes very valuable when tattooing especially if something goes wrong while tattooing such as a stencil that doesn’t transfer well or gets wiped away while tattooing.

What style of tattoo would you say you specialise in, and why?

I enjoy the look of neo-traditional pieces. I like how the bold lines and simple colours hold very well over time. The designs are usually simple and to the point and are quite striking to look at. Whilst I love Neo-traditional tattoos, I am becoming more and more drawn to black work tattoos. I think this style more accurately represents my natural artistic abilities.

Social Handles:

Tattoo Artist – @natedawg_tattoo

Tattoo Shop Facebook – Ting’s Tattoo Studio

Tattoo Shop Instagram – @tingstattoo_studio

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