Tatt’s the way to do it! UK talent heralded by The Tattoo Collective

The Old Truman Brewery in East London was buzzing in more ways than one when thousands attended a tattoo convention on February 17.

The Tattoo Collective convention which was organised by the magazine Tattoo Life showcased 150 selected tattoo artists from Britain and Ireland who offered a diverse range of styles. Crowds from all walks of life were in attendance which reflects the change in popular opinion towards tattoos that has grown over the past two decades.

Self-proclaimed tattoo addict Tom Reeve’s latest addition  Photo Credit: Chanelle Field

Tom Reeve, 30, from Beckenham who admits to having spent close to £10,000 on tattoos was getting his eleventh whilst at the convention. He told Rebel Rebel about his favourite tattoo and why he was returning to the same artist for a portrait on his hand.

“A friend I worked with got a portrait tattoo by David Corden and I thought it was incredible,” he said. “I decided I had to get a piece by him. Even though I had never met him before he invited me to stay at his house and I stayed there for three days. We got on like a house on fire. I flew back on fourth to Edinburgh about 5 times.

“That was my favourite experience because as it was such a big piece I got to know him well. Whereas some other tattoo artists I have had made me feel like they have only been there for the money and want to get you done and out the door.”

David Corden also tattooed this portrait of Princess Leia on a returning client to add to her Star Wars collection  Photo Credit: Chanelle Field

David Corden, from Edinburgh, is a tattoo artist who’s specialism is portraits. He passionately explained that the more specialized a tattoo artist becomes and is personally sought out by clients, the more they have in common which makes him feel like he is at work with his best friends.

He said: “If you don’t have a good experience you like the tattoo less.

“You should never be today’s wages. Getting money from what I do is a magical bonus but I often forget at the end of the day to take payment. Usually the client reminds me!”


Tattoo artist Anu Laluna, 41, describes her tattoos as her “little trinkets”  Photo Credit: Chanelle Field


Anu Laluna, from 1770 in Brighton, describes her fascination 16 years ago when she first started seeing tattoos on people that had stepped away from the mainstream:

“I identified with that crowd more than the mainstream. All the punks and the rockers and all the freaks. That is what got me interested. It was never about the self-expression which is so popular right now. It was more like Keep away from me! I’m a punk!”

“There are all these modern trends that are flying around and I think tattooing fits into that category somehow. It has become a modern trend, which has a life span but true tattooing will never go away. It is always going to be around because it always has been around before trends were even invented.”

Click here to visit my Instagram for more of my photographs of the event.



Review: Gentleman’s Dub Club launched Dubtopia in Kingston

The Hippodrome in Kingston-Upon-Thames was transported to Kingston Jamaica on Thursday (April 6) when New Slang hosted a rowdy performance from Gentleman’s Dub Club.

The nine-piece, all male dub band that originates from Leeds have been making themselves known on the reggae and festival circuits across the globe. Not only have they headlined shows but also supported iconic artists such as The Wailers and Roots Manoever, and last year secured a spot at number one in the iTunes Reggae Chart with their second album The Big Smoke.

With an impressive catalogue of performances under their belt (including Glastonbury, Outlook and Boomtown Fair) the gentlemen had no problem hyping up the small crowd at New Slang in an intimate set that showcased their new album Duptopia.

Gentleman’s Dub Club played an intimate set for New Slang   Photo Credit: Chanelle Field

Gentleman’s Dub Club delivered a phenomenally high-octane performance that warranted more than the solo crowd surfer (who may have made the boys’ night from their reaction). Their stage presence was natural and it was a joy to see a band who do not take themselves too seriously whilst still nailing every song and extended solos.

The opener, ‘Let a little love’ from the new album received a loud reception from the crowd and started the night off with a warm, relaxed, syncopated reggae beat with a rich sub-bass that lazily meandered its way through. The lyrics reflected popular themes from the genre of overcoming struggles in everyday life by letting a “little love in your life.”

The new song ‘Dancing in the breeze’ (now already at 66th place in the UK iTunes Top 100 Reggae Chart) was a crowd-pleaser with the crowd singing along with frontman Johnathan Scratchley to the catchy, carefree lyrics and mellow melody. The percussion sound clips and brass were well-balanced, whilst the funky guitar solo drew cheers.

Without a doubt ‘High Grade’ (which controversially gives a cheeky nod to the reggae culture’s popular marijuana themed lyrics) was the highlight of the night, sending the audience into a fury.

True to their name the band were perfect gentlemen and were happy to sign albums and pose for photographs with fans.

Stewart Grant who was at the show told Rebel Rebel:

“Despite the show being less busy than the typical New Slang event (probably due to half term), this event turned out to be a pretty sweaty gig and allowed everyone enough room to bounce around!

“The sound was great and the band put on a good show.”

The band have a busy tour ahead of them with shows lined up all over the UK, Morocco, France and Croatia.

The new album Dubtopia is out now on Easy Star Records.