PAPER, NEEDLES, INK OR SKIN?

Ascot advocates can stomp their little footsies ‘til the bird nests fall off their heads, but no one can dethrone tattooing from its well-defended position as sovereign of the arts.

Getting inked is a rite of passage for people who openly define themselves and their life stories on the canvas of their skin. As a result, the profession no longer attracts the beer bellied Hell Angels brigade, who’ll happily carve “GOBSH*TE” into your forehead after you’ve been sedated by your so-called mates and dragged into their dingy parlours (don’t get us wrong, these still exist so beware, but they’re a dying breed).

The profession is now populated with artists such as Jeff Gogue, Piotr Dedel, Tibor Galiger and Claire Reid whose work is custom designed and visually stunning. They create psychedelic works of genius that won’t leave you cringing in your geriatric years wondering what that faded abomination on your arm/crotch/forehead (deleted as applicable) actually was once upon a time.

It’s a relieving pre-requisite

that many tattooists now are highly skilled artists who dabble in a range of mediums and treat the needle as an extension of their tool kit. Claire Reid is one such creative nomad whose mind-blowing ink scribing has allowed her to travel across the world and apprentice under masters such as Dale Orton and Paolo Acuna.

Reids style is a contemporary mixture of neo-tribal and oriental flow, with colours that illuminate faces and landscapes with magical appeal. Taking influence from primal mythology and folklore she intertwines an ancient essence into the everyday, dreamtime symbolism is often found subtly laced into the layers of her work. Hailing from Australia she’s also drawn to Aboriginal designs and imagery and has exhibited her paintings in galleries from LA to Quebec.

As the lady is in such high demand and constantly on the move, only a lucky few will bear testimonies to her expertise on their skin, but if you fancy a closer look at her original work some of her most vibrant pieces are permanently on display at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. They can be found adorning the walls outside it’s equally vividEastern Spa.