One of the best feelings you can get when putting together a magazine like this, happens when you decide to take a chance on someone and they end up inspiring you far beyond your expectations.
I am happy to say that this month just such a thing happened to me when I took a chance on a young artist from County Durham, John Anderton, and invited him to be our Guest Editor for this issue. I had personally admired his work for quite a while, having first noticed him when I was looking for the right artist to produce a coloured portrait for myself. I have always said that I believe that true talent does not come with a timeline, something along the lines of ‘if you’re good enough you’re old enough’ and it seemed to me that despite having only been tattooing for three years or so, John’s own undeniable talent meant that he certainly deserved to be showcased as an emerging Tattoo Master. The youngest we have ever featured on our front cover! John subsequently asked if he could choose to interview Kerry-Anne from Cock a Snook as his own personal guest in the issue, and once again I am so glad he did. Both artists have produced brutally honest and wonderfully thought provoking interviews, and their attitudes, combined with their remarkably clean and impressive work is a credit to the new generation of artists that are continuing to raise the bar in studios throughout the country. Indeed, when you consider that another artist featured in this issue, as the creator of our ‘Start to Finish’ feature is even younger, at 24 years of age, then it is clear that the future really is bright for our ever evolving art form.
Talking about new generations, I have also been watching with keen interest the vast number of artists who have started to move over to the new wave of rotary machines that have taken a foothold in the industry in the past year or so. Machines like the Hyper and the Fly from Stigma, and the new Dragonfly from Sweden are now being championed by some of the world’s leading artists including the likes of Nikko Hurtado, Bez, and Cecil Porter. Needless to say, all of these new machines will feature in Tattoo Master in the issues ahead, with the Stigma ‘Fly’ being the first on pages 10 -12. You know, it’s really eerie when you are working full out in a studio with other artists and yet there is hardly a sound coming from any of the work stations. Indeed, while testing the Fly, I have had customers walk into reception and ask... “are any of the studio’s artists working today?” I guess it’s just another way in which the landscape of the tattoo world is changing. Silent tattoo parlours. Whatever next? Now there really is nothing left to drown out the customers’ screams!