Kate Lough Talks To Tom Angell, Author Of The London Tattoo Guide About Changing Perceptions

Look around London and you'll notice something: we are an inked city. Tattoos and tattoists are everywhere. In fact, it's estimated that one in five Brits now have a tattoo, with this increasing to one in three for the under-30s.

This weekend marks the 13th edition of The International London Tattoo Convention 2017, the world's biggest celebration of body art, which locates London at the epicentre.

This week also saw the release of The London Tattoo Guide, a slick new handbook with beautiful photography which shines a light on London's tattoo industry: its studios, its tattooists and its pioneering techniques.

How many do you have?

Not sure exactly. About 25 and counting...

What tattoo do you want to get next?

There hasn’t been a day since I got my first tattoo that I haven’t thought about what my next tattoo will be, so needless to say, I have countless ideas and plans. In terms of big projects in the pipeline, I am currently half way through my chest piece with Maxime Plescia-Buchi (owner of Sang Bleu) and I recently had an epiphany for what my back piece will be, which I have since discussed with Ryan Jessiman (tattoo artist at Old Habits.) This year I also had a son called Rex, which means king, so I have been meaning to get a small tattoo of a crown to commemorate his arrival into the world.

Do you have a favourite studio in London that you go back and back to?

I have already mentioned Ryan and Maxime. They have done the most work on me here in London and as a big fan of their art I will continue to collect more tattoos from them. Plus, their respective studios Old Habits and Sang Bleu, although very different in style and atmosphere, are great places to get tattooed so it is always a pleasure to book in with them.

Which London tattoo artist do you admire most?

Duncan X. He is a legend of the London contemporary tattoo scene and one of the originators of the blackwork movement. I discovered his work about 10 years ago and when I first saw his tattoos they blew my mind because I didn’t know tattoos could look like that. Departing from the ubiquitous traditional tattoos of America, such as eagles, daggers and swallows, his images were born out of his experiences of Europe, the UK and London. He draws things like rats, electrical pylons and axes, using heavy lines, etched shading and only black ink. I was instantly transfixed by his work and this is where my love and fascination for tattoos really began. My only regret is that I have yet to get a tattoo from him - all in good time.