Hi Ellis, how did you get into tattoos? Can you remember when you first fell in love with them?
I only ever planned to get 1 or 2 tattoos, I never set out to be heavily tattooed, but after my first ‘proper’ tattoo aged 18, I just fell in love with the process.
How did you make your decision to get your first tattoo? What was it and when did you get it? And your latest one?
My first tattoo was actually a really terrible one I got underage at 16, something I would not recommend doing! It was bunch of wobbly flowers and shit all over my foot, it’s the only tattoo I’ve ever had covered up- but I do love the tiger-cat that Jemma did over the top of it for me. My latest tattoo is matching with one of my best friends, it says ‘Princess Day’ which is the term we use to describe our days off hanging out together. It’s a day where you love yourselves loads and just have fun doing whatever you want. It’s all about building each other up to feel the best you can and probably getting a bit drunk, it’s Princess Day!
Who did you get tattooed by, so far?
Tacho Franch, Jemma Jones, Sway, Han Shinko, Sam Ellis, and Guy Le Tatooer.
How did you find getting your chest tattooed? Was it an intense experience?
That was such a crazy, transformative experience for me. I got my entire front done over the course of 2 days at Shakti Om in Toulouse. I was actually having a really bad time personally when I went there, I went alone and stayed in Toulouse for 5 days, and whilst I was there I had some of the most incredible episodes of synchronicity that changed my life forever. The pain was pretty brutal, but it felt healing in many ways. I came out of the experience with a new body and a new state of mind. That’s the power that tattooing can have if you’re in the right place with the right people!
Do you have any future tattoo projects?
I don’t really plan my tattoos meticulously, I like to go with the flow and see where I end up and who I meet. I think that one day everything will be joined up, but I’m in no rush to get there.
How does being a tattooed lady affect your everyday life?
I could talk for hours about this. It affects my every day life massively, yeah. As many tattooed and non tattooed women will know, catcalling is a big problem along with unsolicited grabbing, touching and unwanted conversation. I’ve been called a slut for refusing to stop in the street to let a man examine my legs, I’ve been threatened with physical violence for not responding positively to a ‘compliment’, I’ve been asked why I have my tattoos if they’re not for men to look at. I think it’s an important thing to talk about. We have the right to walk down the street or into a bar without feeling scared or intimidated, or even just being forced to speak to someone we don’t want to; it’s exhausting.
Do you have any hobbies outside of tattoos?
Norbu takes up most of my time, but I also like to read and chill out with my cat! Lots of my free time is spent travelling around to hang out with my friends as we all live dotted around the country at the moment.
Can you tell me more about Norbu? You design decorative jewellery, right?
Yes! Norbu (which means ‘jewel’ in Tibetan) started with me buying and selling jewellery, but I found my passion in silversmithing and designing my own pieces. I’m very lucky to call it my full time job at the moment.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Nature, buildings, ornaments.. I am pretty bad for collecting trinkets and decorations, my office is full of them, so staring at them all day influences my work. Also reference books containing flowers, patterns and architecture.
Is traveling to get tattooed something you can relate to?
I do mostly travel to get tattooed, yes, and I usually go alone. I like my own company in general anyway, but travelling alone is a good time for self reflection and growth, which in turn creates a nice headspace for getting a new tattoo.