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Interview with Tattoo Artist Loz

Can you provide a short one-paragraph introduction to your life and work?

Originally from Northampton, I moved to London in 2011 to study Fine Art but had a pretty unsuccessful career in art until I began tattooing professionally in 2018. I started making blackwork tattoos during my apprenticeship and have been doing the same style of tattooing since then.

When did you first know you wanted to become a tattoo artist?

Since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with tattoos and thought tattooed people were so beautiful, but when I was younger my first dream was to be a fashion designer. I fell out of love with that idea around the time I started uni and tattooing professionally became my goal but I wasn’t able to do an apprenticeship for a while because I had to work to pay my bills. It was only when I had some savings that I was able to focus on learning to tattoo.

Centipede (2022)
Can you name 3 artists who have inspired/informed your artistic practice?

I try not to take a huge amount of inspiration from other tattooers because I don’t want my work to become derivative but obviously artists like Louis Loveless and Johnny Gloom, who popularised the blackwork style that my tattoos fall under, informed my early work in some way. Since my linework has become finer I’ve taken more inspiration from fineline/single needle artists like Ken Carlos and my partner Gabriele who goes by Fresh Flower.

How has being a (woman) affected your work/the pieces you create?

My identity as a woman is very important to me so it’s inevitable that it’s also reflected in my work in some way. I think there’s a softness to my work that sets it slightly apart from my male peers. The imagery I tend to gravitate towards when I draw what I want to is more feminine imagery, although my work itself is very dark.

Palm Leaves (2022)
Where do you find inspiration?

I do a lot of custom work in my working practice so a lot of the time it’s my client that’s inspiring what I’m creating. Outside of that I feel most inspired to create when I’m traveling. I spend a lot of time in the South of Italy and the architecture of the churches there always inspires me more than anything else. I’m obsessed with the cherubs carved into the stone and am constantly taking reference pictures of them when I’m there.

What appeals to you about skin as a medium compared with other mediums?

I love how personal working with skin is. It’s always a collaboration between you and the client and there’s a connection there that you don’t get with other mediums. The most rewarding thing is helping heal peoples’ relationships with their own bodies, and that’s also the main reason why I love being tattooed so much myself. It’s a very therapeutic process for both the artist and client.

Barbs (2019)
Do you experience stigma in the art world?

I’m not super connected to the art world but definitely within the tattoo community I think the style I work in isn’t necessarily respected as much as traditional tattooing (whether that bold traditional, fineline, ornamental etc). Being a woman also comes with its own set of issues when it comes to being taken seriously in the tattoo industry but it’s starting to change.

Shuriken (2019)
Is the permanence of tattooing symbolic to you? How do you feel about more ephemeral work?

It’s a bit morbid, but for me tattooing seems less permanent than working with other mediums. The tattoo that you create dies with the client, a painting on a canvas can exist for hundreds of years after you’re gone. It makes me laugh when people are hesitant to get a tattoo because it lasts ‘forever’ for this exact reason. Forever exists beyond us and our tattoos so I don’t consider it as permanent as some might.

Cherub (2022)
Can you tell us about a past project/collaboration you are particularly proud of?

I recently did a collaboration back piece with my partner, Gabriele, which I was super proud of. I think our styles complement each other really well and it was also done for a regular client of both of ours who we value a lot so it was a really nice experience. It’s also the most fun I’ve ever had tattooing so it’s very special to me for that reason. We’re doing another collaborative backpiece at Brighton Tattoo Convention in February so I’m really excited about that.

Can you tell us about your upcoming projects/direction you’d like your work to take?

I’m working on a full floral blackwork sleeve at the moment which I’m really excited to finish. I feel like this is the work that I get the most satisfaction from and the kind of direction I’d love my work to take. I love working on large scale pieces that take multiple sessions to finish because it means I can get to know my client on a deeper level.

Spine (2022)

Thank you Loz!