Claire and her vintage-inspired ink

Get your tat outFeature girl: Claire Cocks
Location: London
Occupation: Cataloguer at an autograph auction house and retailer

Claire Cocks
Claire Cocks
Victorian Silhouette Tattoo
Victorian Silhouette Tattoo

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo?
I’ve always loved tattoos, but I was a bit dubious about whether I’d want something so permanent, until last year! I mentioned to a friend what I had in mind and he gave me a list of artists to check out and away I went. At first I wanted a simple cameo within an ornate frame, but the design evolved until I decided on a solid black silhouette portrait of my mum.

Where did you get your tattoos done?
I got my silhouette by Lucy at Into You and my Victorian lady “Gwendolen” by Miles at Frith Street.

Are you planning any more tattoos?
Yes definitely – although it took a few months after Gwendolen to think about having another one. I’d love to get a skull and crossbones that I saw on the floor of the Campo Santo in Pisa. The crossbones have a ribbon tying them together and I love the juxtaposition of the two. I’m also looking into getting a Victorian animal engraving, so I’m hunting around second-hand bookshops for an original drawing to work from at the moment.

Where did your inspiration come from?
Victorian engravings and adverts, woodcuts, history of photography.

How would you describe your style?
Vintage inspired, but without sticking to any particular period or style, although I’m always keen on Victoriana, 1920s cross-dressing (Louise Brooks in ‘Beggars of Life’) and the 80s 1940s revival.

Victorian Corset Tattoo
Victorian Corset Tattoo - Gwendolen

Is there anyone you would like to get tattooed by?
I’d love to get tattooed by either Volko Merschky or Simone Pfaff from Buena Vista Tattoo Club – their designs are amazing. I saw them at work at the London Tattoo Convention and it has definitely spurred me on to do some saving!

Do you have a favourite tattoo?
As I only have two I think it would be unfair to have favourites!

Do your tattoos have meanings?
The portrait of my mum is commemorative – I wanted something really simple in a place that I could always see. Luckily she liked it. Gwendolen on the other hand is just pure aesthetic joy – a corset advertisement I found one day and fell in love with!

A lover of secrets

Padlock tattoo on foot
Vintage padlock tattoo

My heart padlock by Paula Converse

For as long as I can remember I have dreamt about getting a padlock tattoo. When I was younger I was very secretive and wrote everyday in my padlocked diary about an unrequited crush or a first kiss. As in childhood, in adulthood I enjoy keeping certain things private or sharing things with only selected people.

Here is my heart-shaped padlock, it represents my secrets, now I wonder who holds the key to it?

Tattoo by Paula Converse at Into You, Brighton. Photo: James Stittle

Get your tat out – Sylwia Swiderska

Get your tat out


I spotted this lovely lady in Topshop the other day, she is definitely my new tattoo crush, plus it turns out that we want to get tattooed by lots of the same people! Check out her beautiful ink…

Feature girl: Sylwia Swiderska
Location: live in London, from Poland
Occupation: student, Events, Music and Media Management at London Metropolitan University

Sylwia's sleeve

Stay Young
Stay Young

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo?
I don’t think there was a particular event or situation that got me into tattoos, but I’ve always been really into music. People within the genre I was into had tattoos, so I guess that’s what started it all. My first tattoo was ‘Stay Young’ on my wrist.

Where did you get your tattoos done?
My wrists and foot were done at Riverside Tattoo in Gravesend by Les. Lady with the mirror is by Snappy at King’s Cross Tattoo Parlour. The rest of my sleeve is by Oliver Macintosh, also at Kings Cross.

Lady with a mirror
Lady with a mirror

Are you planning any more tattoos?
I’m definitely planning on getting more stuff done, I’ve got a long list of artists that I would like to get tattooed by, but being a student money is always an issue.

Arm tattooWhere do you get your inspiration from?
At first I wanted my tattoos to have meanings, so I guess I went for imagery that represented certain statements. But as I got more into tattoos and started digging deeper into the art and history of it, especially old school style, I started going for images that appeal to me on an aesthetic level. Stuff like vintage flash is something I find most inspirational, it is timeless and will not have that awful ‘hipster’ tattoo feel 20 years down the line.

How would you describe your style?
I wouldn’t like to think that I fit onto any specific style shelf. As long as something appeals to me visually or on some other level then I try and work into my wardrobe/lifestyle.

Is there anyone you would like to get tattooed by?
The list of people I’d like to get tattooed by is endless, but at the moment the top are: everyone at Smith Street in New York, Chad Koeplinger, Steve Vinall, Thomas Hooper, Uncle Allan, Claudia De Sabe.

Scales tattoo
Inspired by 'Sweet#Hart' by Closure in Moscow

Do you have a favourite tattoo?
I think my favourite is the scales on my inner arm, the inspiration came from a song called ‘Sweet#Hart’ by Closure in Moscow. It’s about balancing out, thinking with your head and thinking with your heart, which is something I’m awful at so it’s a constant reminder not to let one outweigh the other.

Let hate save you
Let hate save you

Do any of your tattoos have meanings?
As I mentioned earlier the scales have a pretty srong meaning. Girl with the mirror is a reminder to never judge people on their looks. ‘Stay Young’ is pretty self explanatory. ‘Let Hate Save You’, on my foot from a song by Emarosa is there as a reminder that if anything or anyone ever lets you down you might aswell hate it instead of letting it get to you (this last one makes me sound awful haha).

Beautiful tattoos and a very interesting interview. Lovely to meet you Sylwia and I LOVE your tattoos.

Clash Dolly tattoos

Get your tat outName: Ami Volkert, Clash Dolly, London

Clash dolly Ami
Clash Dolly Ami

What do you do?
I run a vintage stall called Clash Dolly on Brick Lane Market, I also do freelance styling.

Eyes on the prize
Eyes on the prize
Mermaid back tattoo

What got you into tattoos and what was your first tattoo?
I looked at heavily tattooed people and really liked what I saw. I always knew I wanted a big tattoo, but just wasn’t sure what I wanted and wasn’t brave enough. So to start with I got some little tattoos, which have now been covered over, thank god. My first big piece was the mermaid on my back.

What inspires you?
Street art and street style, I love clashing different cultures and styles, I think this inspiration comes from growing up in London. I love mixing Indian style clothes and accessories with ’90s street style.
In terms of tattoo inspiration I liked the war-time pictures in my Nan’s house and images of ladies, haha, I like women.

Dancer on legWho would you like to get tattooed by?
Saira Hunjan, I love her Indian style.

Love Doll tattoo
Love Doll

Have you got anything else planned?
I think I want a different style from my other tattoos, maybe some henna-style tattoos on my legs and feet. I love clashing different styles in clothing and this carries through to my tattoo style too. I really like dot work, e.g. Xed LeHead.

Do you have a favourite tattoo?
I love my mermaid, it’s by Silvia Zed. She does amazing portraits, she works at Lal Hardy‘s shop, New Wave Tattoo.

Do your tattoos have meanings?
They do to me, but it’s hard to explain them in words, I like to keep things to myself.  People don’t always get it and it’s nice little feeling for me, I’ll let other people take what they want from them.

Lady tattooTake a look at Ami’s website:

Photos: Olivia Snape

Get your tat out – Hackney WickED

Get your tat out

Location: Hackney WickED art festival, Hackney Wick.

This is the lovely Lucie with her beautiful tattoos – spotted enjoying a drink at the bar at Hackney WickED.

Bow tattoo
Beautiful bow
Pocketwatch tattoo
Stop the clocks for this pocket watch
Pocket watch tattoo
Beautiful pocket watch tattoo
Padlock and key feet tattoos
Under padlock and key
Padlock tattoo with flowers
Padlock and flowers
Fan tattoo
I am very jealous of this beautiful fan tattoo. I want it.
Bird and cage tattoo
Birds and cage

Lucie is definitely my new tattoo crush.

Go with the flow – Olivia Snape

Get your tat outFeature girl: Olivia Snape,
Visual Merchandiser/Stylist, London.

Olivia SnapeWhat got you into tattooing?
I have always admired tattoos on other people. I feel tattoos are an extension of personal style and, working in fashion, I think it is very important to express your individuality in the way that you look and dress. My first tattoo was my friend’s lips on my arm (see previous blog post), this represents our friendship and my love of lipstick, I have always loved the interesting and different shape of people’s lips.

Peace sign tattoo

Through infinite immensity tattooDo your tattoos have any meanings?
Some of them, but I do think that people get too caught up in the meaning behind tattoos, you should just go with the flow and if you fancy something just get it done. Obviously, if you’re planning a bigger piece it needs more thought, but tattoos don’t always have to have sentimental value. The words on my arm are from a poem by Emily Brontë that I read at my auntie’s funeral, it is a reminder of her, but I also like the idea that words evoke.

Olivia tattoosWhat inspires you?
People, friends, music, life.

Do you have any tattoos in the pipeline?
I think I am ready for a bigger piece on my back, I am toying with the idea of a traditional rose.