An interview with Ceri...
Tell us a bit about your background as a piercer & alternative hairdresser?
"Well I first started work with hair extensions about 6 years ago, I was lucky enough to train with a guy who had worked as catwalk stylist with Trevor Sorbie, he taught me well and about 4 years ago I decided to set up on my own. It has worked out well so far, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some famous names in the last 18 months and aim to get more involved in the film/fashion industry as a wig maker in the future.
As for the piercing I have only been piercing for the last 2 years, I trained with a guy who had pierced me in the past and then took a part time position at a friend’s studio more to help them out really. I enjoy piercing but prefer to work with hair."
What, where & when was your first tattoo?
(laughs) "My first tattoo... ummm, I was 17 and it was a band of daisies around my right arm, it was pretty but its been covered up a long time ago."
Talk us through yours tattoos (in the order you had them if possible). Please include the artist (& studio if applicable) & why you got them.
"Okay, well after my first tattoo I got a piece of black tribal on my back from John Treharne of Skin Creation in Cardiff. I didn’t get tattooed again until I was about 26, most of my coverage has been in the last 3-4 years.
My first big piece was the angel wings on my back done by Rob Hoskins who back then was working at Mantra in Cheltenham but has long since gone out on his own.
Rob also did both my sleeves. My left arm is scenes from Tim Burtons nightmare before Christmas movie, it’s one of my all time favourite films. My right arm is spiralled with the theme song from the film. He also did my tribal chest-piece, then the portrait of 2 horses heads on my lower back and the 50’s pin ups on my calves and the sacred heart in my neck. Then around 2 years ago I started to travel to tattoo shows in Canada and the US and met a whole load of amazing artists....
The skulls on my feet were done by Lane Turowski of The Adambomb Gallerie in Milwaukee, they’re not quite finished, Lane’s pretty hard to get hold of as he’s always so busy, eventually he’ll continue up the backs of my calves with a similar theme. The colour pin up on my thigh was done by Steve Peace of Immaculate Concept, Calgary, Alberta and my stomach and hips were done by Cory Ferguson from Enlightened Art, near Toronto. Cory also reworked my chestpiece recently with some dotwork. My last tattoo was PONY GURL on my knuckles, I’d always wanted to tattoo my hands but promised myself I would wait until I was 30, I kind of cheated as I did it a month before.
The O of pony is a lasso and the U of gurl is a horseshoe, I am completely horse mad and have been since I was about 5 years old, it’s definatley one I’ll look back on and laugh about when I’m 70!!"
Having said you have gotten most of your work over the last three to four years, what was it that sparked off that desire to get some major work done?
"A mixture of things really, I didn’t want go get covered too quickly especially since I was just starting being self employed, so I held back a few years until I was sure it was going to be able to support me full time and that I wouldn’t have to go back and work for someone else.
Also around 4 years ago I started to travel abroad to shows and started to see a whole load of different artists, it was then that I realised I could pretty much have anything I wanted as long as I chose the right artist, so I started getting bigger and bigger pieces."
How do you find peoples reactions to your ink & mods (past & present)?
"People have different reactions, some good, some not so good, I don’t really notice it anymore, I think maybe when I was younger I looked more extreme than I do now and the reactions were always a lot more negative but these days people just seem curious and not so rude. I get a lot of people asking if I draw them on everyday and of course you always get the million dollar question ‘what about when you get old’ and I always reply, ‘ what about it? I’ll be old and tattooed instead if young and tattooed’ I really don’t understand why people have such a hang up with growing old, I think I’ll just be happy knowing I did what I wanted and I’ll always have permanent reminders of my past, which is turn sparks memories of people and places and all sorts of things."
Did you design from scratch any of them yourself?
"Ha! If you could see how badly I draw then you’d understand why it’s probably not a great idea! I pretty much just tell the artists what I want and then we go from there."
Any particularly notable bad / good experiences involving your tattoos whilst having them done or in everyday life?
"Nothing that bad jumps to mind, I once got asked to leave Harrods because of the way I looked! It was pretty embarassing at the time, and if course it can cause problems in customs, I travel to the US/Canada around 4 times a year and I try and cover up as best I can but I’ve still had some hassle a few times.
Good things happen for more than bad, I’ve met so many great friends from tattoo shows it cancels out all the bad things twice over."
Are there any particularly special ones / favourites?
"The pin up is probably the favourite piece I have, its a painting called ‘Look out below’ by Gil Elvgren, I’d been a huge fan of his work for so long and had never seen it reproduced in tattoo form until I met Steve a few years back at the NIX show in Toronto, I spent another year deciding where to put it and eventually managed to get it done over in Calgary last year."
Who and what are your influences?
"This question always stumps me! I love 50’s style hair and clothes, old cars, Elvis & Prescilla of course! Lots of strong women both from the past and present...Paula Yates, Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Monroe I they are all special to me, but I’m a bit of a tom boy and I’d live in jodphurs and ride horses all day if I could."
Do you have any preferences for design in style, colour & shapes, artist & if so why?
"I love large-scale tribal dot work and I also love bold designs in bright colours with big chunky outlines. Cory Ferguson is always impressive and also George Bardadim’s work is amazing, I’d like to get him to work on me in the future.
I’m also a huge fan of Monte, I saw him work on a huge stone cherub back-piece at the Dallas show back in 2003, he’s also on my list for future work and I’ ll almost certainly get another pin up from Steve Peace on my other thigh and I also love Damon Conklin flowers."
Aside from tattoos what other body mods do you have / have had?
"I had a few staples put in my neck a few years back that didn’t work out, and I recently had a new staple put back in, both sets were done by Samppa of MadMax in Finland. The new staple is more like an implant and seems to be working much better, I also got a 6mm hole punched through the back of my ear at the same time.
Nothing too drastic yet, I’m always tempted to get my tongue split and I adore chrome teeth but I’m not sure its for me."
How do you find the process of tattooing? Is that enjoyable too or is it more about the end result for you?
"Well it hurts doesn’t it, lets be honest, its not the nicest feeling in the world...
I can sit quite well and usually go 6 hours at a time without too much trouble but I really struggled with my feet and had to stop after a few hours which is why they aren’t finished yet and my stomach piece was also quite painful, the rest have been okay... but I’m planning on getting my armpits done later this year probably at the London show so ask me again after that!!"
Any more planned for the near future?
"Hopefully this year I’ll get Lane to finish my feet and start on the backs of my legs. I also want to get my armpits tattooed with flowers at some point but haven’t decided on an artist yet...and after that who knows. I forgot to say that Rob H who did most of my tattoos is of Idle Hands Inc."