Tattooing has a deep history in human culture, and is one of the oldest artistic instincts of mankind. In Western culture, tattooing has been considered an artistic practice since at least the 17th century, and despite often having been marginalised, and despite having waxed and waned in popularity over decades and centuries, those who understand the drive to adorn their skins with designs small or large have constantly sought out those skilled in the process and practices of tattooing to make permanent marks on their bodies.
Chris is another in the long line of artists who have made tattooing their profession. A graduate in Fine Art from the University of Leeds and a former muralist and graphic designer, his love and passion for the history and aesthetics of tattooing lead him to take up the career in 2005. He is particularly obsessed with the aesthetics of classic American tattooing of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, and in the influence of Japanese work on Western tattooing during the same period.
He is an avid amateur tattoo historian of this period, and holds one of the finest collections of early 20th century American tattoo designs in the UK. He has a remarkably authentic attention to the minute details of how tattoos looked and were produced in the early decades of the 20th century, and is passionate about reproducing the technical details of that period using the best modern inks and standards. His work resonates with a deep and sincere love for the traditions within which he works and the source material which provides him with so much inspiration.
Whilst Western tattoo artists up until 1945 were deeply enamoured with Japanese work, and incorporated both Oriental motifs and techniques into their work, in the late twentieth century Western Traditional and Japanese tattooing have often been quite separate genres, with very few artists indeed working across both disciplines, let alone successfully and interestingly synthesising the two, as had been the case in the past. Chris’ work, however, sits comfortably in the lineage of the great Euro‐American tattoo artists of the first half of the twentieth century, all of whom worked across these disparate iconographic palettes in order to create work that is novel, exciting, and remarkable. He is one of the only tattooers working in Britain today who successfully synthesises Japanese tattooing with Euro‐American traditions in the ways that were common one hundred years ago. Indeed, Chris has spent time studying in Japan and works frequently alongside Japanese-trained master tattooer Horikitsune in a private studio in London.
Chris’ client list boasts A-list Game of Thrones actress, Lena Headey, Olympic athletes such as gold medalist Nicola Adams, premier league footballers, and BBC radio DJs, amongst many others. His artwork is housed in the permanent collections of the Yokohama tattoo museum in Japan and the Mike Skiver tattoo museum in Pittsburg, USA. He strives to work closely with his clients on both small and large work, and whether you are a long-time tattoo collector or seeking your first piece, Chris is committed to ensuring a comfortable, professional and enjoyable experience.
Dr. Matt Lodder
Lecturer in Contemporary Art
School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex