Now it was my chance to get to know Alice better…
Rose Adolph: Let’s kick things off by telling us about your style. Would you say you have one?
Alice Perrin: I work in a range of styles really. If I had to give it a name I’d probably call it ‘girly’. I love working with lots of colours, pretty flowers and animals – I suppose that’s quite neo-traditional. I also do a lot of pattern-work, mandalas and dot-work. The majority of my clients are female and I alway like to make my designs intricate and feminine. I try to make tattoos that hopefully mums will like and keep their daughters from getting into too much trouble!
RA: You’re definitely about making others happy, that’s such a lovely trait. What made you want to be a tattoo artist?
AP: I’ve always loved drawing. As a youngster I would sit for hours copying Disney characters and then colouring them in. I’d designed tattoos for other people before I started tattooing and was always told the designs were good. I was lucky enough to land myself an apprenticeship and am now fortunate enough to draw and colour-in for a living – albeit on people’s skin!
RA: Are there any specific artists that inspire you?
AP: My favourite artist is a man called Joseph Cornell. He collected all sorts of odds and ends and put them inside curiosity boxes. They are all beautiful and individual – much like how I try to make each of my tattoos. As for tattoo artists, I love work by Annie Frenzel and Antony Flemming – all the colours and details look almost magical. Their work really is stunning.
RA: Tell us a bit about the studio.
AP: The studio I’m at now is very welcoming compared to where I first began learning. The two guys I work with are like cute dads who think they’re cool. They look out for me and they’ve taught me so much. I am so grateful to be in such a positive and welcoming environment, for both me and the customers that visit the shop. We are always complimented on what a friendly atmosphere our shop has, and Graham (the shop owner) has built up such a great reputation around Herefordshire. It feels like an honour to be working in a shop that has such a great name for itself.
RA: What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
AP: I’d love to carry on making people happy with the tattoos that I make for them. It’s so rewarding being able to help people turn their ideas into something that they can keep with them forever. The gratitude that my customers show me is what really makes my job so special. Every day I’m striving to improve my work, and still learn new things. In five years, maybe I’d have my own shop. I’d love to teach an apprentice, I think it would be interesting to see the way their tattooing develops.
RA: It sounds like you had a tricky time at your first shop, what advice would you give to anyone starting out as a tattoo artist?
AP: I remember being thrown in at the deep end – doing my first tattoo and not being anywhere near ready to do it. I didn’t have much choice in what I was told to do and hated the finishing piece. I didn’t pick up a machine again after that for a few months because I was so put off. Eventually I started again but on my terms, only doing very small simple tattoos. My advice would be not to let anyone pressure you to do something you’re not ready to do. If you haven’t had enough practice then you may feel discouraged. Tattooing a real, living, breathing, wriggling person for the first time is always going to be scary – but lots and lots of practice beforehand will make it a whole lot easier.
Practical advice: using a pencil in a machine to get used to the weight; tattooing on pigs skin; and heaps of tracing practice. It’s all about hard work. Like Beccy and Inkluded… it’s been amazing to see how much she’s achieved. Watching her fan base grow really does show that good things happen to those who work hard.
Beccy Rimmer: I was so delighted to hear that Rose was interviewing Alice after I met Alice Perrin this year at Tattoo Freeze in Telford. Alice’s artwork encompasses all the things I personally love in tattoo art – intricacy, nature, detail, delicacy. Mums’ approval or not, her work rocks, and so does her attitude towards the people she tattoos. I know Alice has said that good things happen to those who work hard, but she’s also one of those artists that’s made me realise that also, in this industry, good things happen to good people.
Words: Rose Adolph
Photography: Alice Perrin