We recently spotted Ella Eve’s tattoos and artwork on Instagram. As soon as we saw her botanical girl series and nature-inspired tattoos, we knew we needed to know more.…
How long have you been tattooing and how did you get into the industry? I have been tattooing for six years and currently tattoo at the Blind Pig Tattoo club in Brighton. My background in the industry was a bit unusual. I knew I wanted to be in a tattoo studio environment and initially took a job in a nail art studio for a short time. Therefore, it was thanks to the people I met in this space that I finally had the courage to seek advice from my friend who was a tattoo artist, and her advice practically led me to where I am now, so I am very grateful for it. .
How does it feel to be a woman in the tattoo industry, do you think that has an effect or an impact? I remember when I first started tattooing I felt and continue to feel very empowered to be a tattoo artist. However, as a previously very masculine craft, it’s hard not to feel a little out of touch with working in times of insecurity, and quite often there is an underlying feeling of having to prove yourself. It can be hard not to think too much about yourself in an already pretty critical industry, and especially now that social media plays such an important role in advertising and promoting services.
When it comes to being female, some clients have said that they prefer to be tattooed by females. Some completely inexcusable behavior of some male tattoo artists really tarnishes it for the rest of the completely respectful men in this industry, which is really horrible. Hopefully we will put an end to those people who abuse their positions of “power” by denouncing them all. I feel like I need to say, I wouldn’t say explicitly that I myself am of the opinion that getting a female tattoo is a favorable experience than a male, I think it all depends on preference of the customer at the end of the day. Since a tattoo can be such a private experience in terms of placement, it’s understandable that some would specify a preferred gender anyway.
Overall, it’s so great to see so many women doing amazing work all over the world, taking a stand for huge changes in the industry, and also getting to know some amazingly talented female artists personally.
What prompted you to get a tattoo for the first time and then to become a tattoo artist? I got my first tattoo when I was 18 because I was motivated by a need for self-expression and rebellion which is pretty much exactly what everyone would say I expect! I come from a large family of artists, most of whom are women, so finding my own identity has been much more difficult.
I loved the idea of having something permanent on my skin that was mine and also at the time I wanted to design everything I had on my own. I think when you’ve been creatively motivated your entire life, self-expression is like the air you breathe and getting a tattoo was another way to harness that.
As for the inspiration to become a tattoo artist, the hardest years of my life were when I focused on my desire to create and I simply lived in a more “ realistic ” job to join the two ends. I spent a lot of time, maybe too much, figuring out my place in the world. It’s funny because when I think about it, the idea of working as a tattoo artist at 18 completely scared me. I was so afraid of failure, I had no belief in my abilities, and the pressure of having something permanently stick to someone else’s body was just mind-blowing.
I was fascinated by the tattooing process, the development of ancient tattooing and the current modern abilities of tattoo artists. So the desire was still with me but I had no idea who I was or how to find the confidence to do anything with it. It’s so scary to present your work to someone and ask for a chance, you really feel like you’re being laid bare waiting to be torn apart, and it’s eight years later that I finally found the courage and luckily it paid off.
Are there any artists you admire or tattoo artists who have helped you get to where you are? There are so many artists that I admire, it’s hard to narrow them down to a few. Artists such as Greggletron, Kamil Czapiga, Tyler Pawelzik, Jack Peppiette, Kelly Violence and Suflanda are extremely inspiring for their consistently impeccable work. There are some pretty special women who I admire for their incredible talent and hard work, like Tahlia Undarlegt, Liz Clements and Jo Black, the girls of Black Moon in Frome and Deaths Door in Brighton. All of this has helped me in various ways, they may or may not realize it.
What do you like about tattoos? Continuously adorning your body with whatever you feel and want is one of the most powerful things you can do. There isn’t a lot in life where we have the ability to take full control of something to that extent. At the same time, being able to be a part of this process with someone can be seen as nothing less than an honor. There is no other feeling like this.
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Do they change your perception of your body? I would honestly say that I have never had a tattoo to change how I feel about my body. I really see an amazing tattoo and want to own it. Most of my tattoos are a tribute to the people who made them and their talent. It’s also great to collect tattoos from tattoo artist friends, it feels good. There is so much to learn from getting a tattoo when you are a tattoo artist, which makes the experience even more valuable.
When it comes to the tattoos you create, how would you describe your style? What inspires you? I am a freak of nature through and through. There seems to be a running theme in everything I do. It’s not as recognizable as some people’s practices, but there is something that has intrinsically captured me when it comes to the intricacies of nature. I love repetition and sequences in the natural world and without literally focusing solely on sacred geometry or mathematical sequencing translated into imagery, I think there is still an underlying botanical theme in everything I do. .
My belief is that people should appreciate the benefits of getting out there and actually looking at the incredibly amazing complex natural world we live in. It is certainly something that is lacking in the modern technological world. I have seen that the lockdown seems to have rekindled this in people a bit more, which I hope will continue when the world is up and running again.
You did a botanical girl series, we absolutely love the one you made our editor Rosalie. How did they come about and how can our readers get involved? The Botanical Babes project started during the early stages of the lockdown and initially it was a way of giving back to my clients and followers, giving people something to look forward to and to generate interest and intrigue, and of course keep me busy!
The idea came straight out of the work I was doing previously in my tattoo practice, so it was also a great way to develop these ideas. In turn, it turned out to be much more than I expected. The feedback I have received from people on a personal level about seeing themselves in a whole different light because of these drawings has been amazing. I really didn’t expect it. I am also very grateful for the number of submissions I have received so far. I’m always open to more, so all readers can just visit my Instagram, leave me a follow-up, and a message with a photo of themselves. Submissions are completely free and open to any age or gender, and physical prints are available for £ 20 each.
What do you like to tattoo and what would you like to do more? I love tattooing portrait style pieces, especially in the style of these botanical faces that I do recently. After completing my botanical girls project, I would love to go back to work and be able to tattoo more developed pieces in this vein. I love the “nature on nature” element of these pieces. I have literally joined the beauty of the human form with the beauty of nature and am delighted to be able to work on this concept more.
Have you planned any guest seats (obviously when the lockdown is over!) This year was meant to be my travel year! Typical! But I will certainly change the reservation of the places I had planned before the pandemic. These include Parliament in London, Northgate in Bath, Easy Tiger in Leeds and Two Snakes in Hastings. I was also planning to travel to Los Angeles and San Francisco in October which I don’t think will go ahead, but I also hope to change those dates. Luckily, I managed to attend my guest spot at Black Moon in Frome, and I will now be doing regular guest spots with these very adorable guys in the near future!