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We asked Kirk a few questions to get to know him and his work.
What inspired you to become a tattoo artist?
I think my main inspiration and introduction into tattoos was rock n roll music. I’d played the drums since I was 11 and had been in bands shortly after, playing all sorts of punk and rock music. I got tattooed a lot in my early 20’s. I was in the hardcore scene in Brighton and formed some good friendships with tattooers. Slowly I started building a collection of tattoos and the next thing I knew I was working in a tattoo shop. It all just sort of fell into place really.
How would you describe your tattoo style?
I guess I’d have to describe it simply as hand poke style. I don’t use a machine, and hand poked tattoos can be quite distinctive. My drawings are mostly floral or simple graphic images. I love drawing anatomical hearts, skulls and swords. But who can deny the opportunity to tattoo a simple bunch of flowers for someone!? Simplicity is key, I’m not into fuss or faffing, and I feel like my tattoos reflect that.
What influences your tattoo art?
Oh man!.. everything! I love being outdoors and try to get inspiration from everywhere I go. Even clouds can be a source of it. People you meet, a song you’ve heard, even just how you’re feeling that day. Inspiration is everywhere. The hard part is trying to transform that into a tangible design or drawing.
Tell us more about the stick and poke method and is it your preferred method?
All my tattoos are made using the hand poke method. Basically, it means that I replace the machine with my hand, so instead of dragging a needle across the skin as it bounces in and out electronically, I gently push the ink into the skin a single dot at a time. It’s so much calmer and quieter. It gives me the chance to just hang out with each client and carefully compose their tattoo. I got into hand poke after getting my knuckles tattooed by one of my peers. They made it look easy and it was less painful, I couldn’t afford a machine so I just started doing it this way! I practised a lot on myself, and the rest is history!
You're based in Brighton - where do you like to hang out?
You’re kind of spoilt for choice in Brighton if you’re looking for somewhere to hang out and have fun. There’s the Prince Albert, The Green Door Store, The St James, Bees Mouth... I could go on and on! These days though, especially summer, you can’t beat the beach! Or even taking a stroll along under cliff walk as the sun goes down.
Whats the most memorable tat you've created?
There’s been a bunch of memorable ones. It’s so hard to pin it down to just one. I think though, that the one that meant the most to me was fairly recent. My mum asked me if I’d like to tattoo her. She’d only been tattooed once before so the offer came as quite a shock. It’s a weird sensation, tattooing your own mum!
How has tattoo art changed over the last few years?
I think everything has changed over the last few years, the internet has made everything so much more accessible, it’s opened the doors of the average tattoo studio to the world, which is great! They’re not seen as these dark and dingy little places full of big burly bikers who look at you like you’re a tourist anymore. Tattoos are so much more mainstream and a common sight, virtually everyone has one. You can pretty much get anything tattooed these days!
How many tattoos have you got? What's your favourite one?
I honestly couldn’t tell you! The only parts of me that are tattoo free are my head, neck and my back. I've got a load of tattoos! I think after a while, you stop counting. It’s not a matter of how many I’ve got, its more a case of, where can I put that? Or, I haven’t got a tattoo of a snake yet, so that’s next. Saying that one of my favourites is a skull I tattooed on my kneecap years ago when I was just starting out and trying to learn. I remember doing that pretty vividly! It was hot and I was sweating! Haha! But it came out great and is still one of my favourite tattoos I’ve got, along with many others!
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