Tat2x: How long have you been involved in the tattoo business?
Inma: I started tattooing when I was 16 years old, so about 14 years now.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Inma: I have always been good at drawing, I carried pencils and paper with me everywhere since I can remember and in my teens I started toying with oil painting which I loved. . My family always said I will grow up to become an artist but I never paid any attention, to me drawing and painting were a means to evasion not a career choice. As a kid I had wanted to be anything from lorry driver to astronomer, then before I knew it I was 16 years old, I had left my parents home for a squat in London and I was left to my own devices to make a living…suddenly it just became obvious, I should put my skills to work any way I could!
Tat2x: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
Inma: Yes I did. I was lucky enough to meet people that believed I had talent, right at that time when I was toying with the idea of starting to tattoo. I had the chance to apprentice at a local tattoo shop in the Camden Borough of London where I was living.
Tat2x: Are there any artists tattoos or otherwise that you admire?
Inma: Yes many! In the tattoo world Xam, Claudia Sabe, rose Hardy, Adam barton, Lars uwe… just to mention a few, I love the strength and cleanliness of their work.
Outside of the tattoo world, again it would be a long list but lets say Mucha, Matisse, Tamara Lempika, Klimt, Ingres.. would be some of the ones I would usually research for inspiration.
Tat2x: Has any individual in particular influenced your career?
Inma: Yes, some many years ago I got my sleeve tattooed by Xam and watching him work closely definitely changed the way I approached tattoos. My work became cleaner. Also it was because of him that I ended up working at Magnum Opus tattoo in Brighton for about five years. That shop was everything I had dreamed a tattoo shop would be like, we had a great team and we were always doing things together as a team, tattoo conventions, art projects, social outings etc, being part of Magmum Opus definitely gave me a push.
And a bit more recently, getting tattooed by Lars Uwe and spending time with him at his tattoo studio in Berlin was also an eye opener to where I wanted to go with tattoos. Not just aesthetically (even though I find his tattoos mind blowing) but the way he works generally, spending all day with only one client, be the tattoo big or small, all his effort and attention of the day are focused into it. Getting to know the person and giving them something that they will carry with pride. Not always possible in your regular tattoo shop but something I am striving for.
Tat2x: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
Inma: Depends on the day, when I am feeling drawn to myself the side I enjoy more is the preparation work, the long working hours alone at home getting a project ready. When I am feeling social I also very much cherish the chance the job gives to meet such a wide range of people, over the years I have made some very good friends of some of my customers. I guess the good thing about the job is that it helps me balance the two moods.
Tat2x: How would you describe your style?
Inma: Nowadays I think it is hard for most people to classify their style since there is such a rich variety. over the years I have developed a particular look for my tattoos by mixing different influences from art, nature,other fellow tattooist etc. Working with traditional tattoos fundamentals that will make a tattoo stand the test of time in a playful way that makes them flow with the body where they lay.
Tat2x: What’s the most unusual request for a tattoo design you have ever had?
Inma: This one goes back to my apprenticing days but I still haven’t forgotten it! This lady walks into the shop and asks me to tattoo a Christmas tree on the side of her head. She had long hair I had to shave!
If I think long and hard about it there would be so many, perhaps I remember that one because I was starting and was easily shocked.. Most recently I had a guy ask me to tattoo a fully naked male pin up on his arm. With a beard and a fat hairy belly.
Tat2x: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists tattoo or otherwise?
Inma: Mmmmm I used to say work very hard on your drawing portfolio and go knocking on every tattoo shop you admire until someone gives you a chance. And don’t be afraid of being rejected. It might take a long while until someone gives you a chance but if you don’t give up it will happen eventually. I think all that still applies but things have changed a lot since my apprenticing days. The amount of people trying to become a tattooist since then has risen in popularity to a ridiculous level. It takes someone with extreme talent (or TV skills) to stand out these days. So be honest with yourself, do you have the talent and are you ready to work very very very hard for it?
Tat2x: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Inma: I enjoy a healthy range of music in general. When I am home working lately I listen to jazz a lot. It has an uplifting and relaxing effect on me. When I am working with clients I try to keep it neutral, I tend to just play the radio, I found a good station, The Arrow,easy listening rock and no adds. Most people like it, it plays all the hits you haven’t heard in ages.
Tat2x: What are your favorite foods?
Inma: at the moment thai and Japanese , I seem to never bore of these.
Tat2x: What do you do to relax when you’re not at the studio?
Inma: When I am not at the studio tattooing I still spend a fair amount of time drawing at home, but those days are more flexible and I try to combine it with some exercise and outings to museums or walks around town if I need some inspiration/head space. Sunday is the one day I forbid myself from doing any work related activity! Then I ‘d usually meet up with friends, eat,drink, go to a show or I’d get the car and get out of town, I do love spending time in nature.
Tat2x: Is there anything else we should know about you or your studio?
Inma: Outside of tattooing and my own illustration work I am currently working on an exciting project with my partner in crime, talented artist Ramon Maiden. Soon there will be some news! For the moment You can find the joint illustrations we made so far at Nelly duff gallery in Colombia road or directly from my etsy shop:
Inma Tattoo Artist .
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