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Gema set up Indigo Piercing and Tattoo at a remarkably young age and they’ve just celebrated ten years as a popular and vibrant centre for body art fans in Norwich. That’s a massive achievement in itself, but for the past six years, she’s also been an integral part of the now well-established Norwich Body Art Festival. I found out more about how it all happened for the self-confessed rather stubborn successful artist and businesswoman.


I have my heroes who inspire me as a tattooist, mostly old school people. Xed le Head, who will be exhibiting and tattooing at the festival, is a dot-work tattooist and I find him incredibly exciting. Tere are so many incredible artists out there at the moment and the best place to see them is at a convention.


What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about getting a tattoo? Make sure you’ve done your research. Go online, check out reviews for the different tattoo artists and studios; it’s also a good idea to ask your friends for recommendations.


How did you come to be a tattoo artist? I was a body piercer to begin with, and I also studied art and graphic design at college; I knew that I wanted to get a job where I could be creative. I entered the world of piercing through being a young goth, liking metal and getting my face pierced. I got a piercing apprenticeship at the age of 15…then, from being in that industry, I developed into a tattoo artist.


You set Indigo up here in Norwich when you were only 19.How did it all happen? I’ve always been pretty stubborn. I went away travelling and when I came home it gave me some focus on being a full time piercer. However, there wasn’t a full time position at the studio I was working at. I thought, what do I have to lose? I applied for a business loan without telling my family or partner and that was it really; I had decided that was what I wanted to do and no one could stop me.


People are crazy for tattoos at the moment. Is there any reason that you know of for this upward trend in body art? Tattooing has become a real art form over the years just like sculpture or painting. Tee are so many quality tattoo artists providing every sort of style you could imagine, people have seen what good quality they can be compared to 20 or 30 years ago.


How did you become involved in the Norwich Body Art Festival (now in it’s sixth year)? We advertised in Outline magazine for Indigo Tattoo Studio, and they approached me and suggested that a


48 / July 2014/outlineonline.co.uk


tattoo festival in Norwich might be a good idea. Tey obviously work with other tattoo studios in the area as well and had noticed the boom in tattooing. I suggested a tattoo convention would work really well as Norwich has a community of heavily tattooed people, and now we’re about to put on our sixth festival!


What’s the most unusual tattoo you’ve done for someone? Have you ever refused to do one? Every customer asks me this question. I haven’t tattooed anything that I consider to be that unusual or weird; generally placement is the tricky thing, we do tend to refuse faces and hands, and look out for people making rush decisions, for example, if they’re been with someone for a week and want their face on their skin forever. Someone did want a spiderweb around their anus. We did it though! If that’s what you want, then fine! But most people are pretty normal.


Who do you consider to be the most interesting tattooist in the business at present?


Is there a particular style of tattoo that’s popular at the moment? Tere are a few different styles; dot-work is having a bit of a moment. At Indigo we have a lot of people coming in wanting henna-style patterns. People are getting bigger tattoos now, and really thinking about what they want. We had a guy come in the other day for his first one, and he had quite a large piece done on his chest. People are planning it for longer these days. Te most frequent style requests we get at the moment are for photo realistic and dot-work tattoos.


NORWICH BODY


ART FESTIVAL will be held at OPEN


on 16th-17th August. You can find out more information, buy tickets and check out the visiting tattoo artists at


www.norwichbodyartfestival.co.uk.


Is piercing still popular? It’s been quiet for a little while but this year has gone off the hook again!


What can we expect from the Norwich Body Art Festival this year? We’ve got so much going on! 80 of the best tattooists in the country all in one place showing their artwork and showcasing their tattoo work, burlesque


performers, live music, drinking, sunshine, lots of interesting people walking around and lots of fun! We’re particularly excited about Xed le Head, who will be exhibiting his art work for the first time ever at the Norwich Body Art Festival.


Lizz Page


MORE INFORMATION Indigo Piercing & Tattoo is on Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. If you want to see some pictures of their work and get in touch, go to indigotattoo.co.uk.


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