Claire Reid

I literally stumbled on Claire's work some time ago on the internet and from the first moment of seeing her incredible colour-work/ there was something in her tattoos that I had seen before but I just couldn't put my finger on it.

As you can see by the photos on these pages, she has a very unique style unmatched by any other artist. Eventually after talking to daire she mentioned that she had shown me her portfolio a few years previous. Was this fate that we should meet again via her artwork? i think so.

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H^H y job is to bring you, It mW the reader, the best I H m ■ tattoos from around I m m ■ the globe and with m m ■ Claire's amazing U I almost Mucha-esque H^B ^m tattoos, interspersed with colour of such softness and vivacity, I feel my work here is done.

Claire is one of those lucky tattooists who not only has an obvious talent for tattooing and painting but has an unquenchable thirst for travel and, as such is never in one place for long, choosing to constantly be on the road; meeting and experiencing other artists along her road less travelled.

WHERE AND WHEN OID THE TATTOO SUO BITE?

1 think my interest in tattooing was ignited from the age of 16 when I used to hang out at Quiggins in Liverpool. Quiggins was a funky underground four-story building full of retro second hand, moth eaten shops, with tattooing and piercing on the top floor, all the Goths used to hang out there. Ever since I can remember I've always painted and drawn, and was naturally attracted to the imagery used in tattooing from the first time I saw it.

I went to university in 2001 to study sociology and completed the degree in 2004, my main passion has always been the arts, so when I left university I opened a contemporary

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art gallery selling glass, ceramics and paintings in order to study on the side as an artist. I ran the shop for a while but was working 24/7 and not practicing as an artist or breaking more than even financially. A week after I closed the gallery I got a job that I LOVED piercing in Luton market. 1 continued to pierce for about eighteen months after that, this also re-ignited my love for tattooing that had somehow been forgotten after three years of university.

In 2005 I nagged and nagged my boss to let me learn tattooing, but she didn't think that my

IN HINDSIGHT, I'VE NOTICED THAT SUBCONSCIOUSLY I'VE PICKED UP IMAGERY FROM THE VARIOUS PLACES THAT I HAVE TRAVELLED WITHOUT BEING AWARE OF IT AT THE TIME.

drawings were good enough and only gave in after another employee got sacked. She gave me six weeks to learn to tattoo and would make me go back to piercing if I couldn't do it in that time. So I worked my ass off, tattooing and practicing as much as I could under the wing of another tattoo artist, who emigrated, so after the six week apprenticeship I was full time in the studio from there on. I moved to a studio in Peterborough soon after and really loved my time there, but was still working alone most of the week and had no one to bounce things off, I didn't really have a clue what I was doing!

HOW DID YOU FOIIOW UP YOU« INTEREST IN TATTOOING?

I had two apprenticeships but 1 consider the time I spent with Paolo Acuna in Phoenix Arizona to be the most influential. When J started my apprenticeship with Paolo I had to start tattooing again from scratch. I stopped

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tattooing and began scrubbing tubes, making needles, answering the phone etc, this really helped me kick all the bad habits I'd picked up from, my first eighteen months of tattooing. The best thing about working under Paolo was that he had very high expectations and pushed me extremely hard. I'm very grateful to have had the experience of studying with Paolo, not only because I was exposed to his technique as a tattoo artist but also liis artistic vision as a fine artist and sculptor. I feel really lucky to have had that opportunity and believe that an apprenticeship was, for me, the best way to learn

YOU TRAVEL EXTENSIVELY; HAVE YOU WORKED ANY TATTOO CONVENTIONS AS WEIL AS VISITING ANO WORKING IN MANY FOREIGN STUDIOS?

1 got the opportunity to start doing conventions with Paolo in 2007, and from this, all the doors started to open. For the last three years I have been invited to do guest spots around the world, ttiis came from meeting other tattoo artists at conventions.

I've had really good feedback at the conventions I've worked. I've always been drawn to the painterly and more realistic aspects of tattooing and people seem drawn to that in my work.

Conventions are a great place to learn, there's such a concentration of artists and there are so many different approaches to the art, there's always something to leam from everybody. I love to sit and watcli other tattoo artist's at work too, this is also why I love doing guest spots and picking up tips along the way from all the great artists that I've had the opportunity to work with. O

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00 VOU FIND EXPLORING IHE WORLD VIA YOUR ARI AND TATTOOS HAS INFLUENCED YOU IN ANY WAY?

I've been working and travelling all over the world tor the last three years and have been exposed to many different cultures and practices. Recently 1 was in Indonesia, it's one of the richest places for art, and everything in the society is infused with amazing exotic imagery. Everywhere I looked there was something to draw from.

For any kind of art I believe travel and exposure to other cultures is essential to acquire a rich and varied source of inspiration. I find that from all of my travels my styles and technique are greatly affected. I sketch most days and I really see the influence of where I am on these sketches. In hindsight, I've noticed that subconsciously I've picked up imagery from the various places that I have travelled without being aware of it at the time.

I think my other artistic practices affect my tattooing the most, I really notice a lot of my painting technique creeping into my tattoo technique, the way I blend colours or work an

I TRY TO THINK OF THE TATTOO MACHINE AS AN EXTENSION OF THE PAINTBRUSH, I'D LOVE TO ACHIEVE THE DEPTH, TEXTURE AND SHADINGS THAT ARE POSSIBLE WITH OIL PAINT; I TRY TO ASPIRE TO THE LOOSENESS AND FLUIDITY OF PAINTING IN TATTOOING.

area to get a certain effect is similar to how I would paint the same thing. I used to use a lot of clay when I was at school and I'd love to pick this up again, or sculpture of some sort. I think that this would really help with my understanding of 3D forms and relate well to my other mediums.

I've noticed a big difference in how different countries respond to my tattoos and tattoos in general. Canada, America and South America are really accepting, in Bali people loved my tattoos, and there is a really good scene in Australia. Most Australians are tattooed and are willing to travel long distances to get big pieces done. In Europe I find that in the cities people are fine with tattoos, but sometime in small towns in say, Italy or Spain I get a few funny looks!

WOULD YOU SAY THAI PAINTING, DRAWING, AND ART IN GENERAL HELPS TO SHAPE A TATTOOIST?

I took art at school until I was eighteen and since then I've been trying to pick things up along the way mainly from other tattoo artists. Paolo Acuna was the one who got me back into painting, saying that it would teach me how to tattoo and help develop my style. I've also picked up tips from Jeff Gogue and have been to a seminar, in Montreal, with Shawn Barber. I think that any kind of art training is beneficial to a tattooist.

My influences change a lot, but at the S

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