Worcester-based tattoo artist Toni Gwilliam tells us what we missed at this year’s Great British Tattoo Show!
The below blog was published today on Toni’s beautiful new website – thanks for letting us share it here!
Find out more about Toni and her work online.
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Over 300 tattoo artists. Alexandra Palace. Yep, I was one of them. Excited? Of course. Nervous? Yeah. Overwhelmed? MOST DEFINITELY.
The talent there was outstanding. From photo-realism to black and grey portraits, I couldn’t help but think, ‘why am I here?‘. Personally, I only just feel like I have established a style as such: girly pastels colours, love hearts and the odd bit of script, so I felt like that new kid at school, hoping someone would sit with me at lunchtime and show me where the toilet was.
Setting up with the help of my assistant (aka Dad), I noticed how high the bar was set, but come Saturday, when those doors opened, it was all systems go! THE ATMOSPHERE WAS AMAZING! The guys at Skin Deep, the public and the other tattoo artists… everyone was your best mate, making you feel at ease. A friendly nod here, a thumbs up there, a pint of cider later… we were literally family (they just don’t know it).
The entertainment was constant. Live music filled the venue, as did the fully-tattooed bodies. It was inspiring to see hundreds of people wearing their art with pride. It was also an honour to meet The Dolls UK (absolute beauts) and work on a few tattoo models. It’s a crap job, but someone’s gotta do it (*raises hand as high as I can in the air*). Especially my home-slice Ryan Davies-Hall, who is making massive waves in the modelling world, and rightly so!
But the best part? That overwhelming feeling… when my confidence would wobble and I’d think ‘I don’t like this’ even before getting my toolbox out the car… that vanished. My beautiful clients, they loved my Minnie-inspired ice-cream and my very British fish ‘n’ chips designs. AND FOR THAT I THANK THEM!
I thank my clients from home who travelled down to London to see me, I thank those who took cards, sweets and goodies from my booth. Thank you for stopping by, thank you for taking my photo, and thank you for your sweet words. YOU MADE IT FOR ME.
And of course, thank you to my dad who donated his thigh to allow me to ‘do my thing’. If you’re reading this Dad, you’ve successfully found my website (I’m clapping my hands).
Anyway, it’s safe to say the buzz remained, well into the following week… just ask the other half. I didn’t shut up for days! It’s only June but I’m so ready for Tattoo Jam in August!
Hotel booked. Dad booked (he loves it). Whose else is with me?!