Alana Macleod is a just graduated textile designer currently based in Bournemouth, and Kyle Bigwood is a trainee men’s hairdresser from Southampton. I interviewed this beautiful couple for I am Not a Tattoo Blog because, since I was struck by the picture of their amazing backpieces published on Instagram, I have always been amazed by their positiva aura. Love is such a beautiful thing, especially if it involves tattoos. Happy reading!
How did you meet?
A: Kyle liked a few photos on my Instagram of my backpiece, and I decided to give him a follow back, which is rare as I never follow guys on Instagram! I guess I had a good feeling about him! We got chatting and found out we lived strangely close to one another, met up for drinks and clicked instantly 🙂
K: We met via social media, after I liked a few photos of her back piece done by Sway on her Instagram, and the fact she was beautiful and seemed really interesting, She decided to follow me back and we got chatting, It happened to turn out that we lived fairly close and we had loads more in common then just our tattoos, we just clicked and decide to go on a date, the spark was instantly there for us and I’ve never looked back since.
How did you fall in love with tattoo art?
A: I’ve always had an interest since my early teens- I have some horrendous hand-poked tattoos from the age of 13! I’ve always been creative from childhood, and throughout school art class was the that thing I engaged in the most, so I think my interest in tattoo art has just developed naturally.
K: For me, I’ve always loved tattoos and tattoo art, it’s always been around since a very early age like 10 onwards, I used to visit my dad on weekends with my brother, and go to the tattoo studio with him as he had friends that owned the studio, I was exposed to the life early, I got my first tattoo at 14, a Maltese cross because of my heritage and..my mum took me!
I saw your backpieces and I thought ‘this is a match made in heaven’! You love similar tattoo styles and I think it confirms the fact you are a beautiful couple. What is your opinion about it?
A: Aw thank you! I didn’t actually realise how similar our back pieces were until we took the first photo of them next to each other!
I think it’s really exciting that we have such similar taste in tattooing, we both always want to book in with the same artists and I think it’s nice that we can go on our tattoo journey together.
K: Thats really nice compliment! Thank you, for me I think that obviously had a lot to do with me and Alana talking in the first place, I know the style we have both chosen is a lot more popular these days regarding tattooing but to see that Alana had a similar taste to me really caught my interest! And for us to both have the same direction and focus in regards to what we like, means we can always guide each other in getting great work by great artists, it’s an amazing coincidence that we both love similar styles.
Did your tattoos improve the love for yourself? Did the perception of yourself change?
A: Yes, absolutely. Whilst growing up I experimented with different styles and subcultures until I felt happy with myself, and regardless of my change in appearance, tattooing has always been something that I’ve been certain of. I’ve always liked to stand out and express myself with my style, and my tattoos have really helped with my confidence and with making myself feel like more of an individual.
K: I would say yes, I wouldn’t say I love myself more? I just think I feel more myself and a lot more comfortable in my own skin since getting tattooed, I feel it’s the person I’ve always wanted to be, it’s a extension of who I am, the perception of myself has changed in a positive way and I feel happier and a lot more me being tattooed.
Who did you get tattooed by?
A: My backpiece was done by Sway and I’m hugely honoured to have such a large piece by him. I also have work from Gre Hale and Josh Sutterby, along with various other artists.
K: In no particular order, Henry Big, Guy Le Tatooer, Louie Rivers, Piotr Melnyczuk, Sway, Simon Erl, Sarah Keeley, Mark Judges, they all have similar styles or work in the style of bold, timeless and traditional aspects of tattooing.
Do you have a special tattoo you would like to talk about?
K: Umm, I would say my hand tattoos ( Guy Le Tattooer, Sway, Sarah Keeley ) because I think to me that’s a step up when getting tattooed, considering how it’s looked at as being a step further, maybe not so much these days but it still has a stigma attached to it, being labelled as “job stoppers” and such, ha.
I love my hands and couldn’t be happier with the outcome and the decision, all tattoos are commitments but some places on the body are more serious than others.
Do you consider youself a tattoo collector?
A: I suppose I am! There are a lot of other artists that I plan to get work from (especially on my legs), and I like that they will be covered with art from various people, so yes I guess that makes me a tattoo collector.
K: Yeah I would say so!
Have you ever had problems about getting a job? What does your family think about the art you have on your skin?
A: Not particularly no, but I think that’s because I am in a creative field where tattoos and self-expression are more accepted. I personally believe that if a job was going to judge me on my tattoos/my appearance, then it is not the kind of company I would suit working for. With my family, my mum wasn’t overly excited about my tattoos in the early days (especially when she saw my DIY tattoo at 13!) but now she has realised that it’s part of who I am, and she gets excited to see my latest pieces when I visit her! I think she is just glad that I put thought into my tattoos and that I am not carelessly covering my body.
K: No, I mean in some jobs I’ve had to cover up a little and that’s understandable, but then I also got a job because someone noticed my hand tattoos and felt it suited their brand well, I think for certain career paths that would be a issue but hasn’t been for me.
My family has no issues about me being tattooed, they just see me as Kyle, if I was to get something majorly stupid then there would be a issue but so far it’s all good, I mean my mum took me for my first one at 14, haha.
What is the thing you love the most about nowadays tattoo society?
A: I think Instagram has been great for the tattoo society- it’s a platform in which you can find artists that you admire allover the world, and it makes choosing an artist much easier. I love that my Instagram explore page is full of images of tattoos, as I like to see what’s going on!
K: I think being tattooed in today’s society is a lot more positive and accepted. So for me that’s the thing I love.
Would you ever get her/his name tattooed? Or maybe something related to your love?
A: I would definitely get a tattoo personal to our relationship, perhaps it would have his name on it, we’ll see! Kyle creates art with words as a hobby too and I really love what he does, so I would definitely get some of his words tattooed on me, that would be special to me and I’d wear it with pride.
K: I wouldn’t in the past no, but with Alana I would. If you’re with the person you love it’s personal and it would give you that feeling of a special bond to both share together. She means a lot to me and that’s something I would happily express through something like a matching tattoo.
How much is important self-love and acceptance of yourself for you?
K: I think it’s very important, especially accepting oneself, but I generally think self-love is something that you continue to do your whole life, there’s always going to be times you love yourself and times you don’t, it’s a normal thing to feel, once you start accepting yourself and the positives out weigh the negatives and what you consider flaws in yourself then I guess that is self-love? It’s a ever changing feeling we all go through, throughout our entire life.
Any future projects?
A: In terms of tattooing my next main project will be to finish my legs. Kyle is booking me in for my ankle cuffs by Henry Big (who did his back) as a birthday gift for me, and then I have some more plans for my legs after that. In terms of general projects, I’ve literally just finished University and completed my final collection, and I’m hoping to start my career in textile design- (somebody please hire me, haha!) It’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished my graduate collection, but I’m already planning my future projects, I always have to be busy creatively!
K: I’m going to continue to work on blacking out my right arm, and then look to work more on my torso and surrounding areas, then it will be my legs after that.Non tattoo related would be my other passion and that’s my career in hairdressing.