Amanda Ruby Squid

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Amanda Ruby Tattoo Artist

the Squid Qnk crew

Amanda Ruby first came to our attention at the Halloween Bash in Devon, last vear, with an exquisite black and grey leg piece that quite literally, stood out from the crowd. With parents who are both artistic and "financial whizzes", Amanda's career could have been influenced in either direction. Fortunately for us ink collectors the world over, the art and tattoo industry came out on top!

the Squid Qnk crew

Amanda Ruby

lh www.iikindeep.co.uk iBStte 1

' aving been born in Zimbabwe and spending the first 21 years of her life there, Amanda Ruby felt it was time to flee a country that she states "wrapped her up i in cotton wool", in search of something more. An adept artist but leaving behind her a trail of dissatisfying art-based jobs; she finally found solace in the tattoo world when she joined the ranks at Squid Ink, in Folkestone, Kent. Two and a half years on, her experience in the art industry has undoubtedly helped her tattoo ability, and passion, leap from strength to strength at a rapid speed. Having already created her own distinct and recognisable style so early on in her career, by mixing realism with finely intricate pattern work, Amanda Ruby is definitely a tattooist to keep an eye on...

SO WHAT GOT YOU SIARTED IN TATTOOING?

Right, well this is always a bit of a weird one. Because I come from Zimbabwe, bom and bred there, lived there for 21 years. And they didn't have tattoo shops back then, I don't know about now as I haven't been back,I go to South Africa rather than there. So it's one of those "no one I knew had them". I was right into the alternative lifestyle but tattoos weren't really part of it. Weird.

WERE YOUR PARENTS ARTY?

Dad's really musical and he does a lot of watercolours and stuff like that, but he was actually a Chief Executive of a bank. The other side of him that I didn't really get; the financial whizz and then the arty side, I did. So yeah, basically I did three years of art college then went into advertising, because it was really the only way to go over there. There was one art lh www.iikindeep.co.uk iBStte 1

course that was kind of graptiic design based, and that led me into advertising whicht was the only place to go. Hated it and. just designed covers and brochures. Figure drawing has always been my strength, I've always done a lot of pencil drawing, which is why I kind of veer to black and grey tattoos, That to me is what I'm comfortable with. Then after about 2 years of advertising I decided to leave the country. I felt I needed to get out of Zimbabwe, because you're wrapped up in cotton wool, it's just too beautiful, and the rest of world is sort of like "who cares", you know?

SO YOU CAME STRAIGHT TO THE UK?

Yeah, because my mum and dad originate from here. They've never been back; they're in Cape Town now. But yeah, so I sort of ended up, having been here a few times as a kid and stuff, gravitated toward England really. I went to London and worked in pubs, slept on workshop floors and ended up in tower block in Deptford (laughs) and then decided that Folkestone was a much nicer place. Basically I then just worked in a place like Pranta-Print; then I was poached by another print company who offered me more money, so I went to work for them, which again was just doing the artwork side of things and I got fed up with that pretty quickly. I then ended up painting clocks in the old high street, but

Amanda Ruby England Tatoos

r, 'HOW AH I EVER GOING TO GET INTO THIS?" BECAUSE I WAS OLDER, AND A WOMAN.

it was always art in one way or another! I just never found the art. form that was making me passionate. Then without going into too much detail, because we obviously despise scratchers, I actually did get the opportunity to use some tattoo equipment on myself and absolutely loved it. Then I was thinking, "How am I ever going to get into this?" because I was older, and a woman. But obviously now we know that's not such a big deal. I mean we're only talking 2 and a half years ago. But Miami Ink, to be honest, 1 totally loved it, Kat Von D, and I thought "I could do that", it's just the sort of thing I could draw. And everyone was saying to me; "Why don't you try tattooing?" Obviously I hadn't picked up the machine or been given that opportunity. Just came in here and I said to Rob, which was a bit naughty... I just came in with the intention of just watching how a professional tattooist works. And then thinking "ok right." So Matt did this piece on me, a Celtic band, but being Matt it took two sessions (lauglis). Which was actually a really good tiling. As it turned out, they'd been looking for an apprentice for eight months by advertising in Skin Deep.

I had no idea about this but just happened to overhear the conversation, and mentioned to Matt that I do a bit of... y'know... I didn't mention that I'd tattooed myself! But. he said, "Bring your portfolio in" and then of course HobS

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Squidink Tattoo Folkestone

<*Jjw^^f'vviryji saw me and was like "Come on, come through, let's have a look" and that's it really. They loved what I did and gave me a job. 1 just tliink it was so fateful, the way everytliing just worked out. It was just weird, it's always that thing of, "Oh god, if only I'd started sooner..." but then it's like Rob always said, all that art experience that I've had is perhaps why I've picked it up {I think) as quickly as I have.

JUDGING BY THI WORK OK ¥01)1) ARM YOU DIDN'T FIND IT PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT TO START WITH.

I think that's what helped really, I don't think Rob believed that I'd done it! (laughs) He was like "1 knew you had the natural potential!" but I tliink amongst the shop it was always like "Did she really do that? " But that did help get me the job for sure. I tliink he had me doing my first portrait after 3 montlts. He just let me go with it. WAS IT QUITE NERVE RACKING TO START WITH? Wo! That's the weird thing, 'cos Matt was like "It took me years... just the fear of putting someone through that pain" but to me it was a canvas and I can't look at it like that. I think if you look at it like that, that is gonna slow you down. I've done it to myself: I know how it feels. If you want a tattoo, it is gonna hurt. So I don't have that problem; it sounds sort of cruel for me to say I don't really care if you're in pain or not, I do. And 1 do feel for the person when it's going for hours and you know they're suffering. And then 1 apologise profusely! (laughs) But just tell them to keep going with it, it's all mental. It's all in your head; I

definitely think that, that whole pain threshold thing. Everyone feels pain in the same way; I think it's just how you deal with it mentally.

MOST OF THE STUFf WE SEE YOU 00, ALTHOUGH IT'S BIG, IS VERY INTRICATE.

Intricate yes, oh god yeah. This is the trouble; I make the rod for my own back. And this is the thing as Rob had to say to me, "Just open up a little bit," because my style of drawing has always been, "The more detailed I can get, the better" but obviously with tattooing you've got to worry about the aging side of it, I've sort of worked out ways though...like I use grey shade instead of black when it comes to very fine detail because it's gonna hold out better. It's just little tricks that I'm teaching myself to work out what's going to last and what's not. So yeah, it's a learning curve isn't it, the whole tiling?

I IMAGINE THAI'D MAKE YOU PROGRESS FURTHER IN A WAY. SO WHO DO YOU AOMIRET

Who do I admire? I love Sabine Gaffron, her style... I don't see a lot of it but what I have seen is absolutely stunning. Other people: I love Daniel Dimattia, I love his stuff. It's

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