Tattoo Artists and Art

10 questions with real-life mermaid and tattooist Emily Dawson

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Emily Dawson, aka ‘Holy Ghost Tattooer‘ likes putting pretty tattoos on people’s bodies, and wearing mermaid tails on her own.

Her tattoos are pure perfection! Girly sparkle and colour mixed with darker shades and gothic imagery. Skulls, crystals, witches, roses, hearts, cats… yep. I’ll have all of these tattoos, please.

I managed to grab time with the talented artist and studio owner to ask her ten (some sensible some nonsensical) questions!

Anatomical heart tattoo by Emily Dawson. Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Anatomical heart tattoo by Emily Dawson. Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

1 & 2) How long have you been tattooing and where are you based?

I started my first apprenticeship when I was 16 – I was learning to tattoo and pierce. I then moved onto to a second apprenticeship in Nottingham when I was 19 and from there I started my journey – collecting as much knowledge as I could from some of the most amazing artists I have ever met.

I’m now 27 and although I now own a studio and have successfully taught two apprentices, I am still on that same journey! I really believe we never stop learning and so my mind is always open to new things.

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

3) What is the one thing you love most about tattoos?

That you can literally wear your personality on your body. That you can document your life experiences. That you can be a walking canvas of art!

There is so much history within tattoo art – it’s amazing just to be a small part of it.

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

4) If you could get a tattoo from one artist that you haven’t got work from already, who would it be?

It’s so hard to choose just one artist because my list is endless! Dani Green has been on there forever though – I would love one of her beautiful ladies!

Tattoo by Dani Green

Tattoo by Dani Green

5) Are you going to any tattoo conventions this year?

Confirmed so far… I will be working Liverpool and Leeds tattoo conventions this year.

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Tattoo flash by Emily Dawson. Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

6) If you could be any animal, which animal would you be?

Salem the cat.

Salem

Second that…

7) What is your one main aim for the future as a tattooer?

To be the best I can and to slowly change the way people look at tattooed people and getting tattooed. Knowledge is power. 

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

8) What’s your favourite film?

I have three favourite films that I couldn’t possibly choose between. Edward Scissorhands, Short Circuit and Splash.

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

9) Do you have a favourite tattoo that you’ve done in the past?

As most artists will probably admit, it’s hard to like your own work!

I did do a sacred heart tattoo recently – it was part of a charity day we ran where all proceeds were donated to the Start a Heart charity. It was a nice feeling to know I did a tattoo and the money went to an amazing cause!

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Sacred heart tattoo. Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

10) Tell us one fact about you that’s nothing to do with tattoos.

I’m part of the Yorkshire Mermaid Company training to be a real-life mermaid!

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Digital mermaid tail design. Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Kawaii jellyfish tattoo! Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Close-ups! Photo: IG @holyghost_tattooer

Emily’s studio Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective is in Rotherham (between Sheffield and Doncaster).

Follow her on Instagram @holyghost_tattooer and check out this cool video of her shop created by Birmingham-based tattooist and vlogger Pauly.

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